Opinion: All Hail Odigie-Oyegun, The Barbwire of Progressive Leadership – Godwin Erhahon
By Godwin Erhahon, Benin City.
Yesterday’s resolution of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) extending the tenure of the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led Executive by one year must have surprised many.
This is so because of the tensions generated by the letter written to him and made public last week by the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinibu accusing him of sabotaging the national reconciliation assignment which President Muhammadu Buhari entrusted him (the great Asiwaju) with.
It was widely expected that at least Chief Odigie-Oyegun, if not his entire EXCO, would be sacked at the meeting.
But the meeting ended on a win-win note with the national chairman being rewarded for his good leadership with a one year tenure extension bonus and Asiwaju receiving commendations for his reconciliation efforts.
What better result could the governing party have wished for?
Those of us who have known Chief Odigie-Oyegun closely since he ventured from post-retirement business life into politics in 1990 leading to his heroic victory in the December 14, 1991 governorship election in Edo State on the platform of the then Social Democratic Party (SDP)only laughed at those who predicted that he would fall at the meeting.
Having worked also with President Buhari consistently since 2003, I know the President is one who cannot be swayed by cheap propaganda nor goaded into rash decisions to please a maddening crowd.
Chief Odigie-Oyegun is not a greedy leader who can easily be challenged on the ground of corruption or infidelity.
As he meticulously chooses his words so does he cautiously takes his actions.
This meticulousity of his is what some often misread as weakness.
Having led APC to defeat a wild ruling PDP in the 2015 presidential election and claimed some states from the defeated ruling party subsequently, only the crass ingrates within the APC would wish him disgraced out of office.
Like the barbwire, Chief Odigie-Oyegun may look flexible and fragile but his heart is stronger than steel and larger than the Zuma Rock just as his vision is holy and divine because as a devout Catholic, he communes with his Maker on the next line of action to take.
Back home in Edo State, he has continued to tolerate those who often muck his old age and try to provoke him into duel while he prayerfully leaves all to God.
But by his mature approach, he has continued to disgrace his detractors.
A national Chairman who is spitefully denied any input to the selection of candidates or political appointees in his home state governed by his party and yet would not protest even when his teaming followers urge him to is surely endowed with patience and tolerance as a potent winning strategy!
As the Binis would say:”it is God who chases those chasing the innocent deaf and dump! ”
As the great author and inspirational speaker, Robbert Schuller said: “Tough times never last but tough people do “.
Tough times for Chief Odigie-Oyegun is over but the titanic Chief tugs on.
He will lead APC through the next primaries, general elections, and the inauguration of the next government which his destiny guarantees for the governing party.