The unhealthy rivalry and widely reported shameful incidents involving two sets of Delta State APC delegates to the just concluded National Convention of our party, APC, brought to a head the long simmering conflict within the party that threatens its effort to free Delta State from the stranglehold of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in two decades of mis-governance of our state.
We deeply regret that this incident occurred while the President and Leader of our party, President Buhari, GCFR, was addressing the Convention, and that it caused personal discomfiture to Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, as well as former Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomole (now National Chairman of our party and his wife, all seated in the adjoining Edo State stand at the Eagle Square venue of the convention in Abuja.
The Delta State APCReconciliation Initiative hereby tenders profuse apologies to President Bubari Governor Obaseki, Comrade & Mrs. Adams Oshiornhole, the delegates who conducted themselves properly, and all Nigerians who value the critical role that political parties play in electoral democracy.
With the commencement of the 2019 electoral process around the comer, we wish to call on all our party members, most especially the leaders and principal actors in the feuding groups, to let the overriding goal of bringing positive change to our long-suffering Delta State mollify their feelings and bring them to the reconciliation table. It is obvious that each group is driven by the strong view that its strategy and its potential governorship candidate stands the best chance of wrestling the state from the suffocating chains of the PDP.
They must also be aware, however, that any sectional victory, whether through the congresses and convention or the courts, amounts to a pyrrhic victory if it comes at the cost of factionalizing the party, rendering it comatose and therefore unlikely to win the general election.
The current crises within our party in the state is unacceptable to all well-meaning members. We therefore call on members of the aggrieved groups to sheath their swords and embrace full reconciliation as an urgent imperative. We urge the leaders of them contending groups to direct their followers, particularly the social media warriors, to desist forthwith from careless and incendiary posts, a good deal of which is outright falsehood or mischievous misrepresentation of facts.
It goes without saying that the good intention and legitimate personal ambitions of the leaders and main action in this conflict can only be realized within a peaceful and united party, fired by the crying need to bring an APC-led government to Delta State and to re-elect President Buhari for a second term in 2019. To this end, we propose as follows:
That the national leadership of our party constitute a Peace and Reconciliation Committee immediately with a view to addressing the grievances of the feuding groups. It is no secret that the embarrassing fiasco at the Delta State stand during the national convention was the culmination of the seething contest over the final list of the state delegates to be accredited and, by implication, who controls the structure of the party in the state.
In the same vein, that the State Executive Committee declare its readiness to embrace frank dialogue and full reconciliation, provide a level playing field for all aspirants to state and national elective position, as well as unambiguous commitment to internal democracy and popular participation down to the grassroot levels of Unit, Ward and LGA.
Given that that the root cause of the suits filed by aggrieved party members cannot be settled satisfactorily by judicial pronouncements but only politically, we propose that all litigants seek adjournments to give room for the party to find redress for their grievances.
That the National Chairman, Comrade Oshiomhole, together with the new National Working Committee (NWC), commit themselves to transparently free and fair party primaries and internal democracy.
We believe that the ultimate solution to the protracted problems in Delta APC is firm neutrality and transparency by the leadership of the party, which must be seen to insist on strict adherence to the party’s constitution and guidelines for primaries and congresses in order to guarantee a level playing field for all and respect for the will of party members at the grassroots.
The cry word should be that “Whoever emerges as the party’s candidate during primaries is the popular choice of the members and the person that best represents our chance to rescue Delta State.”
The Delta APC Reconciliation Initiative is concerned only with facilitating an immediate end to the crisis threatening to paralyse the party in the state and make it unable to win the 2019 gubernatorial and other elections.
Once the defined goal of reconciliation is achieved, this body will cease to exist. Members of this initiative cut across all three senatorial districts, the interest groups, and those that belong to neither camp.
We commend these steps as urgent and imperative, and we welcome any other ideas that can help to achieve the goal of peace and unity in the party in order for us to rescue Delta State come 2019. There is no time to waste! The time to act is NOW!