Zoning tears South-West PDP apart
• Adeniran, others reject consensus arrangement
• Party raises reconciliation committee
Efforts by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-West to present consensus candidates for the chairmanship and other positions in the party have suffered a major setback.At a meeting held in Akure, the Ondo State capital, the leaders disagreed on the zoning of the PDP national chairmanship position.
The disagreement notwithstanding, the PDP National Vice Chairman, South West, Dr. Eddy Olafeso, who addressed journalists after deliberations at the Ondo Governor’s House, announced that the positions had been zoned among the six states of the zone.
According to him, the chairmanship was zoned to Lagos and Ogun states; the treasurer to Ondo and Ekiti states; while Osun and Oyo states will vie for the office of the national publicity secretary.
The meeting was attended by Governor Mimiko of Ondo State, his counterpart in Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, Senator Iyiola Omisore, Senator Yekinni Adeojo, Teslim Folarin, Chief Bode George, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, Erelu Olusola Obada, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, Alhaji Lasisi Oluboyo and zonal executive members.
Olafeso disclosed that a six-man reconciliation committee headed by Adeojo “has been mandated to speak with everybody so that the Yoruba and the South West zone will have a common focus at the national convention coming up in Port Harcourt, Rivers State in November 17.”
On consensus candidates for the positions, he said: “We will adequately brief you at the appropriate time. Our concern at this moment is to ensure that there is peace and unity, and brothers can sit at a roundtable to discuss their differences and come out with candidates for the national convention.”But there were dissensions over the decision reached at the meeting. The former Minister of Education, Prof. Tunde Adeniran and the Senator representing Ogun East District, Kashumu Buruji and other leaders took conflicting positions.
The media aide to the former minister, Mr. Taiwo Akeju, told newsmen that his principal obtained his form yesterday in Abuja and intentionally avoided the meeting to consult with some party leaders in the North for the realisation of his aspiration.
Akeju, who is a former secretary of the party in the zone, said all the aspirants should be allowed to test their popularity, rather than the consensus arrangement reached by the meeting convoked by Mimiko and Fayose. “What we are saying is that they should allow all the aspirants that have obtained the forms to go and test their popularity, that is democracy. We don’t want impunity again in the party,” he said.
He declared that his faction would not accede to the arrangement, lamenting the alleged impunity in the party which he pointed out has been the cause of its calamities.
“We are still battling with the Sheriff thing now, we know the consequences and we know the people that brought us to this level. What we are saying is that we need to turn a new leaf. Let anybody that purchased a form be allowed to contest. At this meeting, they are saying they want to zone, there is no point zoning anything, it won’t work. It is not possible. You have to open up for the best material to emerge, that is our position, we want the best material to emerge at the convention.”
Akeju said there were a lot of factions in the South West and confirmed that Buruji stormed out of the meeting to announce his own candidate on Thursday.
The Guardian learnt that at a hotel earlier in the town, the Makanjuola Ogundipe-led faction and Buruji were disallowed to partake in the zonal indoor meeting convened by Mimiko.
Those that were also denied participation include the former Secretary to Ekiti State Government (SSG), Ambassador Dare Bejide, Chief C.K. Awoyelu, former Ekiti State deputy governor, Chief Abiodun Aluko, a member of the House of Representatives, Segun Adekoya, factional chairman of Osun PDP, Chief Adagunodo and other members of Ogundipe-led factional executive.
While addressing newsmen at the hotel, Ogundipe urged the National Caretaker Committee led by Alhaji Ahmed Markafi to shun whatever decision reached at the meeting convened by Mimiko.
Ogundipe labelled the action of the conveners of the meeting as executive rascality, insisting that his own faction has the legally recognised executive of the party in the South West geo-political zone.