President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday met the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, John Odigie-Oyegun behind closed-door in Abuja.
The meeting came barely 24 hours after Bolaji Tinubu, the national leader of the APC, accused Mr Oyegun of sabotaging his assignment to reconcile aggrieved members.
Mr Oyegun, who arrived the Presidential Villa at about 3pm and left at about 3.50pm, refused to speak to newsmen on the motive behind his impromptu visit.
However, DAILY NIGERIAN gathered that Mr Oyegun sought the audience of Mr President and cleared the air on the allegations levelled against him by the Mr Tinubu.
Mr Tinubu, in his eight-page letter dated February 21, which was copied to the president, vice-president, Senate president and Speaker of the House of Representatives, had specifically accused the national chairman of not cooperating with him.
He said some of his unilateral actions were capable of worsening the situation in some of the crisis-ridden states.
The party’s national leader, who said he approached his assignment with an open mind, also expressed worry that Mr Odigie-Oyegun’s response was cynical and unhelpful.
He said: “Upon my appointment, I gave the president my word that I would work diligently and objectively to achieve the goal set before me.
“In this vein, my first port of call after receiving my assignment was our party’s national secretariat to present myself before the NWC with you as one of its members by virtue as the chairman of the party.
“During my interaction, members freely expressed their views concerning the state of the party at the national, state and local government levels.
“On your part, you promised unalloyed support for my mission. Consonant with that vow, you said that you would provide all the information at your disposal and you vowed to act as a liaison between us and the state party chapters.
“Unfortunately the spirit of understanding and of cooperative undertaking to revive the party seemed not to have lived beyond the temporal confines of that meeting. I assure anyone who cares to know that this positive spirit of cooperation did not meet its demise at my hands.”
In the letter entitled: ‘Actions and Conduct Weakening the Party from Within’, Mr Tinubu outlined his position on the state of the party and the way forward, saying the solution laid in a balanced appreciation of its daunting challenges.
He said: “My position was and is that we can only restore the party by resolving its current deficiencies in an unbiased, neutral manner that allows us to strengthen our internal democracy by annealing those internal institutions and processes vital to such internal fairness. I stated this position then and I still hold to it with all sincerity.”
But Tinubu suggested that Odigie-Oyegun was not similarly persuaded, contending that the national chairman was apparently incapable of measuring up to his leadership responsibility.
“Those who were entrusted with positions of high responsibility within the party seemed unable to handle the success given them,” he said.
He added: “Little attention was tendered to the principles upon which this party was formed and pursuant to which it was presented to the public as an alternative to the cynical politics of the PDP.”
Mr Tinubu pointedly accused Odigie-Oyegun of the undemocratic act of unilaterally meddling in the affairs of some crisis-ridden states, particularly, Kogi, Kaduna and Adamawa States.
He accused the national chairman of rushing to Kogi last weekend to inaugurate a new parallel state executive without reference to the appropriate organ of the party.
Tinubu told Odigie-Oyegun: “It is my understanding that your dissolution of the duly-constituted state executives and the hurried naming of the above-mentioned caretaker group was not approved by the NWC.
“You had let this situation fester for months on end. Only when I was appointed to help resolve internal disputes and when you realised I might focus early on Kogi, did you stir from your indifference and inaction.”
He continued: “Drawing from your behaviour in Kogi, Kaduna and Adamawa with regard to the state chapter assessment requested, I am led to the inference that you have no intention of actually supporting my assignment.
“While this may place you in a significant affinity with those parallel officials you handpicked, this machination suggests no improvement in the welfare of the party in Kogi or at the national level.”
Tinubu said Odigie-Oyegun apparently sought to undermine his mandate by engaging in dilatory tactics for the most of the time, but that when forced to act, the national chairman would do so in an arbitrary and capricious manner.
Reminding the national chairman that the task was a presidential assignment, the national leader directed an immediate release to him the status reports and all the pertinent information regarding the state chapters without further delay.
However, Odigie-Oyegun could not be reached for comment as at the time of filing this report.