A former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun has revealed why Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state defeated his main rival, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu in the just-concluded governorship election.
Speaking to journalists in his Benin City residence on Monday, Oyegun said Obaseki, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party defeated Ize-Iyamu, candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, due to the illegality perpetrated by some APC members in the state.
“The greatest problem we have in this country has been lack of due process, impunity, lack of respect for our own constitution whether the various parties or outside that.
“To my mind, we have regressed as far as party politics is concerned because we have departed from due process, allowing free and fair selection processes within parties and if parties don’t practice democracy, I don’t see how they can preach democracy to the people of this nation.
“Fortunately, Edo state is the heartbeat of the Nigerian nation so this election has proved one more time that we are truly the heartbeat of the Nigerian nation and we hope it is something that will be copied for future elections in this nation.”
Oyegun said that he refused to campaign for the APC because his conscience was against the way the party was being run without following due processes.
He said: “I am a man of conscience. I am a strong believer in justice and fair play.
“I am a strong believer that, when the rules of an association you belong have been so flagrantly disregarded, put aside and not complied with, then you have to go back to your conscience to say, can I support what has happened? Can I not support what has happened? I cannot support injustice.
“Your loyalty in life should be what is right, that is principle. Every human being must live for something. If you are ready to kill a man you know did not commit a crime, then something is wrong with you.
“Even in the family, if a family member commits a crime, he has to agree that he has committed the crime. When you start shouting no, he has done nothing wrong, then something is wrong with you. So, it was a basic issue of principle, it is a basic issue of conscience.”
Oyegun said the success of the election was due to the roles played by the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, the National Peace Committee (NPC) headed by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), and threats made by the US and UK against election riggers.