Southwest PDP begins reconciliation move
Makarfi, Sheriff factions support initiative
Prominent leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Southwest zone must have come to terms with the fact that the party is at present in shambles, shreds and might not achieve any meaningful political gains, except it reconcile and put its house in order, ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Since the party’s abysmal lost to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 Presidential election, after 16 years of savouring power at the federal level, the PDP has never been the same with the factions of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee persistently laying claim to the national leadership.
To address the situation, which has kept the party down since its exit from power, the Southwest zone, led by the Deputy National Chairman, Dr. Eddy Olafeso has commenced a reconciliation move. The decision is aimed at appeasing the warring members to bury their differences ahead of the 2019 election.
During a courtesy visit to the former Deputy Vice Chairman, Chief Olabode George in Lagos on Monday, Olafeso explained that it is important for the party to start in earnest the means to return peace before the 2019 election.
Explaining the need for this, Olafeso lamented the poor outing of the PDP in the recent Edo and Ondo governorship elections where it lost to the ruling APC. He said the results of the elections could have been the other way round if the party is one.
“In Edo, we saw how the APC cashed in on the misunderstanding among us to rob us of victory. Painfully again, the APC went ahead to play on the division among our party members in the Ondo election and if we fail to nip the occurrence in the butt now, the ruling party will repeat the same in the coming Osun and Ekiti governorship elections except we move fast to prevent it,” he said.
He, therefore, appealed to all the warring members in the zone and beyond to sheathe their sword and allow peace reign not in the interest of the PDP alone but for millions of Nigerians who are currently lamenting the hardship inflicted on them by the ruling APC.
George, who received the Olafeso’s reconciliation group in his Ikoyi residence on Monday, said the various experiences the PDP had witnessed in the last few years were necessary to teach it a bitter lesson.
While he gave nod to the group for its initiative, the former deputy national chairman restated there is no party and there could be no party like the PDP in the country again.
“If we do not have that strong tap root that has been sustaining us, we would have fizzled out immediately after the 2015 elections. But the fact the PDP is still on its feet shows it will bounce back.”
George appealed to the Southwest members to see the reconciliation move as a window to bury whatever crisis in the party. He also called on Sheriff to tread softly and allow peace to reign in the party.
Also commenting on the development, former Minister of Transportation, Chief Ebenezer Babatope dismissed the rumor he wanted to leave the PDP, except he was forced or pushed out.
To him there is the urgent need to put a strong force together that will contest the APC with the way Nigerians have been pauperized in the past one-year.
The Acting National Publicity Secretary, Sheriff’s faction, Mr. Bernard Mikko welcomed the idea of reconciliation, stating: “The party is one and it will remain one whatever any group or persons might be doing. The Southwest zone has the blessing of the national body as far as what it is doing is encompassing and genuine. The PDP was been factionalised after it lost the 2015 Presidential election but we are ready to support whatever reconciliation any member or stakeholders is doing to bring peace back to the fold.
He said the truth is the weakness of the PDP today is a major opposition weakness and it is Nigerians that would suffer for it as long as there is no viable opposition party there could be no viable ruling party. That is what the country has turned to now under the APC administration. There is no force to put the Muhammadu Buhari-led government on its toes.
Mikko commended Olafeso’s initiative of reconciliation and also promised the Sheriff’s group would do anything necessary to ensure it succeeds.
On the issues of Fayose’s alleged move to defect from the PDP despite the ongoing reconciliation move, Mikko said, “The PDP is a platform and it would remain so whether Fayose leaves or not. Anybody is free to move but the fact is Nigerians are watching those nomadic politicians
The Makarfi’s faction also gave it blessings to the reconciliation agenda of Olafeso. Speaking through its Acting National Publicity Secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, the group said that whatever move aimed at restoring peace to the party is welcome.
According to Adeyeye, “We all know that the Southwest is the most volatile zone in the PDP for now and if we succeed in getting it right from there it would be easy to move on.
He also dismissed the insinuation that Governor Fayose is planning to leave the PDP. According to him, “The governor has said he was misquoted by the media and we should leave it at that.”
Meanwhile, the ongoing reconciliation move may likely hit the rock except the faction led by Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe, who is also laying claim to the same position with Olafeso is carried along.
The crisis in the zone escalated before the party’s aborted July national convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers State over who is the authentic national vice chairman of the zone.
Although, Olafeso refused to disclose details of how the party would handle the reconciliation the truth is whatever it is doing must factor in the position of Ogundipe, who is insisting to be the legally recognised national vice chairman.