Seventeen governorship aspirants under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State, on Monday, converged at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja as its leadership seeks to forge a common front going into the June 2022 poll.
The meeting was at the instance of the National Working Committee (NWC) led by the National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, who threatened sanctions on any aspirant who resort to anti-party activities.
The aspirants were invited to the inaugural meeting of the Reconciliation Committee on the Ekiti State Governorship Election also attended by PDP governors and other prominent party stakeholders.
In his opening address, Ayu warned that all aspirants must support any of them the party decide field in the election.
According to him, doing otherwise will amount to anti-party that he said was the bane of the PDP in the previous elections it lost.
The party boss said: “The mood of the party is that of a united house. The mood of the party is that of a party that will fight together as one united force and hopefully, we should be able to recapture as many states as possible, as many members of the National Assembly, both the two houses as possible or state houses of assembly.
“We’re not going into any election to lose. We are going into every single election with the determination to win and I think that should be the mood of every member of the PDP family. It is not important to us in the leadership of the party whether you like a particular candidate or not.
“Once the party decides on the candidates, it is the responsibility of every member of the PDP family to fight for that candidate because you’re not just fighting for that candidate you are fighting for the PDP.
“So, you have a responsibility to support him. Anybody that does otherwise we’ll be considered as working against the PDP. So, it will be regarded as anti-party.
“The mood of the PDP today is that anybody who works against the PDP will not just walk away because we don’t want members of our party fighting against members of the party.
“We lost the election because the leaders in various states and the followership were divided, with PDP winning or losing against PDP.
“That trend has to stop. We are very certain that the reconciliation process which we are going to carry out in virtually every state will enable us to unify the party at the ward level, at the local government level and at the state levels because we believe that as a family, as a party today, that no single individual can go out there and win an election, even if you are a governor.
“The governor’s must work with their colleagues, critical stakeholders right from the ward. Every order party leader in every state must be prepared to work as a team player because party politics is like football, it is not tennis is a team game. And it’s only when you work as a team that you are assured of victory.”
Ayu explained that the Ekiti reconciliation meeting was a follow up of the successful national convention of the party.
He revealed that the party would take the reconciliation efforts to all the state chapters where there are disputes.
The former senate president stated: “This meeting is a follow up to a very successful national convention. We showed to Nigerians clearly that the PDP family is a united family and is capable of resolving whatever problems within the family.
“After the national convention, we didn’t want any break in communication with Nigerians and we have since been carrying out series of activities to build on that. One of such important activities has been the first meeting of the National Working Committee which was chaired by my humble self.
“At the end, the NWC took a crucial decision that we will start a process of sorting out whatever problems we have in the state chapters so that will have a united and formidable force to go into any election, including the forthcoming presidential election and other national elections in 2023.
“So, what we have started today, with Ekiti state, is actually a process. It is not directed specifically at only Ekiti but is directed at our party as a whole.
“We think there is a need for dialogue with critical stakeholders and the party is going to do just that so that by the time we are going into the elections, whatever election we’re going into, we want to go into such election as the united force, a force that is capable of fighting and winning elections.
“The essence of every political party is to win elections, not just to participate in elections. The party started on the note of winning virtually every election that we went into. That was why we built our strength from capturing 21 states in 1999 to about 28 states in 2007. It is often believed that if we put our house in order, we’ll still be able to go back to those winning ways.
“We have included a significant number of the BoT, the chairman of BoT graciously nominated key members of BoT to join in this process. So did the National Assembly and significantly the governor’s led by the chairman of the governor’s forum himself, is here plus other governors that have been nominated.
“I think more are still on their way to join us in this interaction which we’re going to have with colleagues, brothers or sisters from Ekiti State.”
In attendance at the meeting were the chairman of PDP Governors Forum and governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal; governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), and Sam Ortom (Benue).
Also, there were former governors of Ekiti state, Ayo Fayose; Segun Oni; Senator Biodun Olujimi, Olusola Eleka, among others.