South West leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday in Akure managed to patched their differences at a meeting to mend fences ahead of the fight for the national chairmanship of the party.
At the end of the meeting notable leaders which lasted over five hours resolved to embrace the zoning arrangement in the party ahead of the party’s national convention which gives the slot to the north.
They unanimously agreed to present candidates for the posts of the National Secretary, National Publicity Secretary and National Auditor which had already been zoned to the southwest region by the leadership of the party.
Two of the party’s governors in the south west, Ayo Fayose and Olusegun Mimiko, Senator Buruji Kasamu, Senator Bode Olajumoke, and Chief Bode George are said to be at war over the chairmanship position of the party.
But after the Akure meeting, they said they have decided to resolve their differences to protect the interest of the region within the party.
Those present at the meeting were the Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, his Ekiti state counterpart, Mr Ayo Fayose, former National Vice Chairman of the party in the South West, Chief Olabode George and former Minister of Transport and Aviation, Chief Ebenezer Babatope.
Others were former National Vice Chairman (South West) of the party, Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo, Governorship candidate of the party in Lagos State, Mr Jimi Agbaje, Governorship candidate of the party in Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore, former Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Jelili Adesiyan and former Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Oloye Jumoke Akinjide.
Also at the meeting were former Leader of the House of Representatives, Mrs Mulikat Adeola Akande, former Minister of Water Resources, Engr Bashir Awotorebo, former Chairman of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, Engr. Jide Adeniji, former Minister of Works, Chief Adeseye Ogunlewe and Senator Ayo Adeseun, Dr. Doyin Okupe, Debo Anisulowo, among other prominent leaders of the party in the zone.
In a communique after the meeting by former Minister of Sports, Prof Taoreed Adedoja, the party said a structured Committee would be set up to equitably distribute the three national positions amongst the six states.
The PDP Leaders also resolved to re-energize the structure of the party in all the South West states and the country at large in order to take over from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) come 2019.
The communiqué reads in part “despite the challenges confronting the PDP, the Southwest caucus has agreed to unite and confront the challenges that are facing the Yoruba race in Nigeria. Members of the PDP have agreed to rise up beyond personal interests to confront crucial national issues that affect us as a race especially the thriving menace of the Fulani herdsmen.”
“The meeting notes with dismay the poor state of the national economy and feel terribly sad that the current ruling party has not demonstrated the capacity to contain the economic challenges with attendant dwindling fortunes that has reversed almost all the economic gains recorded under the PDP.
‘The developments in the sphere of elections, is becoming disturbing and from all indications, the accomplishments recorded by the last PDP government as regards the conduct of credible elections are beginning to wane. The South West PDP wishes to put on record our dissatisfaction with the performance of the electoral body under the ruling party as all the elections the APC has so far superintended have ended as inconclusive,” the communique added.
Earlier, Dr Mimiko disclosed that the meeting which was at his instance and that of Governor Fayose was to ensure the unity of the party in the interest of the country and the future.
He explained that division can never be permanent in any political party adding that it was the reason the duo have conveyed leaders of the party to chat a progressive way for the unity of members.
“The Yoruba nation is the most enlightened ethnic nationality in Africa; we must therefore demonstrate that enlightenment in the PDP. There is no alternative to unity in PDP. In unity lies our strength and in it lies our victory,” Mimiko stressed.
He observed that there are issues beyond politics in the South West region and urged party leaders not to allow petty issues to divide members in a bid to collectively fight the monster waging war against us in the South West region.
The governor who added that the PDP is the only alternative political party in Nigeria said members should give their best to the course of the party. “Our mission is to get our acts together and recreate the nature of politics in the south west,” he said.
“There is no alternative to unity in the south west at this time. The time has come not to think of how right you are, but how prepared you are to take on the challenges facing us, he said”.
He warned that the people of the south west were watching with keen interest and could pass a judgment with their votes if the party leaders failed to take the right course.
“If we make a mess of the PDP, the people can take a decision and from the ashes of the PDP and the APC, a new party can emerge and it will become their darling party of the people,” Mimiko cautioned.
He noted that the differences between him and Mr. Fayose, had been put to rest in the interest of the region and its future of the party. “I and Fayose had some minor issues, we have resolved it in the interest of the Yoruba nation, he added.
Governor Fayose who tasked members to be united in its fight to regain power from the ruling APC led government, warned money bag politicians to move out of the party.
“I am an unapologetic critic of President Muhammadu Buhari and even the APC cannot deny that there is no fact in my criticisms. They know that I am criticizing with facts. It is therefore important to put our house in order for the good of the country and our future.
“Today, under the watch of Buhari, fairness has been bastardized in elections and INEC has turned to “Inconclusive” National Electoral Commission. The international community is watching us and posterity will judge all of us at the appropriate time,” he stated.
He added that “Nigeria is currently going back to the analogue days. Nigeria is too big for an octogenarian to rule. Even at 55 I still struggle to lead my state.
“A President needs power to lead a country like Nigeria. Leaders emerge naturally to defend their people. Nothing is wrong with the PDP but there are many things wrong with individuals
in PDP and APC”, he said.
He confirmed that there were issues left between him and Mr. Mimiko, blaming some of the misunderstanding on the writings in the media.
Fayose has refuted the report that he and some leaders of the PDP in the South-West are having issues over the forthcoming election of the national chairmanship of the party adding that specifically that he had no score to settle with Mimiko and the former Vice Chairman of the party in the South-West, Chief Bode George over leadership matters.
His words: “I read it in the newspapers that Chief Bode George abused me, but you can see me and him sitting beside each other here. He and I have come a long way, we are together. Dr. Mimiko and I have no score to settle too, we are together we are bound to agree.”
While charging the leaders to embrace unity for the party to move forward, the governor urged members to elect the people with ideas to run the affairs of the party at the forthcoming National Convention.
“There is nothing wrong with the PDP but the individuals in the party and promised that he would continue to speak boldly against injustice, so long as he was speaking the truth.
Other leaders such as Mr. Babatope, said the party had suffered from disunity, urging members to return to the path of unity if any achievements could be attained. But it was learnt that all may not have been well as Senator Kashamu’s group were absent.