The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, yesterday said that his party does not in any way feel intimidated by the creation of a “mega party” to challenge the ruling party.
Instead, he said that those behind it should be supported to go ahead with the proposed party so as to create a tough opposition to the ruling APC.
Oyegun, who also absolved former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and the National Leader of the APC, Senator Bola Tinubu of their alleged involvement in the formation of the new party, stated that he had met with some of the leaders of the APC, including the leadership of the National Assembly and the former vice-president.
He added: “We are also waiting for the arrival of Tinubu so we can also meet with him and have meaningful discussions because he is a well respected leader of this party.”
Speaking with journalists in Benin City yesterday, the APC boss said: “We do no feel threatened at all, no mega party will survive the APC. I don’t know where the name mega party suddenly came from in the lexicon of politics in this country.
“When two people gather to have a meeting it is a ‘mega’ meeting. We don’t feel threatened, we will in fact encourage a mega party, because with the gradual collapse of PDP, we want a party that can make us sit up and be on our toes in terms of the delivery of services to our people.
“We need a party that will challenge us, that will make democracy real, offer the people a real choice. We are not threatened at all, we are focused on our mission made difficult by the current economic situation, which of course is compounded by the collapse of oil prices.
“Nonetheless, we are reforming this country, reforming it ethically, morally and economically by building a fresh economic base which will no longer depend on an extractive industry which does not involve the people.
“Now we are pushing agriculture, so most Nigerians are in the field of agriculture. We are pushing extractive minerals which of course are virtually all over the country, so a lot of Nigerians will be involved in that enterprise.
“We are pushing for power generation and distribution because that will also energise small and medium scale businesses. So we want an economy in which most Nigerians are participants, it is no longer an oil economy which is highly technologically based.”
He noted that the APC-led federal government was dealing with a different reality that it is trying to build and establish.
“It involves sacrifices and hard work. But what is necessary today is that we are focused. What is real today is that the government of President Buhari is passionate about seeing this thing to its logical conclusion.
“This nation must change and the change is so fundamental that there is no question at all that a lot of people are going through temporary hardship, but the situation is such that tomorrow, everybody will be glad that we pursued this line of development in spite of the problems we are facing currently,” he explained.
Atiku, Tinubu have been linked to talks with a faction of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi to form a new opposition party to challenge the hegemony of the APC in the forthcoming elections.