Ademola Babalola in Ibadan
The hope of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to reclaim the presidency in the 2019 general election may be a forlorn as foot soldiers loyal to the sacked former party National Chairman, Ali Modu Sheriff, yesterday quit the party for a newly registered Mega Party of Nigeria (MPN).
Citing â€˜uncouth and inflammatoryâ€™ statements of some loyalists of the partyâ€™s National Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, and the last Tuesdayâ€™s position of the party that disciplinary action be set up to whip the Sheriffâ€™s people into line, the South-west chieftains of the party said unchecked and ceaseless talks and comments of Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State was â€œdisturbing, self-serving and unbecomingâ€ of a party looking for unity.
At the partyâ€™s new secretariat situated on Old Ife road, along Airport, Alakia, Ibadan, where MPN and Nigeriaâ€™s flag were hoisted with its maize logo, they noted that not only was the inflammatory statements of Fayose worrisome, the latest manhandling of some party chieftains, including a former Senate Leader loyal to Sheriff at the Abuja meeting, further irked their resolve to leave the party enmass.
The South-west Chairman of the group and former Chairman of PDP in Ondo State, Ebenezer Ablabi, flanked by other party chieftains from across the six South-west states and Director-General of the MPN, Adeleke Adekoya, said the South-west PDP was resolute to leave the party for Fayose and his cohorts.
Alabi said though the outcome of the Supreme Court judgment was a surprise to the Sheriffâ€™s group, the group had resolved to work with Makarfi before they began their inflammatory comments.
â€œWe are all aware of the outcome of the Supreme Court judgement which confirmed Makarfi group as the authentic group. We have our reservation on the judgement but we believe in the judiciary and we have the intention of cooperating with the Markafi group before they started making inflammatory comments. They said they wanted to give us amnesty as if we were Boko Haram militants.
â€œWe heard that when Fayose was coming from Abuja, he had a stopover on his way to Ado Ekiti, and said if the judgment had gone the other way, he could have set his party card ablaze. Is that the kind of uncultured party man we are going to work with?
â€œLast Tuesday also, the duo of Fayose and Omisore went to Abuja and removed the names of the leaders from Southwest, including the name of the Chairman of the party in Ogun State, Bayo Dayo, who belongs to Makarfiâ€™s faction and replaced them with the names of the people who didnâ€™t contest for the office. The standard bearer of the Oyo State governorship election, Senator Teslim Folarin, was also manhandled to the extent that his phone was stolen.
â€œWe thought the outcome of the judgment of the court will teach us a lesson, rather, the party is being taken over by vampires. Now, those of us who believe in the leadership of Sheriff have now decided to move out and join forces with the Mega Party of Nigeria (MPN),â€ the group stated.
The party was registered in 2012 as Mega Progressives Peoples Party (MPPP) and by July 25 of this month, the name will be officially changed to MPN, they added.
The group refuted the claim that the region belongs to Fayose and his men, adding that the 2019 elections will show that Fayose is not popular in the Southwest.
â€œWe are going to leave PDP for Fayose and his cohort. We want to see if Fayose who says he has the Southwest in his pocket can transform his pocket to electoral victory in 2019,â€ they groug said.
Corroborating Alabi, Adekoya said Fayose does not represent Yoruba culture, adding that â€œa cultured Yoruba person would not say the whole Yoruba nation is in his pocket just as Fayose had said â€˜Power belongs to the people and not people who are fortunate to have access to government money and boast aroundâ€™.â€