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29 Mar 2018

Buhari’s rejection of tenure elongation: Oyegun calls off scheduled meeting with APC Reps

A scheduled meeting between the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress and the party’s caucus at the House of Representatives was unceremoniously called off on Wednesday.

The National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, was scheduled to lead the NWC members to the meeting at 2pm.

Investigations by The PUNCH showed that the venue, Conference Room 034, House of Representatives Wing, National Assembly Complex, was set for the meeting and many members had arrived ahead of 2pm.

The Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, had also led some officials to the venue, awaiting the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, to receive Odigie-Oyegun.

It was gathered that Oyegun had written the lawmakers on March 15, requesting a meeting with them on happenings in the polity.

The letter, which The PUNCH obtained exclusively in Abuja, read in part, “I wish to request that you arrange an early meeting between the NWC and the APC House Caucus at the National Assembly to discuss a few recent developments in the polity.”

The PUNCH gathered that while Gbajabiamila and other members of the party were waiting for the meeting to start, words came from Odigie-Oyegun that it had been cancelled.

A source said, “The chairman’s advance party and secretariat members of staff had already arrived in the National Assembly.

“But, Odigie-Oyegun called Gbajabiamila on the telephone to say the meeting would no longer be taking place.”

It was learnt that the turn of events flowed from the outcome of the party’s Tuesday National Executive Committee meeting, where President Muhammadu Buhari opposed tenure elongation for the Oyegun-led NWC.

“A message got to him (Oyegun) that some members celebrated the action of the President.

“His associates claimed that the chairman was not sure of the likely reception to receive from the lawmakers,” a legislative source told The PUNCH.

One of our correspondents gathered that many members were also unhappy that Odigie-Oyegun rarely held meetings or visited the caucus at the National Assembly to discuss party matters with them.

When The PUNCH sought the comments of Gbajabiamila, he said, “There is nothing serious. I mean, there are no issues with the party. All the organs and activities are working.

“Members are angry? How? Why will they be angry? There is nothing of that nature.”

Attempts to get a reaction from Odigie-Oyegun were futile. Calls to his mobile telephone numbers indicated that they were switched off. A response to a text message sent to him on the subject was still being awaited as of 10pm.


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