| PAUL OSUYI, Asaba
Former governor of Osun State and chairman of the National Reconciliation Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the South-South geo-political, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, has said that the situation of the party in Rivers State will make it difficult to defeat the incumbent governor, Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
It would be recalled that the Court of Appeal recently declared that the APC does not have candidates for all elective positions for 2019 general elections in Rivers State.
Speaking in Asaba where he led members of his committee to meet with stakeholders in the protracted factional crisis rocking the Delta State chapter of the party, Mr. Aregbesola expressed optimism that every other state in the South-South would be won by the APC in next year’s general elections.
“We have no problems in my (Osun) state. With what I am seeing here today, I believe that the APC will form the next government of Delta State come May 29, 2019. I believe it will happen in Akwa-Ibom State; I believe it will happen in Cross River State and subsequently in Bayelsa State. I would have said Rivers State but I don’t want to be too optimistic,” Aregbesola said.
He said from the progress recorded so far in the peace process in Delta APC, the party was on the threshold of victory, urging all stakeholders of the various groups, tendencies and factions of the party to be tolerant, and avoid re-opening healing wounds.
“My joy is that we are all here today, and I see on the faces joy and air of expectation which is the first sign of victory in any political contest. Let this belief in success permeate our entire being. Delta State is for our party to take but we must accommodate each other and be ready to work together.
“Any tension within a political canopy is a threat to victory. The junction which the party has reached in Delta State is very promising but the promise at this stage is threatened by the seeming differences within the party. I want to appeal to us to give peace a chance.
“Success in next year’s general elections is directly proportional to how well you can stomach those things you want to put forward. If you are mature enough to tolerate one another, accommodate each other and be ready to work together then you have a bigger picture that will benefit all of us.
“But if you insist on having your way on all issues, the acrimony it will bring up will be such that we on our own might scuttle and frustrate our chances of victory. You may not know, some of you have benefited from some government here but there cannot be any gain in a political process without victory. Victory is the crowning glory of all political processes, not defeat, not failure.
“Even if you are not directly benefiting, the fact that your party is in power gives so much air of satisfaction that the way you walk in your neighborhood will be different. I pray that all of us benefit from the government that APC will form in Delta from May 29, 2019,” the former governor said.
He said the outcome of various engagements between Delta APC members and Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, showed that the crisis was on the brink of being resolved, adding that his committee would avoid the temptation of delving into new issues but would adopt the position of Prof. Osibanjo’s engagement with various groups and tendencies of APC in Delta State.
At the meeting, representatives of the various tendencies made written submissions to the national reconciliation committee, with high propensity for compromise in order for peace to reign.
However, one of the aggrieved governorship aspirants, Prof. Pat Utomi, whose position was delivered by a member of his campaign council, insisted on seeking legal redress for what he described as injustice meted on him.
Other members of the committee including Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, Governor Sani Bello of Niger State, Senator Gbemi Saraki, Dr. Emeka Wogu and Attahiru Maccido were also present at the meeting.