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Merit should not be sacrificed for interest, says Odigie-Oyegun


John Odigie-Oyegun

Former National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has admonished those in position of authorities against sacrificing merit on the alter of satisfying parochial interest in the country.

Odigie-Oyegun, who spoke at a dinner/gala night to celebrate his 80th birthday at the weekend in Abuja, said that it would be a huge disservice to the country to sustain the old tradition of tolerating mediocre performance under the guise of balancing and respect for national character.

The former Governor of Edo State, who called for concerted efforts to rid the country of corruption, urged President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to put in place a reward system for those who contribute meaningfully for the development of the country.


He noted: “At 80, I feel totally satisfied, totally happy that God has been kind to me. In fact, God has been partial towards me; I don’t know what I did right. Because in my total 80 years, there is nothing I truly set my eyes upon that I did not accomplish. I have enjoyed length of days. I have enjoyed absolutely good health. I have worked and interacted with some of the nicest people in this country.

“It is high time that these potentiality start being converted into reality. We are blessed with greatness. It is there and what we require is political commitment, political will and political courage to make the changes that are necessary.

“Up till now, we have practised the doctrine of balancing and all of that which is very good at the time it was put in place. Fortunately today, I doubt that there is any corner of this country that didn’t have highly qualified Nigerians and the time has come for merit to become the sole determinant of positioning and placing people.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who eulogised the sterling leadership qualities of Odigie-Oyegun as a founding member of the defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD), member of NADECO and the first Chairman of the APC, said: “Every time you come across the Nigerian politician, there is always one way or the other that we are maligned but people like Chief Odigie-Oyegun has shown that politicians can be loyal and faithful.

While Governor Kayode Fayemi described Odigie-Oyegun as a father, mentor and a quintessential gentleman whose counsel would remain useful to the country, his Kebbi State counterpart, Atiku Bagudu, eulogised the role played by Odigie-Oyegun in the victory of the APC in the 2015 poll.

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