President Muhammadu Buhari, Governors, particularly those of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), lawmakers, government appointees, the Diplomatic Community and other party chieftains, will converge on the International Conference Centre, Abuja this Saturday for the 80th birthday Dinner/Gala night of John Odigie-Oyegun, the immediate past APC National Chairman.
Odigie-Oyegun, also a former Governor of Edo State who turned 80 last Monday, 12th August, was earlier treated to a state celebration by Governor Godwin Obaseki in Benin while all APC Governors Forum has also organised the national celebration in his honour.
Ray Murphy, Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee, briefing Journalists in Abuja ahead of event on Friday, said the celebration was in recognition of God’s blessing on Odigie-Oyegun and his family, and the contributions he has made in the democratic development of Nigeria.
Murphy while extolling the virtues of the former APC National Chairman that were worthy of emulation and celebration, said, “he has kept his name clean, right and fair over the years. Even as he left office as the National Chairman of the APC, you noticed that he has never engaged in any battle with anybody in the party.
“Until we began to hear accusations, left and right, which are basically just accusations. Which was why it became necessary as his Public Affairs Adviser to begin to take on those things. We took them on not because we are interested in just replying but because at 80 what time does he has to build his name. If people throw mud at you when you are 80, what time do you have to clean it up?
“But by his nature he would have kept quiet but it reached a point when he realised that he didn’t do that kind of thing, those things will soil his name practically for life. Oyegun’s fondest wish is for the strength and growth of not just the party but for the strength and growth and opportunities for all of us,” Murphy said.
On the need for the national celebration and absence of key APC during the Benin celebration, he said, “my reaction is very simple and straight forward, remember I said that Benin was a state function. We have two batches of the event: the state function which was done by the state which is more like regional, and the national function which is being organised tomorrow (Saturday).
“Well, I would have a response if tomorrow (Saturday) we record the same kind of situation. But I know that most people who attend event will look at which one to attend. For instance, we have all these governors who were not essentially there because we have the main function which will be a national celebration.”