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Come Back Home To PDP, Walson—Jack Appeals To APC Members

By Anderson Hart
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Hon. Nimi Walson-Jack, the frontline gubernatorial aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State has appealed to members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State, who defected from the PDP, to return to the Party. The call comes on the heels of the inability of Rivers
delegates to the APC Convention to clinch any significant national office.

In a Press Statement made available to the media, the gubernatorial aspirant, a Special Assistant in the Ada George administration, stated that following the outcome of the just concluded APC Convention in Abuja, in which the interests of Rivers State, as expected, was not adequately protected, he was appealing to members of the Party who left the PDP, for some reasons, to return home.

He stressed that from history, the pedigree of Rivers State had placed it in mainstream politics and that this was not the time to experiment on opposition politics, especially since, there were no assurances that the APC would produce either the governor of the State or the President of the country in 2015.

According to Walson-Jack, a member of the 1998/99 Constituent Assembly, *'This appeal has become imperative given the need to rally round President Jonathan and the PDP, under which he has not only consistently showed leadership as expected in a democracy, but is consciously revamping the Nigerian economy with several indisputable gains already secured.*

The former Scribe of the Nigerian Bar Association and one-time Special Assistant to Minister for Sports* opined that, 'the inability of the hierarchy of the APC in Rivers State to clinch any top position in the recently concluded National Convention, is evidence that the Party does not have the interest of Rivers State or the oil producing States of the South-South in mind*.' According to him*, 'It is on record that the Party has not shown any plan or programme for dealing with the fundamental issues affecting the lives of the people of Rivers State or the Niger Delta in the Nigerian federation.

There are therefore enough signals that the people of Rivers State have no future in the APC Hon. Nimi Walson-Jack argued that, 'the position of National Deputy Secretary which the State clinched at the just concluded APC National Convention does equate that of National Deputy Chairman which it currently holds in the PDP', *adding that* 'by zoning the position of Chairman of the APC to the South-South geopolitical zone, the Party has by implication excluded the zone from producing either the Presidential or Vice Presidential Candidates of the Party. This cannot serve as the impetus to forgo the zoning of the Presidency to the South-South that it already possesses in the PDP. The odds, therefore, are in our favour to remain in the PDP.'

The gubernatorial aspirant, a former Legal Adviser of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC), who is currently the leader of Rivers Converge, a rainbow coalition of people and political interest groups in Rivers State, reminded the defectors that the PDP was a house they built together, and also affirmed that the Peoples Democratic Party remained the only truly national political party in which all Nigerians can lay claim to, as stakeholders.

While noting that disagreements were not strange in politics, he said they didn't need to '*degenerate to perpetual bad-blood within a political family*.* Maturity and good reason demand that men of conscience must put the best interest of their people ahead of theirs and close ranks to forge a united front for development and peace within our

As a member of the PDP and a gubernatorial aspirant, I offer my hand of friendship to you all, who wish to return to our Party, the PDP, and unite with many others currently active in the business of reforming our politics and preparing for better days ahead. In the interest of our people, we cannot afford to live outside mainstream national politics. The PDP is a house we all built together, of which most of you are not new comers.

You have nothing to lose by returning to the PDP in the interest of your communities and Rivers State in general. No sacrifice is too much to offer in the best interest of the State',* he appealed.

Quoting John Ruskin who said, *'The first test of a truly great man is his humility' *and William Safire: Nobody stands taller than those willing to stand corrected'*, Walson-Jack called on the APC defectors to return to the PDP in order to unite for the common good of Rivers State, which according to him, was still in the struggle of securing its fair share from its natural resources, and build bridges with other Nigerians.

*Oraye St. Franklyn*
Media Director, Rivers Converge