There is disquiet in the South-West Zone of the Peoples Democratic Party following the decision of a former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, to lead a delegation of state party chairmen from the zone to hold secret talks with the PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus.
The PUNCH correspondent gathered in Abuja last Friday that the meeting, held in the Abuja residence of Secondus on Monday, raised a lot of concerns among party members in the zone.
State party chairmen who were at the meeting included those of Lagos, Ogun, Osun and Ekiti.
Although the meeting was held behind closed doors, it was gathered that ongoing dispute over the control of the party structure by contending forces in the zone, especially in Ekiti State, formed the main crux of the meeting.
A top-ranking party member of the party privy to the meeting confided in Sunday PUNCH that the audience granted Fayose by Secondus was sending the wrong signals because “it is a brazen attempt by the former Ekiti State governor to undermine Seyi Makinde (Oyo State Governor), who is the authentic leader of our party in the zone.”
The party leader said, “What our national chairman is unwittingly doing is aligning with Fayose to undermine our party. Why did I say so? The party gave the governor an assignment to reconcile members in the zone, so Fayose had no business leading state chairmen to a meeting with our national chairman behind his (Makinde’s) back.
“As a countermeasure, the South-West caucus of the PDP in the National Assembly where Fayose’s arch political rival, Senator Biodun Olujimi, is a prominent member, met and declared support for Makinde.”
Resolutions of an earlier meeting held by the caucus on August 26 was published as an advertorial in The PUNCH on Tuesday.
The resolution read in part, “At a meeting of the National Assembly caucus of our great party, the PDP, held in Abuja on 26th of August, 2020, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted; that the leader of the party in the Zone is His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, that all PDP-related issues in the zone must be channelled through him as our leader in the South-West zone, all elected members from the zone are solidly behind him, the National Working Committee should please take note and act accordingly, that Senator Ayo Akinyelure and Hon Muriana Ajibola was duly elected as chairman and secretary of the caucus.”
In a telephone interview with one of our correspondents, the chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, Senator Walid Jibrin, who spoke generally on peace efforts being made by the party across the states, said, “We at the BoT, as the conscience of the party, will soon meet to address the issues.
“We have recorded successes In Nasarawa State, and the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, is also doing wonderfully well in reconciling our members across the North-Central.”
Meanwhile, a PDP chieftain, Opeyemi Falegan, called for “genuine reconciliation” of the warring factions of the party and among all aggrieved party members in the state.
Falegan, who called on members of Fayose and Olujimi factions to sheathe their swords and embrace the reconciliatory process, said the party should rise up stronger from the contentious issues for it to be able to reclaim the state from the All Progressives Congress, which he said had not met the people’s yearnings.
The United Kingdom-based PDP chieftain in a statement on Saturday titled, ‘Ekiti PDP crisis: Falegan harps on genuine reconciliation,’ said this was not time to apportion blames but to toe the path that would bring about resolution of the issues that had divided members.
“No meaningful development can take place when the party is in crisis, hence the need for an urgent reconciliation now in order to put the party on the right track politically. Therefore, what we need now is unity and the cooperation of all,” he said.
The leadership crisis between Fayose and Olujimi, which culminated in parallel ward, council and state congresses had factionalised the party in the state.
– The PUNCH