APC Reconciliation Committee Begins Work, Receives 150 Memoranda

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Meets Tuesday as Edo factions give conditions for peace

Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The National Reconciliation Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) set up by the party to reconcile all aggrieved members nationwide has received 150 memoranda on how to address grievances in the ruling party.

The committee, headed by former Interim National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, will also meet on Tuesday to work out modalities for the peace process with the crisis rocking the Edo State chapter of the party topping its agenda.

The two factions in the state chapter of the party have, however, given their conditions for peace.

Speaking to THISDAY yesterday, the Secretary of the Committee, Senator John Enoch, said the committee would be meeting next week to strategise on how to execute its mandate.

He stated: “The national reconciliation committee has received about 150 memoranda. The meeting of that committee is going to take place on the March 24, next week. After that meeting, I believe we are going to have a chance to roll out what and how we are going to go about the work.”

He noted that the opening of a factional secretariat of the party in Edo State has made the job of the committee more imperative.

According to him, “If there is anybody or any group of people that opened up another secretariat and all that, in the meantime, it just brings to greater focus the great need for the work of the committee; that is what I can say. It makes the work of the committee more and more imperative.”

Asked which state the committee is going to begin its reconciliatory moves with, he said: “That is what I am telling you. I said we are having a meeting on the 24th and all these issues are likely to be attended to at that meeting. We haven’t set out any procedure yet. The much we’ve done was to call for memoranda from the public.”

The lingering crisis in the Edo State chapter of the party suffered a setback on Wednesday as a faction of the party believed to be loyal to the National Chairman of the party, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, opened a new secretariat.

The secretariat, which is less than two kilometres from the old secretariat of the party, was opened with fanfare and attended by party leaders and members.

After Oshiomhole got a respite from the grand plot to oust him from office, he had promised to reconcile his leadership style and in the spirit of reconciliation and extended the olive branch to all aggrieved members.

However, when asked by THISDAY if Oshiomhole would be extending the olive branch to the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, who he had been having a running battle with, the Chief Press Secretary to Oshiomhole, Mr. Simon Ebegbulem, said: “No comment.”

Edo Factions Give Conditions for Peace

But the two factions of the party have given conditions for peace in the overall interest of the party in the state.

They said for the party to move forward, there was the need for all the warring factions to sheathe their swords.

While the faction loyal to Oshiomhole demanded the withdrawal of all cases in the court, the faction loyal to Obaseki told THISDAY that Oshiomhole should stop the recognition of the Edo Peoples Movement (EPM), a pressure group within the party fighting Obaseki’s second term bid.

The state secretary of the faction loyal to Oshiomhole, Mr. Lawrence Okah, told THISDAY that they had been preaching peace all the while because they knew the importance of a rancour-free environment.

Okah, however, said the constitution of APC was clear on the issue that involved court cases, adding that one of the ways to achieve this is for all those that instituted the court cases to withdraw them to enable a conducive atmosphere for reconciliation.

He said going to court on internal party matters without first exhausting, the internal conflict resolution of the party was what triggered off the crisis.

He gave an example of the inauguration of a minority rule in the state legislature, adding that when the party decided to intervene, one of the parties involved went to court to stop any intervention of resolution.

Publicity Secretary of the faction loyal to Obaseki, Pastor Joseph Osagiede, said peace had always been a prerequisite for the development of any society to strive.

He said for them to embrace peace, Oshiomhole should stop the recognition of EPM.

He explained that it was the recognition given to EPM that sparked off the crisis in the party, adding that this and other conditions must be spelt out for them to see before peace could return to the party.