By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA – National chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief John Oyegun and Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Comrade Timi Frank have locked horns over who speaks for the party as the National Publicity Secretary of the party upon the exit of Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
While Oyegun stated that the mantle has fallen on him and the National Secretary of the party, Mai Buni, Frank insisted that he was constitutionally authorized to step into the shoes of his former principal, Lai Mohammed who is now the Minister of Information.
Oyegun during a press briefing on the state of the party and other contemporary issues in the polity was pressed by Journalists to specifically state who speaks for the party at the moment.
The question followed difficulties encountered by Journalists when making enquiries from the party.
Speaking, Oyegun stated that it was either himself or the national secretary that had the right to officially speak for the party.
He said “It was a great loss of Lai Mohammed to the Executive but he’s still within the system. He was truly very special and unique but as we speak, the National Secretary of the party has largely on temporary basis taking up the job of communication to the press and myself (as the Chairman) is always available to any enquiry.
“I will start by saying who does not speak for the party, the person you are talking about does not speak for the party. Secondly, if there are any issues that need clarification for now, pending when we have a substantive publicity secretary, the national secretary will do so for the party and also when I speak, i speak for the party. It is as simple as that”.
But reacting in another press briefing, Frank insisted that he was the National publicity secretary under Acting capacity.
He said outside of him, any other person in the party issuing statement was doing so under personal capacity.
“Our party constitution is very clear, anybody that does not understand the party constitution within the party or anybody that is still thinking who is the acting spokesperson or acting spokesperson.
“Today I am the spokesperson of the party, I’m the acting spokesperson of the party I can tell you without fear or favour that when the substantive person in the office of the national chairman or the national secretary or anybody that is not there, the deputy takes over automatically.
“This is the principle of the party constitution we have this also existing today in the PDP, you could see that when Muazu was not there Secondus today is acting for the party, so there is no difference, Lai Mohammad Is not there so automatically I’m the acting spokesperson of this party, so I can tell you without fear or favour.
“Any other person issuing a statement is doing that maybe on a personal capacity but constitutionally I am the acting spokesperson of the party. It’s not something I need to lobby for, it is something meant to be the trend and I stand by it.”, he said.
Speaking on party’s chances of winning the Bayelsa Governorship election, Frank said that brighter chances await the party if the stakeholders can buckle up and overcome their past mistakes.
He stated that the party lost some local governments as a result of internal strives in the party.
“I think this was the beginning of the battle. The battle is not yet over and we are waiting for INEC to give us a new date by the grace of God, that local government is a very big one and has a lot of votes.
“We must have lost in the other 6 local governments as at now but we are still hopeful that if we come together as a party, I can tell you clearly that the only reason why even lost the local governments we have lost, before today I have made it very clear that there are internal crisis in Bayelsa.
“Till today, our governorship candidate after the primaries has not spoken to me, up till today. There are so many people aggrieved in the party. But again there are so many who do not have the guts to speak out and that is why we have lost in those areas we have lost.
“If we came together as one if we have united ourselves before the election and every member happy, what happened in Bayelsa would not have happened.
“We are still hopeful that if we go back, I pray that candidate himself would correct whatever loopholes or mistake he must have done you know to put our party in this situation.
Now that we are expecting a local government that has a huge vote, if we do very well within this very short period to correct our wrongs I believe that we can still get victory”, he said.