By Ikhili Ebalu, Benin City
“A fool learns from his experience, a wise man learns from the experience of others” – Otto Von Bismarck.
This quote from German statesman and diplomat, Otto Von Bismarck aptly captures the essence of true reconciliation between the warring factions in the Edo State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) against the backdrop of the party‘s victory in the recent Osun State Governorship Election, a State it hitherto has been in opposition.
Members of Edo State PDP must demonstrate to the world they’re wise by learning to embrace reconciliation which is one of the major factors that gave the Osun State PDP victory in the 16th July Governorship Election.
Genuine reconciliation in the state PDP will no doubt engender party cohesion ahead the 2023 general elections which will translate to victory for the party at both the Presidential, National Assembly and State House of Assembly elections.
There were lots of political differences among some PDP big wigs in Osun State before the commencement of the governorship campaigns. If these rifts were allowed to fester and linger into the election, it would have been fatal for the party.
Former Osun State Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former Minister of State for Defence and former Deputy Governor of the State, Erelu Olusola Obada, Senator Olu Alabi, Chief Shuaib Oyedokun and Dotun Babayemi were all reconciled with the governorship candidate, Adeleke.
This reconciliation boosted the moral of PDP members in the state and propelled them to redouble their efforts to ensure victory for the party as noted by a former PDP Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Diran Odeyemi while speaking with journalists after the declaration of PDP‘s Adeleke as the winner of the election. According to Odeyemi, “another thing that aided Adeleke’s victory is the commitment of the PDP members”.
The first factor was the lingering crisis in the party which remained unresolved and dove tailed into the election. According to Olusola Adegbite, an APC aspirant of the Osun State House of Assembly who lost the ticket, while speaking with journalists said, “the party leadership allowed many crisis to fester, hence many embittered members did not show commitment to the governorship project”.
This observation by APC members why they lost the Osun State governorship election has made reconciliation in the Edo State PDP not only imperative, but mandatory if they want to win future elections as they would have shown they’re wise by learning from the sad experience of Osun APC.
The second major factor that led to the fall of APC in Osun State is the failure of the party led state government to pay thirty months arrears of pension, salaries and other personal emoluments of civil servants in the state.
The Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is very lucky in this area as the Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki led PDP administration in the state has never defaulted in the payment of pensions to pensioners and the payment of salaries to civil servants. In fact, by the 25th day of the month, pensions and salaries are paid.
The Edo State PDP must as a matter of urgency embrace reconciliation as Governor Godwin Obaseki has already resolved other factors that are capable of making Edo people lose confidence in the PDP in favour of the party by ensuring prompt payment of salaries and pension and implementation of high ticket capital projects which are impacting the lives of the people positively, like the Ossiomo Electricity Company, the Ologbo Refinery and the Egbokor Refinery in Orhionmwon local government area which is nearing completion.
In a related development, Governor Godwin Obaseki was the one who set up the “Osun State Governorship Election Situation Room” where results from all the polling units were collated online in real time. This enabled the PDP to claim victory early enough and alerted the whole world of plans by the APC to rig the election as they did in 2018, thus forestalling their manipulative plot which ultimately gave victory to the party.
The PDP as a party must rise up to the occasion and demonstrate that it has what it takes to fit into the bill. The party leaders and members must demonstrate that they have what it takes to rekindle the people’s hope of yesteryears which the APC government ended in mazes.
To do this, the leaders and members of the Edo State PDP must seek genuine reconciliation like their counterparts in Osun State did; they must shield their ego and individualistic tendencies to balm the wounds inflicted on the people by insecurity, economic deprivation, mismanagement of the nation’s resources as a result of the cluelessness of the ruling APC government.