Doubts over South-West PDP stakeholders meeting in Ogun •Count me out of Ijebu-Igbo parley —Bode George •I’ll not attend —Senator Olu Alabi

DOUBTS on Saturday trailed a stakeholders’ meeting of South-West leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scheduled for today in Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State,  due to possible boycott by a number of prominent leaders.

Investigations by Sunday Tribune last night showed that those in the category were not favourably disposed towards the meeting, which notice was announced by the National vice chairman/zonal chairman of the party, Chief  Makanjuola Ogundipe.

Ogundipe had explained that the event is to enable the party bigwigs to articulate the views of the zone and forge a common front following the submission of the recommendations of the PDP Strategy Review Committee on February 8, 2017.

A former deputy Senate President, Senator Ibrahim Mantu, was named as the expected keynote speaker at the meeting scheduled for the Omoilu Foundation Headquarters in Ijebu Igbo, an organisation founded by Senator Buruji Kashamu.

There were apprehensions that two PDP governors from the zone: Dr Segun Mimiko of Ondo State and his Ekiti State counterpart, Mr Ayodele Fayose would not attend the meeting.

Senator Buruji threw diatribes at Fayose shortly after the governor was elected as the chairman of the PDP Governors Forum.

Besides, the battle for the position of National chairman which the PDP has zoned to the South-West has been generating ripples with some stakeholders accusing the governor of working against the interest of the zone.

Similarly, there is a sharp division among the leaders on which state should get the nod to produce the consensus chairmanship candidate for the zone to the national convention of the party.

The crisis is part of the fallout of the protracted power tussle at the national level over the authentic leadership with the attendant series of litigations.

While some of the leaders contacted by our correspondents promised to attend the meeting, most of the others craving anonimity spoke on the contrary.

Former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George, also said on Saturday that he would never be part of the meeting, declaring that whoever attended such meeting must not only be an enemy of Yoruba people but a saboteur and mercenary politician.

George, while speaking through his Special Adviser on political Affairs, Mr. Uthman Sodipe, queried the rationale for fixing the said meeting for Ijebu- Ode, declaring that Ijebu- Igbo was never the political capital of Yorubaland.

“How can South West leaders meet in Ijebu- Igbo? That is absurd. You probably mean Buruji’s faction! Surely, we cannot be part of the irresponsible grandstanding of Buruji. Whoever sits in Ijebu- Igbo with Buruji must be an enemy of the Yoruba people,” George said.

Speaking during a telephone chat with Sunday Tribune yesterday, one of the invitees, Senator Olu Alabi, who is one the party’s chieftains in Osun simply stated that “I was invited for the meeting, but I would not attend the meting.”

“If there is going to be any meeting of the PDP in the South West, such meeting cannot be convened by Buruji Kashamu. He cannot call for the PDP South West meeting in any capacity. It cannot be under Buruji”.

Reacting to the development, Chief Shuaib Oyedokun said he was bereaved and could not comment on the issue for now.

Two former deputy national chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George and Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun, as well as a former minister of education, Professor Tunde Adeniran were initially named among the father of the day.

The claimants to PDP national chairmanship, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and Senator Ahmed Makarfi, as well as  the chairman of PDP Reconciliation Committee and governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson.

However, the South-West PDP executives loyal to the National Caretaker Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, have distanced themselves from today’s meeting to discuss the recommendations of the Professor Jerry Gana-led Strategy Review Committee.

A release made available to Sunday Tribune by the South-West chairman of the party, Chief Eddy Olafeso, said the chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum and Ekiti State governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose,  would approve the convocation of a meeting of the party in the region at the appointed time.

Therefore, he advised members and leaders of the party to ignore the meeting saying it was summoned by “a dissident group.”

The meeting came as the party in a statement entitled, PDP shall rise again, said the South-West was yet to decide on the choice of the zone for the chairmanship position at the expected national convention.

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