Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, has admitted that the party’s failure to manage its crisis and contestations cost it Rivers State in the 2019 general election.
Inaugurating a five-man caretaker committee at the party’s headquarters in Abuja, Oshiomhole, who did not call names, blamed the APC gladiators in Rivers for not inculcating a sense of fair play in managing the contestations.
He equally appealed to the party’s members and members of the committee not to allow internal wranglings do more damage to the party in the state.
He further noted that since the National Working Committee (NWC) could not restructure Rivers APC from outside, the caretaker committee must build bridges across all divides in the party.
The former Edo State governor argued that though the party may not have won every elective position during the 2019 elections, the party would not have come out empty-handed.
“As we are all aware, for almost a year, the Supreme Court resolved the issue of the leadership of the APC in Rivers State and nullified the ward, local government and state congresses and this has left us with a complete void in the state in the sense that we do not have formal party structures, even though we know that we have overwhelming APC support base in Rivers State. But that is not a substitute to having a formal structure.
“So, consequent to the Supreme Court ruling, the NWC decided that this is indeed the time to restart the process of rebuilding the party in River State. But we cannot rebuild the party from outside, we need a state-based organ to assist those coming to carry out the congresses.
“Accordingly, the NWC decided to approve a caretaker committee that would be on ground to assist those who are coming to ensure that we have a hitch-free conduct of all the congresses.
“You have a very simple task, but also a very complicated one. You are assuming office as caretaker committee members at a time when we have huge internal fighting within the APC. Your first task must include trying to build bridges across the divides within the APC family in Rivers State.
“We will also look at the possibility of sending some high-level mediation to ensure that all the forces within the party in the state see the need to work together so that, by the time we conduct the congresses, it would be seen as a peaceful, transparent family affair, in line with the tradition of the APC.
“As a progressive party, we cannot afford to build a house that is not based on popular participation, and politics is about people. The more you are on ground, the more transparent you handle your affairs, the more likely you are going to have people claiming ownership of the process by members and leaders of the party.
“Once you open your mind and commit yourself to ensuring that we have a process that would produce an outcome that people will be happy with, you would have done your job. It just required you manage your own biases.
“I don’t think that there is a better teacher than yourself about a damage a party can suffer if (the members choose) to fight to finish and refuse to the part of reconciliation, mediation and the spirit of give and take. You have paid a huge price.”