By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Governor of Gombe State, Muhammed Inuwa Yahaya, yesterday said that contrary to expectations, the story of Ondo State governorship election will be different from that of Edo, in which his party was defeated by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
This is even as he said that the immediate Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, will not be a threat to the chances of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in winning the forthcoming bye-election for the Western and Central senatorial districts.
Addressing journalists at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja, Governor Yahaya said the last governorship election in Bayelsa in which the APC emerged victorious, is a clear indication that the oil rich State is a stronghold of APC.
He said if not for technical hitches, the APC would have been governing the state, adding that if Dickson could not be a threat to APC even as a sitting Governor, there is little or no influence for him during the election, even as he admitted that it is a huge task which must be delivered.
“I agree it is a very big task, but for me as a Governor and as a loyal party member, I have the belief that nothing is impossible as far as election is concerned. As long as we are able to work together as a family and work towards the success of the party.
“I think it is a possibility and I have the conviction that we shall deliver APC in both the senatorial elections coming up in Bayelsa state. Dickson is no threat, if not for some technical issues, APC would have been in government in Bayelsa state, not even when he was sitting as the Governor.
“At this moment that we have galvanised our party, that we have reunited, that we have reconciled, we are just going to polish all the arrangements that our people have on ground down the ladder, so that we work together assiduously, assured of the success of the party. I guarantee you, we are going to bring those two senatorial seats.
Speaking on the Edo Governorship election and how its result might play over Ondo polls, the Governor, which is the chairman of the Bayelsa State APC crisis reconciliation Committee, and the Committee for the Bayelsa West and Central Senatorial bye-election, said the party have made adjustments.
“I don’t believe so. You can tell me that there was division within our party members, by not governors; governors could be anywhere. But if we had gone astray to the extent that we allowed a sitting governor to have slipped off, I think somewhere, someplace we faulted and we have made amendments and we shall overcome.
“Those differences that we had before are not there, that is why this committee that is headed by Mai Mala Buni is making efforts to reconcile party members. And I know with what we did and what we are doing, we will overcome and we will see to the success of APC in the coming election.
“As a result of the reconciliation, all those that contested the primary with the incumbent Governor, Akeredolu reconciled and came into line and worked with him for the campaign. The party headquarters and the state party executive, contestants and all party followers have joined hands together with the government, it is naturally working to our advantage, I think the Ondo story will be different from that of Edo”, he said.
He said the reconciliation committee is going to bring together all party members to make sure the spirit of give and take prevails.
Meanwhile, speaking while inaugurating the Committee, the chairman of the APC caretaker committee, Mai Mala-Buni recalled the crisis that ravaged the party during the time of Adams Oshiomole, resulting in setting up of a caretaker committee to be led by him.
Giving his scorecard since the Extraordinary Convention Committee was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari, Buni said “Let me say with all sense of appreciation and fulfilment that the committee had in the last three months reconciled life threatening challenges for the party in 11 states across the country.
“Today, we proudly parade political heavy weights like the former Speaker of the House of Representatives Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Former PDP National chairman, Senator Barnabas Gemade, several members of the National Assembly, Chief Jimoh Ibrahim, former Head of service of the federation, Danladi Kifasi, Sen. Isa Hamma Misau, Alhaji Salisu Takai and several others while, many others have also indicated interests to join the party.
“This was possible with the support the committee is enjoying from the stakeholders as we continue to move the party away from unnecessary wrangling, squabbles and disputes.”
He spelt out the details of the Governor Yahaya led reconciliation Committee assignment, saying “your assignment falls within the mandate of providing genuine reconciliation to give every party member in Bayelsa state, a true sense of belonging.
“You should therefore be just, fair, transparent and objective in executing your assignment. We should always place party interests over and above personal interests and carry everyone on board for us to succeed.
“Similarly, your committee is mandated to mobilize, strategize and deliver Bayelsa Central and West Senatorial districts to the party. Our success in this election is very crucial and strategic because of the need to have more supporting hands in the National Assembly for improved collaboration and synergy with the President Buhari administration to successfully execute its policies and programmes to improve the lives of Nigerians.”
He said it has become imperative for them as the leading political party in Nigeria to build a virile, strong, vibrant and more united APC that would serve beyond, two, three, four or even five terms of office to ensure continuity and consolidation of the gains the party has achieved.