Iyorchia Ayu, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Thursday, urged leaders of the party in Edo State to resolve their differences so as to avoid a repeat of the 2008 situation when they lost the state to the nation’s main opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC).
This is just as the chairman promised to set up a reconciliation team to reunite the party members who have some disputes with the Obaseki-led government over purported integration of new party members that defected alongside the governor in the run-up to the last governorship election in the state.
Ayu, who was on a one-day official visit to the state, said his leadership would focus on dialogue and not war, stressing that unity is key to claiming Nigeria’s top job in 2023.
Addressing a mega rally in Benin City, he urged the leaders and party faithful not to encourage the fight but to help the governor resolve the problem.
“We will engineer the process and it will be concluded by the leaders. When the leaders are divided, the followers are always divided. In every state, we have tried to bring leaders who disagree to talk and we are succeeding.
“We cannot talk about going to the villa or winning the presidential election if our state chapters are not united. Every state chapter that has a problem, we are going to move into it, we will resolve the problem and make sure the leaders are united.
“Leaders must show leadership. I’ll make sure the leaders of Edo State talk to each other, go down the line and unite the people because Edo State will produce the highest number of votes in the presidential election,” Ayu said.
Going down the memory lane, the former Senate president said “Divided we fall, united we stand. For many years, it was difficult for us to bring democracy to Nigeria because we, politicians, are divided.
“Do you know why we lost Edo State, it was because of infighting. There were two camps namely Tony Anenih and that of Igbinedion. The same history is repeating itself and with that division back then, we lost Edo state but we know Edo State is PDP.
“Let nobody deceive you that this governor will leave PDP. All those who left the party are coming back to PDP and more will come back at the end of this month. It is going to be an earthquake; Nigerians will see how I will engineer the return of our people who missed roads and went to the wrong party.
“I led this party in 1999 to conquer the villa. So, in 2023, we shall be back in power in the presidential villa because we have started doing it. We are on a winning streak and God is behind us,” he added.
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, in his remarks, said with the present PDP National leadership, the party can rescue Nigeria from the challenges confronting Africa’s largest economy.
Obaseki, while lamenting the prevailing situations of the country, however, said the “only thing stopping us from getting to Aso rock is the small quarrels we are having and there is no need for it. So, once we can solve the problem in Edo and other states, then we will be in aso rock.
“I want to thank you for coming with members of the National Board of Trustees (BOT) of the party. PDP is the party of Edo; PDP is in the DNA of Edo, and we do not want that to change. The deputy governor said something and I want to restate it: wherever Edo goes, Nigeria will go.
“Our chairman has what it takes to produce the next president because Nigerians are suffering too much. How can diesel be sold for over N700; you have all it takes to help us. Only PDP can rescue Nigeria from these sufferings,” Obaseki said.
Also speaking, Philip Shaibu, Edo State deputy governor, appealed to the national leadership of the party to solve the problem within the state chapter of the party, stressing that wherever Edo goes that is where Nigeria will go.
“Edo moving forward means Nigeria will move forward. Sir, people are saying that the governor will not leave the PDP, but he will only remain if his soldiers remain in the party.
“We want you to resolve this problem in our party. We have what it takes to take over the national position in the next election. Wherever Edo goes, is where Nigeria will go. If you solve the problem in Edo, you have solved the problem in Nigeria,” Shaibu said.
Dignitaries at the event include former governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Dankwambo; Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees (BOT), Walid Jubril; Matthew Urhoghide; Clifford Odia; Tom Ikimi and PDP National Women Leader, Josephine Anenih.
Among others are members of the national assembly and the Edo State House assembly.