Though, two parallel meetings were held on how to reposition the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the 2019 Election, the outcome of the South- West Stakeholders Meeting held in Akure, Ondo State, indicates that most contentious issues had been resolved, writes James Sowole
Going by the much publicised divergent views of the two Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors, Dr Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State and Mr Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State, on the zoning of party offices, particularly the position of National Chairman, last Wednesday’s meeting of stakeholders in the South West, may be insignificant to those who do not know the intricacies of politics.
Those who hold this position may not be wrong totally when one considers the fact that a parallel meeting was scheduled for Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun State at the instance of Senator Buruju Kashamu.
Also, the position of Fayose, whose outbursts against the views of the Chairman of the PDP Governor’s Forum, Mimiko, on the forthcoming convention were widely reported, made people to think that things had finally fallen apart for the South West PDP.
However, the attendance and outcome of the Akure meeting showed that all hopes were not lost as members and leaders came out united than what obtained before the meeting, particularly with the two dramatis personae (Mimiko and Fayose).
As delegates were arriving at the Ondo State Cultural and International Event Centre, the Dome, it was thought by many that the South West leaders would insist on producing the National Chairman of the party among other positions.
Those who hold this belief may not be wrong in their demand because the South West had never produced the national chairman since the party was formed preparatory to the 1999 general election.
In fact, a hand bill was circulated to the delegates campaigning that the geopolitical zone must fill the number one position in the party while the former Minister of Sports, Prof Taoheed Adedoja, was already campaigning for the position.
However, the arrival of Fayose and Mimiko at about 1:25 pm became a surprise to many as it became obvious to the delegates that reconciliation was imminent.
The roll call at the meeting was the first indicator that the gathering was that of the people that matter in the party.
The meeting was attended by Chief Olabode George, National Vice Chairman of the PDP (South West) Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, former Leader, House of Representatives, Alhaja Mulikat Akande Adeola, Senator Iyiola Omisore, the former Minister of State for FCT, Mrs Jumoke Akinjide, and former Minister of Works, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe.
Other leaders at the meeting were the former Chairman of the PDP, Ogun State, Chief Joju Fadairo, former Minister of Police Affairs, Chief Jelili Adesiyan, former House of Representatives member from Ogun State, Hon Kayode Amusan, Dr Doyin Okupe and Otunba Gbenga Daniel, former governor of Ogun State, among other delegates.
Also in attendance was the former governor of Oyo State and the gubernatorial candidate of Accord Party, Senator Rasheed Ladoja.
Mimiko set the tone for the meeting in his remark when he said that members must be united to confront challenges facing the party.
“We need to realise our position today whoever you are, if the purpose of politics is to serve the greatest interest of the people, this is the time to come together in the South West.
He said people must be ready to sacrifice personal ambition for the party to come out strong preparatory to the 2019 Election.
“When we say we are coming together, in the short run, there must be winners and losers on what you considered as your critical interest, that is what is called give and take.
“But who gives what you think is critical today, can gain something that is monumental in the future”, Mimiko stated.
The speech of Mimiko was amplified by Fayose, who adopted his counterpart’s position that unity of all party members was paramount.
Mimiko said he and Fayose had resolved their differences. He remarked that he had nothing against Fayose nor any score to settle.
Fayose also said he did not have anything against the former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George, who sat by his side on the high table.
Fayose however, said that since PDP was in the opposition, members must act in that manner and stop pretending and that he would not shy away from that responsibility.
The governor said all what he said against the Federal Government were things obvious to Nigerians and which many people were already feeling adversely.
He also said that the time had come for the elders to allow younger generation to steer the ship of the party and the country.
The communique produced at the end of the meeting doused the tensed situation created by the reported outbursts of Fayose against the position that South West must produce the national chairman.
The communique read by Taoheed Adedoja indicated that the South West had accepted the position of Secretary of the party zoned to it in addition to the position of the National Publicity Secretary, National Auditor and the zonal offices.
The meeting said that a structured committee had been set up for the distribution of the position zoned to the South West.
It was resolved that the time was ripe for all members of the PDP in the Southwest to forge a common front and pursue a common agenda towards occupying their destined leadership position in Nigeria.
“That 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.
“That members of the PDP have agreed to rise up beyond personal interests to confront crucial national issues that affects us as a race especially the thriving menace of the Fulani herdsmen.
The leaders noted with dismay the poor state of the national economy expressing sadness 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.
They lamented that the current administration had rubbished laudable accomplishments recorded by the last PDP government.
Specifically, the PDP leaders said the credible electoral processes put in place by the immediate past administration had been rubbished.
“The Southwest PDP wish 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 leaders added.
“The leaders declared that the party would not shy away from effectively playing the role of an opposition.
“This role is crucial to democratic survival and the Party shall continually make Nigerians look up to it as a credible alternative to the ruling party”.
The meeting also resolved that the party would continue to encourage the collaboration of the old and the younger generation while it will do everything possible to allow fresh minds and fresh ideas to thrive in the party.