South West PDP still grappling with division
For the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Southwest geo-political zone, it is still a long way to reconciliation of the two warring factions even as the 2019 election, which will test its resolve to take over political control of the region, is less than a year away.
Although, the party may be hoping to take advantage of the ongoing implosion in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the disenchantment against the governance style of President Muhammadu Buhari, the continued bickering among its zonal leadership in the second largest voting area in the country, is becoming a major challenge.
Apart from the major issue of post-convention discontentment among members in the zone, which has led to the defection of some major stakeholders to the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the protracted face off between the Eddy Olafeso and Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe leadership factions is capable of stunting the party’s growth.
While it appears the party has set up committees to address the consequences of the outcome of the convention, nothing concrete has been done since the emergence of the National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus about the lingering crisis between the Olafeso and Ogundipe factional leaderships.
On Tuesday, the Ogundipe-led faction raised the alarm that its attention has been drawn to sponsored and planted media reports purporting that the Court of Appeal in Ado Ekiti, has confirmed Olafeso as the authentic leader of the PDP in the zone.
Ogundipe did not only refute the report, he said someone who was definitely not at the court proceedings must have been paid to write the report syndicated it to some media houses, saying, “We wish to state that there was no where the Ekiti Division of the Court of Appeal pronounced on the validity or otherwise of the Eddy Olafeso-led group, or affirmed it.”
Ogundipe, insisting that his tenure as the Southwest zonal executive chairman ends in October 2018 based on court position said, “Any spin to the contrary should be disregarded as the usual noise of the market place. It is no more than a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
While contacted, Olafeso insisted that his executive, which represented the zone at the December 2017 Convention remained the authentic one based on court decision as he also appealed to the other faction to join hands with him in revamping the PDP not for personal aggrandizement but in the interest of the larger population and the development of the country.
Olafeso, while speaking on phone with The Guardian yesterday expressed amazement at the reason behind Ogundipe’s insistence in misinterpreting simple truth and clear issues.
He also expressed concern about those who defected from the party after the convention, saying there was no cause for that since the leadership of the party has set up a national reconciliation committee headed by Governor Seriake Henry Dickson, which has been meeting with all aggrieved people across the zones.
A former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George also frowned at the current situation of the party, particularly the Southwest, which he said was badly hit due to the outcome of the national convention. He however condemned some of its stakeholders that have defected, saying, “It doesn’t make sense when we all benefited and realized our political height under the PDP umbrella to now leave it when it was in crisis.”
Promising he would never leave the party, George expressed hope that the party could still be reshaped, rebranded and also repositioned to take its place in the political space if all the members could jettison their personal ambition in the interest of country, Nigerians and the party.
The immediate chairman of the PDP National Caretaker Committee (NCC), Senator Ahmed Makarfi in a recent interview with The Guardian also urged the Southwest zone to embrace peace in the interest of the party.
Although, Makarfi has since come under severe criticisms and accusation for deliberately collaborating with other elements to scheme the Southwest out of the race to produce the national chairman, the erstwhile governor of Kaduna State assured there are still many better opportunities available for the zone in terms of positions if the party succeeded in ousting the ruling party in 2019.
He also appealed to the factional executives in the zone to sheathe their swords and allow peace reign.