APC National Chairman, John Oyegun gave a widely covered speech during the investiture of an honorary title conferred on him by the Bini National Congress last week.
Below are four takeaways with quotes from his speech:
The Similarities Between Buhari and Fela, Gani
“The example of these men is noticed, it inspires other people. So by their conduct, they are probably doing a lot more good than those who just hand over cash. There are so many ways to the top. People like Justice Ephraim Akpata, Abel Goubadia, Gani Fawehinmi, Fela Anikulapo Kuti were popular, but they controlled nothing. The same attribute is what our president has. He controls nothing. He does not have mansions, but the whole nation has accepted him because of integrity.
“Let me make one thing clear, President Buhari was not elected by the elites, I hope you know that. If he depended on the elite, Buhari may not be president today. And if he depended on the elite, with the way they tried to do over foreign exchange and the rest of it, Buhari will not be president tomorrow. But the ordinary people of this country look up to him as the symbol of the kind of persons, leadership and the kind of country that they want Nigeria to become. He is a symbol, a lighthouse, a guide. He doesn’t have to be good at everything, but he has that attribute which the ordinary Nigerian is telling us is what they need.”
Things are a mess in the country right now but it is the PDP’s Fault
“Yes, I accept there is hunger in the land, yes, I accept that the economy is in relatively bad shape. If I tell you now that what we inherited were far worse and you hear some of the details. I won’t be surprised if people go out and ask for stricter measures on those who have brought this country to its knees.
“As at the time we took over, there wasn’t a single kobo anywhere. As if that was not enough, the price of crude collapsed. But the good news is that for the first time in its history, this country is finally building an economic base that is based on the sweat of Nigerians. Which means, we will never again suffer from the kind of humiliation we have had resulting from the collapse of the one item that sustained this nation which is crude oil. Today agriculture is blossoming, young people are taking up farming as a business. Today we are almost independent in the production of rice. Today we are almost self-sufficient in a lot of the grains that we depend on in this nation. Today we are opening up solid mineral mines all over the country.
Change Is A Patient Process
“Things have started to solidify. The economy has started to grow. It is not a switch, it is something that will take time. But once we are there, this nation will never experience the type of recession that we had in the past… Change is not bridges. Change is not electricity. Change is not roads. Change is my perception as to what is right or what is wrong or what needs to be done and being faithful in getting it done. For as long as we Nigerians have the wrong type of morality, ethics, not all the roads in this world will get us out of the economic morass we find ourselves. So change also means a change of attitude, morality, ethics, knowledge of what is right and what is wrong. A system that rewards competence, productivity rather than a system that adulates wealth for the sake of the fact that somebody has money. We must change this aspect of our lives.
“Change takes time. Changing how we perceive things, how we think and respond to issues takes time and consistency of application, meaning that we cannot go back to the bad old days. When I joined the service as an economic planner, the World Bank put Nigeria ahead of Brazil, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan. Today we are importing second-hand Brazilian planes. So what went wrong with us? Finally we have a President who is insisting painfully on bringing Nigeria back to the path of rectitude, progress and enable Nigeria attain its destiny. It is not by accident that we are the largest black nation in the world. Until President Buhari we were a laughing stock. Today we are gaining respectability. So it is important that we don’t lose momentum.
The Failed APC Coup to displace him and Loyalty
“I grew up in an environment of strong family ties, where bringing disgrace, dishonour to the family is the worst thing you can possibly do, because your own family will be the first to disown you. So all my life, this is the circumstance that has conditioned me. One, I do nothing that will not make me sleep soundly at night. I do nothing that I will be afraid to see as a headline in any of the national dailies. Yes, I have been through several trials, and I have overcome them all. Why have I done so? Because at the end of the day, however detailed, however forensic, your examination, you will not find that John Odigie-Oyegun have done anything dishonourable. And so with all the hue and cry, at the end of the day when we sit down, yes you want John Odigie-Oyegun out, fine. Tell us what he has done? The whole situation fizzles out, because the only thing you can punish him for is loyalty. And we Edo people are loyal. If we believe in something, we make sacrifices to ensure that those ends are upheld and met.”