KEY stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-West have taken a bold step to address and solve all internal rancour and division in the party, particularly in Oyo, Osun and Lagos States, ahead of the party’s national convention.
The move, according to the stakeholders, is also expected to help find lasting solution to all forms of leadership tussle in the party in all the affected states, including Lagos, which had been bedevilled by leadership crisis involving notable party figures such as Chief Bode George, Captain Tunji Shelle, Moshood Salvador, Segun Adewale (Aeroland), and Dr Adetokunbo Pearse, among others, for ages.
The step was taken in a major stakeholders’ meeting organised by various key leaders of the party in the SouthWest at the presidential suite of the Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos, on Saturday.
The meeting itself brought together, the Ekiti State governor, Mr Ayo Fayose and Senator Buruji Kashamu – two key stakeholders of the party who had been at loggerheads in the party’s affairs. It also included the Ondo State governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko and other key leaders of the party drawn from Oyo, Osun and Lagos States.
According to information gathered, the three states in the South-West were deliberately selected after it became clear that they were the states where internal wrangling and endless leadership tussle appeared to be most prominent to the point that many observers felt that the development could jeopardise the party’s chances in future elections in the states and the nation at large.
Observations made by Sunday Tribune showed that stakeholders from each of the three states took turns to meet the trio of Fayose, Mimiko and Kashamu as well as other key leaders of the party in the South-West, where every aggrieved party stated its grievances, while peace was attempted to be brokered that would involve compromises and considerations.
Addressing newsmen at the end of the meeting which was held behind closed doors, and lasted for several hours, Fayose, described as significant steps taken that would help bring back PDP to strong reckoning in the South-West and ultimately throughout the country.
“It is progress made. The meeting was to reconcile and put together our house as a party state by state. We were able to meet with three states in the South-West – Osun, Lagos and Oyo, and we had useful deliberations, and we believe that interested parties and groups will come together, because what we want is a united party,” he said.
He further described the stakeholders’ meeting as not being an everyday affair, saying everyone was happy with what had been achieved so far.
He pointed out that emphasis was on the three states in question, because of a saddening discovery made recently that they were the worst in terms of sharp practices and formation of divergent camps. “Our findings clearly show that cases of groupings and sharp divides exist in the three states and this is what we addressed in the meeting.
“We have to learn from the past. Therefore, the system should be allowed to produce its leaders. For example, the PDP standardbearer for the 2019 presidential elections has been zoned to the North, while the South is meant to produce the national chairman. I believe that whoever emerges as the national chairman should be allowed to stay and be accepted by all,” he added.
Meanwhile, after being attended to, some of those who came to the meeting affirmed that as a result of the meeting, PDP in the South-West had shown that it was indeed ready to move forward and reposition the party in such a way that it could wrestle power back from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
One of the stakeholders from Oyo State, Senator Teslim Folarin, remarked that the reconciliation effort became very necessary in order to once again address and ensure that the dismal performance of PDP in the last general elections was not repeated.
“This is a step in the right direction and it is a welcome development, because the meeting itself shows that everyone is ready to put their differences aside and work for the overall progress of the party. This is evident in the fact that people that should ordinarily not even be together are now together,” he said.
Similarly, another politician from Oyo State and former Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, Professor Taoheed Adedoja, noted that the meeting had further consolidated the position of the party in the South-West which he described as the position of peace and unity. Also, their counterparts from Lagos also promised to begin fashioning out a way forward for the party in the state which had been long enmeshed in crisis.