The internal crisis ripping apart the People’s Democratic Party apart in the Southwest has taken another dimension as leaders of the party in the region have begun to trade words in public.
The crisis in the regional chapter of the party is part of the scheming of various factions to position themselves ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Knowing fully well that it is important for the party to have a united home in the southwest, the national leadership of the party gave Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, an ‘assignment’ to unite the party in the region.
‘Makinde should stay in Oyo’
Despite understanding his assignment, the former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose warned Makinde against interfering in the local politics of other south-west states, particularly Ekiti.
Fayose, who spoke when he led some national delegates of the party to Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, stated that even though Makinde is the leader of the party in the region, he has no right to tamper with the local leadership of any state.
“There has been a reasonable cold war of who and who becomes the executive of the zone. Governor Makinde has demanded that the zonal executive be sacked and a caretaker be fostered on the zone which the party did.
“But, since the caretaker committee came into being, he has not allowed them to function because he produced the chairman.
“Beyond that, the fact that there is a sitting governor does not say I should go to another man’s state. Nobody should come to my state; if you come to my state, I will face you squarely.
“I will continue to respect him because he is my brother, I love him so much and I was part of his emergence,” Fayose said.
He added that he is ready to fight anyone who plans or attempts to take over the control of the party’s leadership structure in Ekiti from him.
We reject any leadership against ‘democratic norms’ – PDP Chairmen
Similarly, on Wednesday, the chairmen of the PDP in four southwest states explained that even though “the leadership of His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde is not in question” they “reject any style of leadership that does not respect democratic norms.”
The chairmen announced this after a zonal meeting held at the Secretariat of the party in Ogun State.
“It must be noted that each state has its own leaders as politics is local and its leadership structure must be respected, but, no state is ruled or governed by another.
“It has been established and a decision is taken that the existing zoning formula in the zone for the zonal executives of the party should not be tampered with.
“Our position is that any other formulae for the zone in the South West will not be acceptable to us.
“We seize this opportunity to let the National Working Committee know that it is nothing but free, fair, transparent and no violent congress is what is acceptable to us and we are ready to comply with all legitimate processes to determine the outcome of the zonal congress,” a communique issued at the end of the meeting read in parts.
The four chairmen present were: Engr Deji Doherty, Lagos; Sikirullahi Ogundele, Ogun; Sunday Olatunde, Akanfe, Osun and Bisi Kolawole, Ekiti.
Fayose is a ‘political jobber’ – Olujimi
However, Senator Biodun Olujimi of Ekiti South senatorial district, on Wednesday evening, urged Governor Makinde to disregard the threat by Fayose, describing the latter and his collaborators as “political jobbers.”
Senator Olujimi, who spoke at a factional meeting of the PDP in Ado Ekiti, described Makinde as the “symbol of the party in the South West” adding that he should continue “to reposition, galvanise and salvage the party from the brinks of collapse.”
“Makinde is the symbol of the party in the South West. So, anything that must come from the zone must come through him. Fayose and his conspirators’ visit to Uche Secondus was nothing but recreational. I can take anybody to the national secretariat of the party and we take pictures.
“What is important is what was said. While they were there nothing could have been said. We stand by Makinde because nobody can rubbish him and wish him away. This is the best time South-West zone needs the governor most when ‘hijackers’ are trying to undermine the party’s structure through egregious conspiracy,” she added.
Makinde will remain focused – Aide
Meanwhile, the Special Adviser on Strategy and Political Matters to Governor Makinde, Hon. Babatunde Oduyoye, on Thursday, said the Governor would remain focused on his mission to ensure the party is united in the zone.
Oduyoye, who stated this in a press statement in Ibadan, explained that “that the governor has been doing his best both as the elected governor of Oyo State and as a leader of note within the PDP structure.”
“The governor will not back down from any effort that will bring about genuine reconciliation and strengthen the PDP in Ekiti State or any other state of the South-West for that matter, because he is of a strong conviction that it is by repositioning the party that all stakeholders can enjoy a win-win situation.
“We must also make something clear, the attempt to energise the opposition by insinuating that Governor Makinde has left the task of developing Oyo State for meddling in party affairs in other states leaves a bad taste in the mouth. For Governor Makinde, developing Oyo State is non-negotiable. He will continue to remain ever committed to rebuilding Oyo State as can be seen in the various efforts to fix the infrastructure deficit, revitalise the health sector and put in place solid policies for the turnaround of the education system.
“But as it is presently the case, the governor was found worthy of leading the PDP National Campaign Council for the Ondo election, having handled different responsibilities for the party in Kogi and Edo states. He is working hard and providing leadership for the council towards ensuring the victory of the party.
“All loyal party members including those who lost out at the recently concluded primaries should cooperate with the campaign council to ensure the party wins the election instead of allowing rancour and disunity in the ranks.
“We will strongly advise that stakeholders in the PDP whether in Ondo or Ekiti states should not allow themselves to be used by the opposition to distract Governor Makinde and derail the PDP,” Oduyoye wrote.
He added that it is advisable “that all stakeholders and lovers of the PDP should come to terms with the reconciliatory approach of Governor Makinde, which is aimed at bringing unity and more successes to the party that has suffered needlessly in the last few years.”
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