Ademola Babalola in Ibadan
Frontline politicians of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-west zone yesterday began reconciliatory moves to assuage feelings of the aggrieved members of the two factions of Alli Modu Sheriff and Senator Ahmed Markafi.
The parley was anchored on the need to coalesce all interests into one formidable opposition party.
Taking a cue from the recent truce brokered between Markarfi and Sheriff at the national level, the South-west meeting had as its theme: ‘Working together to regenerate our party in line with the spirit of the founding fathers’.
Presided over by former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Shuaib
Oyedokun, the meeting was attended by party chieftains drawn from different states of the region including former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole; former Leader of the Senate, Senator Teslim Folarin; former Minister of Sports, Professor Taoheed Adedoja; former Minister of Education, Professor Tunde Adeniran; Jimoh Ibrahim, Senator Sunday Fajimi, Senator
Buruji Kashamu, among other leaders.
At the end of the five-hour meeting, a peace committee was set up to look into all intra-party fractions with a view to bringing in all aggrieved members in harmony.
In a communiqué issued and read out to journalists by Adedoja, the forum applauded the on-going peace moves at the federal level by the Sheriff and Makarfi groups while urging all other zones in the country to resolve their internal grievances accordingly.
Specifically, all party leaders in attendance resolved to remain
in PDP irrespective of the various challenges facing the party at the national, zonal and states levels, with the aim of capturing the centre in 2019.
But the forum admonished the leadership of the PDP to clearly zone the party chairmanship to the South-west “being the only zone that had never occupied the position in the past.”
The forum also urged the PDP leadership in Ondo State to close ranks and work together as a solid and united team to sustain the control of the state by the party at the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
Addressing the forum, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bankole, commended the peace initiative within the PDP which he described as a good development for the party, saying he had been staying back from the fold since the past five years due to the raging misunderstanding in the party both at the national and the zonal levels.
“I have not been attending South-west meetings due to the political differences. If this is the beginning of unification in the PDP, I am part of it. I noticed that a peace committee has been set up and this is a good omen,” Bankole stated, just as he advised that further moves be made to bring into the family other stakeholders who still need to be brought in.
Bankole, who said he was encouraged to attend the meeting because of the reconciliatory efforts of the party leaders, however warned that “there will not be reconciliation without negotiation. I attend this meeting because it is targeted at negotiating and reconciling forces in the party.
“The option of going to court will not take this party anywhere and I will not be a part of it. This kind of meeting is not complete without some key figures that are still aggrieved out there. The South-west wing of the party must emulate what our national leaders are doing so that we can align and remain a strong force.”
Speaking in the same vein, Senator Folarin remarked that an enduring peace would only be recorded when either of the aggrieved party members is ready to shift grounds to accommodate one another.