Chief Audu Ogbeh, a chieftain of the All Progresives Congress has expressed his sincere apology for a statement in which he said that members of the #BringBackOurGirls Movement belong to the APC.
The Presidency had in the past accused the group of being sponsored by the APC and Ogbeh unwittingly confirmed this while speaking at the declaration of General Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja last week. He said that members of the group belong to the APC with the group taking strong exception to the statement.
The one time Chairman of the PDP has however apologised for the slip saying that only two percent of the group are actually APC members but the the two percent are highly valued by the party.
His apology was contained in a letter addressed to the BBOG and obtained by NewsWireNGR on Tuesday.
Ogbeh said “Dear patriots, I feel obliged to let you know that my statement at our function last week was not intended to paint your group as an APC subgroup. This is because from what we know, less than 2 per cent of the group are our party members, but members we value highly.
“The rest of you are not and may not even belong to any political association whatsoever. This is not to say you have no right to be if you choose to. If my statement caused you discomfort, I do apologise, but reiterate that I have nothing but respect and admiration for you for keeping a six-month vigil and telling the world that the Nigerian conscience is not entirely dead. The world is watching and making judgement.”
The BBOG Movement has been a focal voice calling for the safe return of the abducted chibok secondary school girls. Former Education Minister, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili is one of the major facilitators of the movement. She is currently not affiliated to any political party.
Cordinator of the BBOG, Hadiza Usman, in a statement on Tuesday decried Ogbeh for his statement. She said that though she is personally an APC member, her membership has nothing to do with the group.
“I have watched, with keen interest, recent attempts by some principal officers of the Federal Government to discredit me and the #BringBackOurGirls group. This is not new. It has been the case since we commenced our citizens-driven advocacy movement, which explains why my initial reaction was to ignore the chatter and concentrate on the noble work of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.
“I am a member of the APC, and there has been no time I have hidden this fact or tried to mask it. But let’s be clear, when I worked to mobilise women, men, and Nigerians at large to come out on April 30th to protest that the Government should intensify efforts to #BringBackOurGirls, I did so not as an APC member, but first as a human being, as a woman, a mother, a Nigerian and an African. It was never about politics and/or my political affiliations; it was rather about our shared humanity as human beings.”
“No one should be made to make the choice of being a member of a political party and being empathetic towards issues that bother on our shared humanity; neither should any citizen be denied the right and opportunity to express their natural humanistic tendency of compassion, on the premise of divisive sentiments, interests, and affiliations. When we allow such divisive narratives as that being peddled by people paid with taxpayers’ money to fester in our national discourse, we must see that rather than gain, we lose instead. Rather than come united, we become disunited. “
She went further to say said that the issue of the girls is an opportunity to unite against insurgency and terrorism regardless of party affiliation.
“This moment therefore offers for us a unique chance to stand united as a nation, whether you are in PDP, APGA, APC, or any political party; Christian or Muslim; from the North or the South. The issue of the abducted Chibok girls is an opportunity to UNITE and not DIVIDE – to unite against insurgency, terrorism, and every common enemy that seeks to divide us as a people. We must unite to ensure that every girl and boy in Nigeria has equal access to education. We must unite to change the narrative that no matter one’s tribe, gender, religion, social strata, interests, and political affiliations, we can all come together as one to transform our beloved nation for the best.”