A former Governor of Edo state, John Odigie-Oyegun was in the early hour of Saturday elected as the new national Chairman of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC at the well attended first National Convention of the party at the Eagles Square, Abuja.
The emergence of Oyegun, who will now succeed ex-Governor Bisi Akande, followed intense negotiations and horse trading among various contending forces in the party.
Oyegun’s candidature was promoted by a national leader of the party and former Governor of Lagos state, Bola Tinubu while his main challenger, former governor of Bayelsa state, Timipre Sylva, who was the candidate of choice for the governors elected under the banner of the party, reportedly stepped down for Oyegun earlier in the day.
The decision by Sylva to step down, followed a two-day horse-trading between the leaders of the party and enlarged meeting of the elders of the party held few hours before the commencement of the convention.
In the same vein, a new National Secretary in the person of Mai Mala Buni from Yobe state was elected to replace Tijjani Tumsah.
Buni’s emergence follows an announcement by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar shortly after voting has commenced that the elders from the North East geopolitical zone, where the position was zoned to, has convinced former National Assembly presidential liaison officer, Kashim Imam, to step down.
Our correspondent gathered that the former Interim National Secretary, who was also a strong candidate, was persuaded by the outgoing National Chairman of the party, Bisi Akande, to step down from the race and allow fresh officials to emerge as both Chairman and Secretary.
Former Governor Segun Oni was also elected the party’s Deputy National Chairman (South) while a former National Secretary of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Lawal Shuaibu, was elected Deputy National Chairman (North).
Oni, a former Vice-Chairman (South-West) of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, joined the APC a few weeks ago.
Shuaibu’s main challenger, a former member of the House of Representatives from Jigawa state, Farouk Aliyu, a candidate supported by ex-Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, was also persuaded to step down on the eve of the convention.
The current Interim spokesperson of the party, Lai Mohammed, was returned unopposed as the National Publicity Secretary of the party.