OBADAN: APC Leaders Must Know That You Cannot Win Everytime

Rev.Peter ObadanRev. Peter Obadan is a former Deputy Governor of Edo State. He spoke with ALEMMA-OZIORUVA ALIU on the challenges facing APC.

How do you feel seeing that some APC legislators in the National Assembly went contrary to the wish of their party? THE leadership of the National Assembly can only be picked from within, not outside. It is only for the party, which has the majority, to suggest to its members, those who are preferred.

There would always be other considerations, and in my opinion, those were what came to be, and these gentlemen were chosen, they are still members of the APC.

They are well respected within the party — Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara. APC has lost nothing, but you might say, it is unfortunate that the recommendations of the party were not presented before the entire National Assembly.

There is nothing you can do about this situation, but the interesting aspect of it is that the President himself said he was going to work with anybody so elected.

That is the beauty of democracy, so, if they cooperate with the President, the policies of the party will still be fully executed, therefore, we have lost nothing. Saraki knows that he is holding that office in trust for all other APC senators, ditto, the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

How does party supremacy come in, because some people believe they went against the party? Well, the party came up with a decision, and what was important was for it to take charge of the National Assembly. We may be angered by that, but let us not forget that APC is just settling down to business, and we are going to have some of these hiccups, here and there, and with time, we will smoothen them and things will begin to work smoothly.

Don’t also forget that there is this carry over from the PDP. It was like when the military had ruled us for a very long time, and you had some civilians wanting to greet, and you find them giving salute, because we had been militarised, so, it is the same thing. It takes time for you to overcome certain weaknesses.

I think that was what played out, and I’m sure with time, we will all adjust to party supremacy. The party is supreme, and if the party works, everything works, and no single individual is greater than the party. If you are giving people responsibility, you should also give them authority to execute that responsibility.

You must not bypass them. Do you think the party chairman has the capacity to lead the APC? The APC is lucky to have somebody like John Odigie-Oyegun as chairman, somebody, who is administratively sound, very transparent in his dealings and comports himself in whatever he does.

He is a man, who again, does not discriminate. We are just lucky that we have him. If we had any other, peradventure, we might not have even won the presidency, because the person may have sold out. But the national chairman is a very principled man and it is a great privilege that we have him.

APC is a case of strange bedfellows, and people fear that it may collapse with time. What is your response to this assertion? Husband and wife are always strange bedfellows; after some years of coming together, they start to understand each other. They so blend well that you begin to see them as brother and sister, and you find them taking the same decision, even when they are not together, so, obviously, the parties have their weaknesses and they have their strength.


You cannot always win every time, at times, you lose; yes some of us projected Lawan for Senate Presidency, but somebody else emerged. We must have the mind to accommodate that, to say, let us move ahead. If you say because we didn’t have Lawan, we must destroy this situation, then you destroy everything and you become a colossal loser.

They decided to pool their strength together, don’t forget those weaknesses may still go with them, but in the process of time, we will drop those weaknesses and start developing on the strength, which we have. That’s the reason for what happened in the National Assembly.

I believe that like the three arms of government working together to achieve one objective, so the parties come together to achieve one objective — capture power— and having achieved that, it is sustaining it that we are now talking about. It is not the man that takes the field that is always hero; it is the man that takes and holds on to it.

We have won the election, we must be able to hold on to it and that is what all the APC leaders must learn and must appreciate. You cannot always win every time, at times, you lose; yes some of us projected Lawan for Senate Presidency, but somebody else emerged. We must have the mind to accommodate that, to say, let us move ahead.

If you say because we didn’t have Lawan, we must destroy this situation, then you destroy everything and you become a colossal loser. We must have a very large heart to accommodate, and I want to thank God for the type of leaders we currently have in APC, those in the front burner, they are well able to handle these situations and they accommodate. Mr. President sees all as his own and none as his.

Oyegun and Bola Tinubu see all the senators and members of the House of Representatives as their children. At times, you find a father wanting to prefer one child, but it is the mother, who is always at home, and more observant that knows more of the weaknesses and strength of those children will say, no, I think it should actually go to this child, be sure to have this thought in the party. Some People are suggesting that Nigeria should go back to parliamentary system, which is less expensive.

Do you subscribe to this? I will tell you, when we were in exile, we did x-ray these issues and the late Pa Anthony Enahoro was a frontline believer of this parliamentary system; the cost of governance, obviously, looking at our country is outrageous, but I tell people, what is the cost of governance? The real cost of governance is not what troubles me, but the corruption in the system.

It is the corruption that has made the cost of governance very expensive. In the set up, the governor, the civil servants and others, how much do they actually take from the statutory allocation that comes from the federation account? Maybe, one third or about 30 per cent then you have the other two third. Of the other two third, you will discover that about 60 per cent of it cannot be fully and properly justified.

It cannot be so justified, because the people that earn the one third are still the persons craving for the extras, so it makes it so expensive. If we can recognise that when a man is told to take charge, he is actually told to serve the people and not to exploit them, then we will be reducing the cost of governance.

I believe that presidential system, is more prosperous. I would want to say that we continue with the presidential system I don’t see anything particularly wrong with it.

If you say, for instance, that legislative activities will be on part time, I can assure you that those in government will have no peace of mind, because you will find every legislator in government, seeking one contract or the other. Leave it at full time, review the pay structure and review the hours of responsibility for them.

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