A former Minister of Works, Dr Mike Onolememen, has called for peace among members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State.
The Adolor of Uromi and respected chieftain of the PDP reminded members of the party that being together is always better than division.
Recall that the Edo State chapter of the PDP has been enmeshed in a cold war following the commencement of the second tenure of Governor Godwin Obaseki, with efforts being made to integrate new members into the party.
With Obaseki’s entrance into the PDP, his followers from his erstwhile political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) also came with him and integration and alliance were necessary to solidify the PDP.
However, the Edo PDP appears fragmented with two factions – the members of the party pre-Obaseki and the new bloc after the coming of the governor into the fold.
The effort to harmonise this division led to the delay in the constitution of a cabinet by Obaseki for almost a year after taking his second-term oath of office.
Reacting to the crisis in Edo PDP, Onolememen in a statement, on Wednesday, said only peace can sustain the fortune of the party.
He said, “Whatever the philosophy behind the current divide, let me say that it is only peaceful coexistence and collaboration that can ensure we maintain our fortunes
“These are not the best of times for PDP in our dear EDO State. It is unfortunate that our great party is enmeshed in complications and disagreements occasioned by the issues of integration and harmonization of our new members into the old fold; it needs not to be so!
“Before now, I had thought it was going to be a seamless endeavour having been one of the first major proponents of this act that will ensure the unification of all into one indivisible fold. However, we must recognise the fact that there are issues that have stalled the process before now, and with this recognition, we can now engineer an all-encompassing mutual agreement to address the issues and find some resolutions.
“However, we must bear in mind that the issue of harmonisation and integration, whatever our persuasion would allow us call it, is a political endeavour that must be done. It is unfortunate that most of us don’t understand the need for it.”
According to Onolememen, who was also a former Minister of State for Defence, “if we must grow as a party. Nowhere in the world do a part of a collection grows without carrying along with other parts of the same collection. In PDP today in Edo State, thank God for the victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki at the 2020 gubernatorial election; the synergy that was forged among the major PDP groups was amazing. What has happened to the guiding philosophy of the collaboration that was forged among the various groups?
“Whatever the philosophy behind the current divide, let me say that it is only peaceful coexistence and collaboration that can ensure we maintain our fortunes as a political party having been in the opposition for over 11 years. Consequently, I employ all members of our great party to avoid any kind of rhetoric that will further disintegrate us. Peaceful and balanced coexistence is what each and everyone must seek, and we must seek it sincerely.
“We must allow for peace to reign in Edo State PDP and we must ensure we maintain the winning mentality that has brought us this far. And to do this, we must allow for harmonization of the different groups in the party today, and other genuine efforts to see that the party truly becomes a unit and not groups with different concerns and different interests. We do not need interventionists from the outside; we have enough stakeholders and leaders across the 18 LGAs that can seat together and draw an agreement plan to address the issues, differences and then draw a workable proposal and format that will be adopted statewide. This can be achieved through honest multi-stage dialogues.”
Onolememen stated that members of the PDP must ensure collaboration to ensure that the party remain victorious always.
“It doesn’t matter who wins, what we need is that PDP wins through the collaboration of all interests. Through arbitration, we can easily solve the daunting task so that we can all go back to our LGAs, wards, and Units to continue to build the party for upcoming elections and for the development of the state through the governor who has made enough reforms to ensure that there is growth and development in the state.
“As we go into the phase of the much-desired harmonization and integration, stakeholders must listen attentively to each other from the unwarranted divide to determine the issues. There must be empathy and considerations, there must be genuine dialogue and negotiations, there must be mutual respect and sincerity, there must be trust and inclusiveness, there must be collaborations and accommodation, and there must be compromises and horse-trading.
“If we do all these, we can achieve peaceful coexistence and harmony under the PDP umbrella which is big enough to accommodate all stakeholders.
“Mechanisms can also be put in place to monitor the impact of all the agreements that would be reached through these harmonizations and integration so that we can continue to address issues arising therefrom as they come. Remember that we are stronger together,” he added.