By Dakuku Peterside
Sequel to recent developments in the Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), a stalwart of the party, Dakuku Peterside, has opened up on the events that led to some prominent members to resign their membership of the party.
The former Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the governorship candidate of the Party in the 2015 elections in Rivers State spoke at the State APC Stakeholders meeting in Port Harcourt .
“I am a proud member of the All Progressives Congress (APC). I believe in the philosophy and ideals of the party. But I am concerned, like other party stakeholders in Rivers State, about recent developments in the Rivers State Chapter of APC.
“I want to thank the people who left the party for the services rendered to the Party in the past and the friendship shared. I regret the fact that we shall all miss them and the comradeship we all enjoyed. This is not unusual at the end of any political transition, as people are free to exercise their democratic rights in a multi-party democracy. Change is the only permanent feature in life. Our doors remain open to them should they decide to return,” he said.
He however advised fellow party members to always respect people’s choices, pointing out that therein lies our humanity.
For him, lack of respect for individual choices has always been at the heart of all the tension and crisis in the party in the state in recent past.
“People resign or defect to other parties for different reasons. I personally respect their choices, same way I expect them to respect our own choice to remain. Remaining or leaving the party does not in any way confer moral superiority on any of us, nor does it make us more or less patriotic. Our State needs all men of goodwill who are builders and not destroyers, irrespective of party differences,” Peterside admonished.
He appealed to members to rally together to rebuild the Party in Rivers State, pointing out that it was evidently inevitable to do so, particularly njow that the party has lost some of its comrades to other endeavours.
“It is time we pull together to rebuild the party, draw new strength and march towards our desired destination. That way, some of our party members who left will see reasons to come back and be part of the redemption mission in the State.
“It is a fact that the strength and acceptability of our party cannot be measured by temporary setbacks. Our grassroots support is massive and remains unshaken. Majority of party members have confidence in the leadership and have remained steadfast knowing that the future is bright.
He acknowledged the effort of one the state leaders, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, in taking steps to steer the party in a more proactive direction, adding that the least expectation was for other leaders to rally round him.
He restated his personal commitment to the rebuilding process in the state, noting that although that would entail some sacrifice and inconvenience, surgery for one’s own good always comes with a certain degree of pains.
“Rebuilding the party and putting her back on winning ways the members that have resigned means we must do some things differently and in a more definite manner. It will require humility to listen to each other and understand the perspectives of others on issues. However, we can never remove our eyes from the ball. It will mean adopting new systems, and in some cases, a different approach in the party, such that they can withstand storms and hiccups,” he said.
Charging members of the Party on the way forward, the former House of Representatives member called for concerted efforts by all and sundry to achieve success come 2023 elections.
“In the days ahead, together with our candidates, I will join all well meaning leaders of the party to take critical, strategic, unifying and inspiring actions to lift and galvanize the spirit and morale of the people. We shall go from LGA to LGA and ward-to-ward listening to people, sharing their aspirations and working together to achieve the party’s common vision. These engagements will be robust and it will be all about our party and our State.
“I am aware that our Governorship candidate is taking urgent steps to propel the party to new enviable heights. I will encourage him and stand with him in this mission.
“I plan to work with other leaders and stakeholders of the party in Rivers State to start a massive grassroots mobilization programme for him.
“I salute other leaders of the party, especially state officers of the party, LGA Leaders, LGA and ward party officers for their sacrifices. I know that, by the grace of God, your labour shall not be in vain.
“Finally, let me reaffirm my total commitment to the party and its leadership, and assure our candidates victory. In all, my age long philosophy remains that we are ‘greater together’,” he said.