After two days of close- door meetings with aggrieved chairmanship candidates and party leaders in the south west, the chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Committee on Reconciliation, and Governor of Bayelsa State, Honourable Henry Seriake Dickson, has declared that the committee had achieved its mission in the region.
The Governor said the leaders of the party visited by the committee made clear statements about their commitments to the unity of the PDP in the South West.
The Special Adviser to Dickson on Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, quoted the governor as having made the comment while speaking with journalists shortly after a meeting with a former Governorship Candidate òf the party in Lagos State and PDP Chairmanship Aspirant, Chief Jimmy Agbaje, in Lagos on Friday.
Dickson and members of the committee had earlier held a close- door meeting with former Deputy National Chairman, South, Chief Olabode George, and other top members of the party in the South West in Lagos on Thursday night.
Present at the meeting were a former Minister of Works, Senator Adesewe Ogunlewe, former Deputy Governor of Lagos, Sen. Kowoworola Akerele-Bucknor, former Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada, former Minister of Transport, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, former National Vice Chairman, South West, Ishola Filani, former Minister, Elder Wole Oyelese, PDP chieftain, Othman Shodipe and others.
Dickson said that the PDP leaders in the South West displayed understanding on the need to have a strong united political platform to rescue the country from the current situation of hopelessness.
The Governor said the committee was pleased with the individual and collective responses and the willingness of the South West PDP leaders to build a strong and cohesive party ahead of the 2019 general elections.
He said, “We think that our reconciliation efforts in the South West have gone on very well, our party leaders have left nobody in doubt as to their commitment, genuine and abiding commitment, and loyalty to our great party.
“They understand that we have no option, and that all people of good will need to be in a formidable platform: a non-religion, non sectarian, all inclusive big umbrella that would unite our party more, unite our nation more and deliver Nigeria from the situation of hopelessness that we now find themselves.
“I think all of us are united to do what is right for our country and we are grateful as a committee to our party leaders and we count on them particularly the leadership of the party in the South West to reunite the party, to build a cohesive and strong party. We have assured them that moving forward, the South West would be a critical pillar of support upon which our future success will be built and they have got that message.
“We are pleased with the individual and collective responses and activities, and these are people we know very well so we have no cause to doubt them. So we are going with that message of solidarity and continued membership and service of our party back to the leadership at the national level on whose behalf we are here and in no distant time Nigerians will see that all PDP leaders would work hand in hand moving forward.”
In his remarks, the party’s Governorship candidate for Lagos State in the 2015 general elections, Agbaje, described the meeting as productive in the concerted bid to strengthen the party.
He reaffirmed his hope in the PDP and commended the efforts being made to address the observed hitches in the last convention.
Agbaje Who spoke in the presence of the South West National Vice Chairman of the PDP, Chief Eddy Olafeso, said that the membership of the party was engrossed in moves to retrieve power from the ruling All Progressive Congress in 2019.
“I think it has been a very good meeting moving forward. For some of us, it is about moving the party forward. There were hitches here and there, but I think we are trying to smoothen those rough edges to kind of smoothen them. And I can see that we are coming out much happier than when we went into the convention.
“We have every faith that the PDP is going to remain strong. We have every hope and we are working strongly to ensure that we take over power come 2019. To do that we are going to do everything possible, bring everybody on board, we are going to sell ourselves to the people and by God’s Grace we will be there.”
Earlier Chief Bode George who was also a contender for the PDP National Chairmanship spot had urged the PDP to put its house in order in accordance with justice, fairness and equity which he said were the three pillars on which the party was founded.
He stressed that the real battle before the party was in 2019, adding that the members should refrain from demonizing or decimating any other group within the party.
He said that he does not have anything against the emergence of Prince Uche Secondus as he (Chief Bode George) played a role in his political rise.
“Yes the convention has come and gone. No qualms about Secondus. I have played a role in his coming and he has perpetually reflected that in all he does. The visit today is so timely. I have refused to make further comments, because as a party man, I can not be part of those that will destroy the house that I built, that is not in our culture.
“I want to assure you that yes we have debated, we have analyzed, and we have come with the best suggested solutions to prepare us for the future.
The campaigns were like national presidential campaign. It was refreshing for me.
“Of course, to err is human, I am happy you are here, we will do the analyses, we will discuss among ourselves; I can assure you that at tthe end of the day, with people like you and the men in your committee, we will be able to analyze it, so that those who are going to be at the helm of affairs will now know better, as we head for the real battle.
“The real battle is out there one year from now. We must strictly put our house in order with justice fairness and equity as the three solid pillars of our party.”