Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
Last week, leaders of the Ogun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) met and resolved to reconcile their differences in the interest of the party. But as Sheriff Balogun reports, can the PDP’s peace deal endureS?
The crisis rocking Ogun State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seems to be coming to a definite end if indications from the party are anything to factor in. last week, the groups loyal to former Governor Gbenga Daniel; former Minister of Commerce, Senator Jubril Martins-Kuye, and party financier, Mr. Buruji Kashamu, met in Lagos and in Ijebu Igbo area of Ogun State respectively to dissect the fate of the party.
The three warring factions that worked against one another during the last general election appeared battle-weary and agreed to resolve their differences for the collective good of all.
Although, the party’s latest reconciliation attempt was in line with the directive of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party that all warring groups should resolve their differences and work in unity in the interest of the party, the leaders of PDP in Ogun also appeared genuinely ready to let go.
Thus, Daniel, Martins-Kuye and Kashamu agreed that only the Chief Adebayo Dayo-led state executive of the party was the authentic leadership in the state because it emerged through a democratic process.
Consequently, the meeting agreed that Daniel and Kashamu, emerge leaders of the party in the state with Martins-Kuye’s consent. To pave the way for the decision, apart from Martins-Kuye, party leaders like Alhaji Sule Onabiyi and Senator Ayo Otegbola, stepped aside to allow for what they described as a more dynamic and vibrant leadership with joint decision by all the factions to collapse into one united PDP family, under the Dayo-led executive committee.
Recall that the national secretariat of the party had called for fresh congresses in the state with the fusion of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Kashamu, Daniel and Martins-Kuye factions. But the decision of the national secretariat deepened the crisis in the state when report of the congress committee was released.
The Mallam Ibrahim Sidi Bamalli-led committee submitted that the congress held on August 4, 2012 by the state PDP faction allegedly loyal to Obasanjo lacked transparency and representation from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The panel also recommended the inclusion of all the four known factions of Ogun PDP in the proposed congress in line with the reconciliation agenda of the party.
The five-member committee however supervised the congress held in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, where Senator Dipo Odujinrin, had emerged chairman, among other 28 executive members. But according to the committee’s report, the processes leading to the congress that produced Odujinrin and others lacked transparency and INEC representation and replete with discrepancies.
Similarly, report of the five-member committee on the Local Government Area Congresses of the party held on July 28 declared that the exercise was not in tandem with the party’s guidelines as well as the Electoral Act. The panel which had Teslim Igbalaye as chairman also had as members, Hon. Raymond Dabo, Ado Tudun Wada, Shehu Likoro while Okey Aduradu was the secretary.
But factional Publicity Secretary of PDP in the state, Hon. Bidemi Osunbiyi, while reacting said the recent state congress was transparent. Osunbiyi also insisted that the party accommodated all the contending groups but blamed a former House of Representatives member, Dave Salako, for allegedly influencing the boycott of the August 4 congress by some delegates.
However, the latest reconciliatory effort is yet another test for Ogun PDP. While foreseeing peace in the immediate, Dayo said the truce meetings were in obedience to the party’s directives. He said private discussions had been held in Lagos and Ijebu Igbo and that at the Lagos meeting, the differences between Kashamu and Senator Lekan Mustapha were ironed out while in Ijebu Igbo, Daniel held a closed door meeting with Kashamu where he (Daniel) recognised, accepted and confirmed the authenticity of the Dayo-led executive committee.
Curiously, the Obasanjo faction, in a statement by Osunbiyi, has also endorsed the reconciliation move. And following news of the reconciliation, party members have since stormed the party’s secretariat to celebrate the feat. The party secretariat which is located along presidential Boulevard had been in the custody of Dayo Soremi-led state executive before it handed over to the Dayo-led state executive, a committee to which the Obasanjo faction is believed to be inclined and which operated outside the state secretariat for a very long time since inception of the crises.
Addressing party members at the Secretariat, Secretary of the party, Chief Dapo Adeyemi, said the celebration was aimed at showing to the world that the recognised executive has taken over the control of the party. He said the party has set up a reconciliation committee to look into the aggrieved members of the party and find a way of bringing them back to the cover of the party, adding also that the NWC of the party had given a 30-day ultimatum to aggrieved members to reunite with the party through their local government executives.
“What we are doing today is to avoid bloodshed as much as possible, apart from the high-powered reconciliation committee of the party, the NWC has also give a 30 days ultimatum to all the aggrieved members, if they are not aware of our committee, they should be aware of the directive of the NWC. We should all come together and dislodge this retrogressive government in Ogun State. No development has come to the state other than the demolition of properties that people have laboured for in the past. People are tired of this government and we are the only alternative for them,” he noted
But while many still nurse their doubts on the authenticity of the reconciliation, it is believed in many quarters that a united PDP would give the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the state the battle of its life. Apart from the fact that the ACN is currently going through a lot internally, it is commonplace that the ACN won the last election in the state because the PDP had first defeated itself by splitting into groups and declaring allegiance for different parties at the election.
However, with a genuine reconciliation, observers fear that the party may give a good and ferocious fight in next election, the result of which might shake the ACN to its foundations. But to achieve this, the reconciliation must be genuine and total, observers noted.