Segun James In Yenagoa
The crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the zoning formula policy yesterday took a new dimension when the South-west leaders rejected the move to zone both the presidential and party chairmanship to the north.
The leaders’ position followed the decision of the party’s governorship caucus to retain both positions in the north against the party’s constitution.
The leaders in a communiqué issued at the end of an extraordinary summit of the South-west leaders held in Lagos yesterday to deliberate on the affairs of the party resolved that they would reject they move even though governors position was endorsed by the two governors from the zone.
They insisted that the Yoruba people had played a very significant role in the advancement and growth of the party and nation and that the PDP founding principle was based on equity and balance, hence the feeling that the people are being elbowed out of the leadership of the party.
The communiqué which was signed by Chief Olabode George on behalf of the leaders lamented that “the Yoruba people are being elbowed out of the power equation by the individual ambitions of some persons within the party.
“That the Yoruba people are being treated with contempt and irrelevance. But cried that “the Yoruba people will no longer tolerate nor accept the role of subservient player in the PDP,” adding that “the Yoruba people must now stand firm and reassert themselves.”
Although the meeting which was held at the Golden Gate Restaurant Ikoyi was attended by party leaders including former Governor Gbenga Daniel, Senator Jumoke Akinjide, Dr. Doyin Okupe and Prof. Taoheed Ladoja among others, the two South-west governors of the party, Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State and Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State were however conspicuously absent.
This however did not stop the leader from observing that “we must no longer be treated as orphans within the party. Those who renounce the position of the National Chairmanship of our party do not speak for the Yoruba people.” The leaders insisted.
“The Southwest PDP insists on claiming the position of the National Chairman, based on equity and fairness. The Southwest is adequately prepared and well qualified to lead our great party, given our rich antecedents of history, knowledge and culture.
“That the Yoruba people will fight this good cause with determination, with fairness of purpose and with the formidable pursuit of the truth.”
They therefore resoled to that “a powerful delegation of the Yoruba people should be mustered to demand for the position of the chairman of the party. The Yoruba people, must continue to uphold the truth, honor, integrity, selflessness and the Omoluabi culture. Being a democratic and liberal people, the Yoruba are however open further consultations and negotiations to sort out issues at the appropriate forum,” the communiqué concluded.