leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State, Chief Perekeme Kpodo, has said the APC will be doomed in the forthcoming general elections if the ongoing reconciliation by its national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, fails.
Kpodo, a former Interim Chairman of the party, appealed to all APC members and leaders to support the former Governor of Lagos State in his moves to reconcile the aggrieved members of the party ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Speaking on Friday in Yenagoa, Kpodo said the choice of Tinubu by President Muhammadu Buhari to undertake the reconciliation task was right, unmistakable, in order and well-thought out.
He said though he was not holding brief for Tinubu, given his socio-economic and political antecedents, he is a well-respected leader of the party with proven records of an excellent leader, a great mobiliser, an astute administrator, a great performer and a bridge builder.
Kpodo said: “I am optimistic that Tinubu’s reconciliation will succeed. But if his reconciliation fails, the APC will fail. Without reconciliation, APC will not go anywhere.
“So, a respectable man as Tinubu should be commended for taking up the appointment of bringing the party together again. We should also thank Mr. President for picking him (Tinubu) for the reconciliation job. That is a wise decision on the part of the President.”
He criticized the party national Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, for allegedly jumping the gun by attempting his own form of reconciliation at a time the President selected Tinubu for the job.
He said: “The national chairman is trying to jump the gun. He has been there for some time now, no convention, no reconcilation, nothing whatsover, but now that somebody has been appointed for reconciation, he now starts doing the same thing. That is unthinkable of him and such action will not lead the party anywhere.
“As for the coming elections, APC has bright chances so long it is able to put its house in order and genuinely reconcile everybody that is aggrieved. Once that is done, I believe all members of the party will go back to the trenches, mobilizing and sensitizing people in order to win the general elections.
“I want to sound a note of caution here. The President who appointed Tinubu for the reconciliation job knew what he was doing. If he does not have regard and respect for Tinubu, he would not have appointed him. So, people talking rubbish should stop henceforth for the interest of the party.
“Look at Tinubu’s record; even in this APC we are, we know what he has achieved so far. In establishing this APC, he played crucial role for its survival. How many of them (those castigating the person of Tinubu) can match his performance and records in all ramifications?
“What I am saying really is that we should give Tinubu the full support he needs, because we really want to win the forthcoming elections. We want Buhari to win. We have to do everything possible to make sure we win the elections.
“But this cannot be done if our house is not in order. We need to reconcile all the aggrieved persons in the party, mobilize the people and give everybody a sense of belonging in the party.
“It must also not be lost on us; the problems affecting the APC are greed, in-fighting and injustice. Because of those problems, we narrowly won the last general elections. So, we have to try as much as possible to make sure we ventilate the grievances of aggrieved members through Tinub’s reconciliation and ensure that President Buhari is returned in 2019.”
Kpodo also said that the move to suspend of some members opposed to the tenure elongation of the national chairman was wrong and unthinkable.
He said it was foolhardy to be disorganizing the party at a time of reconciliation and wondered whether it was wrong for people to kick against what they perceived as wrong.
He said: “We are trying to reconcile the party and they are scattering it again. Does it mean there should not be any criticism in the party? We must criticize to rearrange so that everybody will now know where they belong. The meeting of South-South was held in Ebonyi, South-East, does it mean there is no place in the South-South to hold such a meeting?
“The issue now is that the President appointed Senator Bola Tinubu to head a reconciliation committee, but what we are seeing now is that the national chairman is now moving about for reconciliation. The question now is why did he embark on this now? If he knew all this while he could reconcile the party, why did he not do it?
“Look at the South-South states; we do not have a single state. Those who are vibrant and capable of winning the states are sidelined. We made it open during the last elections that we could not win any election without reconciling the party.
“But some persons thwarted our efforts and what happened next, the PDP took over the states in the South-South. So, the issue is that reconciliation should take place genuinely. If people went to court, why suspending them? That is very wrong. It is meant to cause more harm than good for the party.”