By Soni Daniel & Emma Ujah

ABUJA — Peoples Democratic Party National Reconciliation Committee will not intervene in the political crisis currently rocking Rivers State, Chairman of the committee and Bayelsa State Governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson, has said.

Dickson told journalists in Abuja, yesterday, that his mandate did not extend to the Rivers crisis, just as the various legal issues on the crisis pending in courts prevent him and his committee from taking any action on the matter.

Beyond that, the governor explained that reconciling aggrieved members from states controlled by PDP was not a priority to the party but clearing the mess in non-PDP states to pave way for the party to win opposition strongholds in the next election.

Dickson said: “I don’t want to talk about the political crisis in Rivers. It is not my committee’s duty or intention to go into the Rivers crisis because of the many legal issues involved and National Assembly’s interventions.”

According to him, the committee was established by the PDP leadership with a mandate to reconcile aggrieved members of the party in all the states, where the party has lost governorship positions, with a view to re-positioning PDP for a better outing in future elections.

Speaking on the efforts so far made by his committee to reconcile aggrieved PDP members, especially in the 13 states controlled by other political parties, Dickson expressed confidence that all issues that caused disaffection within the party would be amicably resolved.

He said: “Our committee has made tremendous progress based on the mandate given to us. That was why last week we witnessed the decision by three aggrieved members, who had already obtained an injunction to stop our mini-convention, agreeing to withdraw the case for out-of-court settlement.”

Positioning for Anambra guber

Governor Dickson said that in a bid to ensure the victory of PDP in the forthcoming Anambra governorship election, the committee had scheduled to meet with all the governorship aspirants on the party’s platform from the state and Ekiti State today in Abuja.

The committee will first meet with the Anambra stakeholders before attending to their counterparts from Ekiti State.

On the committee’s modus oprandi, Dickson said his team would not concern itself with individual contestants in the various states but on how to keep the “bigger picture” in view and ensure that all members worked as a team in the interest of PDP.

He said that a cohesive PDP had the potentials to defeat other parties across the nation.

According to him, only the party has what it takes to keep Nigeria united and progressive, as its ideology has neither ethnic nor religious coloration.

He said: “We won’t bother about contestants. I believe in the capacity of PDP to win more states. As democrats let the best party win based on it unique programmes.

“PDP has greatest potentials to unite Nigerians and not built on fault lines of Nigeria. These are unique features of PDP. Other parties have faults lines that are inimical to Nigeria.

“There is no limit to go in reconciling aggrieved members and factions. I’m not aware of any PDP governor who is not on the same page with the party. If any we would succeed in reconciling them.

“The President has engaged the five governors and I’m going to work with them. At all times we will be united by a common interest.”

‘Revolution in Bayelsa’

On developments in Bayelsa State, the governor explained that what was going on could only be described as a revolution and that he was working hard to create in Bayelsa a state with sufficiently skilled populace that would actively participate in the oil and gas industry and other sectors of the nation’s economy.

He said: “We’ve done a lot and I’m addressing the real challenges of our people and won’t waste time on propaganda. We are transforming it to be a springboard for development for a modern society to emerge.

“We are building the first world-class drug storage facility in Bayelsa. I don’t want Bayelsa to be breeding grounds for militants and criminals. What we are doing shows good leadership.”

He also explained his efforts towards enthroning an efficient pension system with a view to adequately catering for retirees and senior citizens of the state.

The governor said: “Pension arrears were not paid for five years by my predecessor. It is criminal to owe old people amounting to over N4 billion.

“I’ve been saving N4 billion monthly to service loans in addition to saving N250 million to clear pension arrears. I’ve so far paid over N1 billion pension arrears.

“I’m setting up an inquiry to determine what went wrong, who kept the money and why. I want to sanitise the pension system in Bayelsa.”

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