Odigie-Oyegun Receives 9th Benin National Merit Award


By Adibe Emenyonu

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun has recounted how he survived several attempts to remove him from office as National Chairman of the governing Party.

According to Odigie-Oyegun who was the first executive governor of Edo state, his several political trials stemmed from his unflinching loyalty to constituted authority at all times, a posture that severally frustrated contending interests within the Party.

Odigie-Oyegun spoke when he received the 9th Benin National Award from the Bini National Congress (BNC) in the Edo State Capital, Benin-City on Thursday evening.

“The timing of the investiture was significant given that I had just survived another attempted coup which died with a whimper. For a Bini group, my own people to say ‘oga we want to honour you’, I thought finally yes I deserved this honour. I thank you for doing this to me. This is one of my proudest moments.“ The APC National Chairman stated at the well-attended award reception.

“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.” Odigie-Oyegun said.

The APC National Chairman compared President Muhammadu Buhari to some eminent Nigerians such as late INEC Chairs, Justice Ephraim Akpata, Abel Goubadia; lawyer/activist, Gani Fayehinmi; Afrobeat pioneer and activist, Fela Anikulapo Kuti who according to him were not popular for simply throwing money around but for their inspiration to others.

“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 handover 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,” he said.