Ahead of the 2023 general elections, leaders of the All Progressives Congress APC in the South South have agreed to work in harmony to deliver their area to the party.
At a troubleshooting meeting Tuesday night in Abuja, the leaders also received two members of the House of Representatives from Rivers State who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party PDP to the APC.
The two members are Hon. Chisom Dike representing Eleme/Tai/Oyigbo federal constituency and Hon. Ephraim Nwuzi representing Etched/Omuma federal constituency.
The meeting which was convened by the Caretaker Secretary of the APC, Sen. John Akpanudoedehe and a former deputy governor of Edo State, Chief Lucky Imasuen had in attendance a former national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Transportation minister, Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Godswill Akpabio, Health minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, Sen. Francis Alimikhena, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and Chief Great Ogboru among a host of other chieftains.
In his welcome address, Chief Imasuen said the meeting was mainly for former and current political leaders from the zone, adding that more meetings would be held with other stakeholders. Caretaker Secretary of the party, Sen. Akpanudoedehe tasked the leaders on unity.
He said; “The caretaker committee that you put in place decided that as part of our legacy, we organised you, people, because we know that you are fighting yourselves, we know that all the leaders are fighting themselves. Like this meeting, some people think that there is a hidden agenda and that is why they are not here.
“As a sociologist, we are Republicans by nature. When you stand up and say I am a leader, you must look back and check if people are following you. It is not easy to control wealthy people who have attained various heights in life. “The reason why we are here is that APC is getting very strong.
More people are moving into the party. They are taking our place. What do we do? We are fighting? This meeting is about Akpabio, Amaechi, Sylva, Otega, Omo-Agege and others. It is about them. It is about them working together for APC.
We must work together because 2023 is coming. The East is looking for the presidency. The West is looking for the presidency. The South-South must organise to look for the presidency. All of you are qualified”. He added that APC is not a public taxi that would only be used to win elections. The meeting also set up a 7-member Peace Panel headed by Chief Odigie-Oyegun, with Chief Imasuen as Secretary.
Other members of the Reconciliation Committee are; Chief Sunny Jackson, Dr. Maryam Ali, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja, Senator Clever Ikisikpo and Dr. Emmanuel Nsan. In his remarks, Chief Odigie-Oyegun hauled President Muhammadu Buhari for his interest in the zone, saying the leaders have agreed to work together in support of the APC.
He said his committee which is saddled with restoring peace in all states of the zone is made of members who have no electoral ambitions and who are ready to speak the truth on every issue.
The communique which was issued at the end of the conference stated that; “party leaders must use the membership revalidation and update exercise as a tool for ramping up our support base and for the unification of the party in the region”.
The meeting also reiterated the resolution of the National Executive Committee NEC of the party on withdrawal of all pending litigations.