Chief Oyegun, an economist and politician, was the first national chairman of APC.

Prior to his emergence as the Chairman, Oyegun had had an impressive public service career in the Nigerian civil service before retiring and being elected as the Governor of Edo State between 1992 and 1993, during the botched Third Republic.

However, when on June 13, 2014, he was elected as national chairman of the APC which eventually became the main opposition party to the ruling PDP, then, not many gave him the chance of making much impact in the nation’s political scene against the governing party that boasted of retaining power for 60 years irrespective of whatever challenges that may come its way.

But then the emergence of the Edo -born economist and political juggernaut, later made all the difference that was needed to redefine the ruling party’s stronghold on power structure at the centre for Africa’s biggest democracy.

From all indications, Oyegun’s tenure as chairman of the APC can be said to be among the most eventful in the sense that beyond helping the party to take power at the centre and in most of the states which also voted for the party’s governorship and state and National Assembly seats in 2015 to give it control of the law making apparatuses of the country, it was also the first time that an incumbent President and his party were roundly defeated in a transparent general election to further consolidate democratic practice in the country.

Just as President Goodluck Jonathan conceded defeat to President Buhari in the 2015 election, Chief Oyegun’s character as a democrat was also tested in 2017, when majority of the APC stakeholders vociferously called for his replacement on account of alleged misdemeanors. He promptly threw in the towel and stepped down from office of the National Chairman of the party by not seeking re-election for a second term in office at the 2018 elective national convention of the party, paving way for Adams Oshiomhole, his opponent, as sole candidate for the position.

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As an astute politician, political historians will remember Oyegun as the party chairman with outstanding grit to lead an amalgam of over five political groups that metamorphosed into the APC to wrest power from the President Jonathan-led PDP government in 2015.

Despite the challenges he had faced as founding chairman of the ruling party, Oyegun still stands tall in the record books of APC and the nation’s political landscape as a game changer that cannot be forgotten in a hurry.

Early Life

Born on August 12, 1939, in Warri, Delta State to an Edo father and Urhobo mother from Agbarha Ughelli, Oyegun attended St. Patrick’s College, in Asaba, and later proceeded to the University of Ibadan where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Economics.

He then served in various capacities as a federal civil servant working as a development planner.

Chief Oyegun was elected as civilian governor of Edo State on the SDP platform, during the transition to democracy launched by Gen Ibrahim Babangida and served from January 1992 to November 1993.

His tenure as governor of Edo State was terminated abruptly after General Sani Abacha seized power. He later became a leader of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and in 2009, he emerged chairman of the Technical Working Committee of CODER.