National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Comrade Adams Oshiomhole on Monday said that the inability of the party to solve its internal contestations and the refusal of the various interest groups to back down on their demands made it lose the governorship elections in Rivers state.
Speaking while inaugurating a caretaker committee for the Rivers state chapter of the party, Oshiomhole lamented that the various groups in the state held on to their demands even when it was clear to them that it was costing the party early in the state.
He asked members of the caretaker committee to work to earn the confidence of all interest groups in the interest of the party.
Factions loyal to Minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and Senator Magnus Abe engaged in a fight to finish in the run down to the 2019 election, leading to the courts voiding the chances of the party to take part in the 2019 general elections.
Oshiomhole said: “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, as a consequent to the Supreme Court ruling, the National Working Committee 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 will be on ground to assist those who are coming to ensure that we have a hitch free conduct of al the congresses.
“You have a very simple task, but also 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 will 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 bout 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 requires you managing your own biases.
“I don’t think that there is a better teacher than yourself about a damage a party can suffer if he chooses to fight to finish and refused to the part of reconciliation, mediation and the spirit of give and take. You have paid a huge price.
“Only God knows what the outcome of the last election would have been in Rivers if we validly contested those elections. But what is clear is that there is no way we would have recorded zero.
“As things stands today, we don’t have an elected person in Rivers and this cannot be the outcome of the will of the Rivers people who I know wanted a change and are familiar with some of the key drivers in this process.
“For reasons which I don’t want to repeat, we were not able to manage our internal contestations, which were not unusual in a democracy.
“In a genuine democracy, there must be more than one opinion eve when the destination is not in dispute.
“The important is that at the end of the day, the majority would have their say and we proceed to working and ensuring that we deliver on the commitment we made to our people.
“So, I hope that the huge setback that we have suffered in Rivers state may well be the ingredient we need not to tow the part that will lead us to another perpetual house that will be divided against itself.”