Oyegun is ‘his own man’ – VP Osinbajo

Cyril Okonkwo, Abuja.

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has extolled the virtues of former Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief John Oyegun, describing him as a consummate politician and an astute strategist.

Osinbajo spoke on Saturday at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, as family members, friends and political associates of Oyegun gathered to celebrate his 80thbirthday.

The vice president said he admired Chief Oyegun, who was also the first civilian governor of Edo State for two reasons.

First is that somehow he has always been his own man charting his own course sometimes making some real trouble as for example when as a federal permanent secretary he risked contempt proceedings when he refused to testify on principle.

“But almost always you find him on the right side of history, as a founding member of AD (Alliance for Democracy), member of NADECO (National Democratic Coalition), and founding member of the APC and its first chairman, one who led the party to its historic victory to unseat the ruling party.

“But the second reason for my admiration is that somehow he manages to be so deep in the politics of Nigeria yet he doesn’t ever look like a politician.

“He sounds always like a fine, well-bred, well-spoken gentleman  dragged into politics by some rascals.”

Professor Osinbajo expressed desire to emulate Chief Oyegun’s attribute “of being in politics without being a politician.”

Foundation for greatness

In his response, Oyegun charged the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that the next level of his government, which would begin with new crop of ministers, should be the foundation for Nigeria’s greatness.

Oyegun said political will and commitment were required to make Nigeria attain its full potentials as the greatest black nation on earth.

The former APC chairman also advocated for merit to be the “sole determinant of positioning and placing people, saying that there is no “corner of this country, where there aren’t highly qualified Nigerians.”

On the fight against corruption, he said that it must be internalized and not left in the hand of President Buhari alone.

Oyegun also said that deserving Nigerians should be rewarded for their service to the nation even as those who have committed one crime or the other are being punished.

Earlier, the keynote speaker, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, said that dialogue should be employed in efforts to tackle the insecurity in Nigeria.

Gambari, who was Nigeria’s former Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said that military option alone has not been able to stem the tide of insecurity in Nigeria, requiring that dialogue be employed.

“There is need to engage in dialogue with all the groups agitating for one thing or the other or those whose legitimate interest may appear to be in conflict, Prof. Gambari said.

He said such dialogue must be inclusive and all encompassing.