There are strong indications that the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, may not offer himself for re-election in the forthcoming national convention next month.
The decision to step aside at the end of his tenure in June, a source said, is to be seen as not opposing President Muhammadu Buhari or taking any action that will further divide the party.
With this development, chances of former governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, succeeding Oyegun are getting clearer.
At a meeting with APC governors on Tuesday, Buhari reportedly endorsed Oshiomhole’s candidature, a move the National Publicity Secretary,
Bolaji Abdullahi, described as a personal opinion of the president.
The chairmanship slot of the party is reserved for the South South, particularly Edo State.
A source close to Oyegun reiterated to Daily Sun that the chairman has resolved to quit at the expiration of his tenure instead of seeking re-election at the convention.
When asked to explain the point when Oyegun felt he should drop out of the chairmanship race, the source replied that he had been in a quandary over the issue, for a long time on account of his age.
“He has not been enthusiastic about remaining as chairman. He does not see the chairmanship contest as a do -or -die affair.”
Although Oyegun is not keen about staying on as chairman, the source said some tendencies in APC, comprising some leaders and governors, mounted intense pressure on him to continue as chairman “because of his mien and managerial ability.”
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello and his Kaduna counterpart , Mallam Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai are known staunch supporters of Oyegun.
However, as a way of placating Oyegun, a Presidency source said an ambassadorial position, or a lesser appointment, may be given to him.
He said the president’s decision to do away with Oyegun and hand the chairmanship baton to Oshiomhole “is to bring vitality to the leadership of the party.”
According to him, the president made up his mind to back Oshiomhole for the job; as far back as December 2017.
The source revealed that Buhari had hinted some people close to him, including Alhaji Mamman Daura, Alhaji Isa Funtua, former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, former Zamfara State governor, Sani Ahmed Yerima and former Abia State governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, about his decision.
The national convention of the party had earlier been fixed for May 14.
The date has since been reviewed after the Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, announced after the APC governors meeting with the National Working Committee, in Abuja, yesterday, that a new date will be announced after Ramadan.
A 68-man convention committee, chaired by Jigawa State Governor, Badaru Abubakar, was inaugurated earlier this week.