Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-West geopolitical zone have harped on the need for unity and cohesion in the party, stating that the zone remains strategic to the PDP if it must win election at the national level.
The leaders, including the Oyo State governor, Mr Seyi Makinde, former governors of Osun and Ekiti states, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Mr Segun Oni as well as members of the Board of Trustees of the party, and party chairmen from the states, among others, called on the national leadership of the party to bring all aggrieved factions in the party together.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the party leaders met at the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan on Thursday and released a communique endorsed by the Acting National Vice Chairman, South-West, Mr Dayo Ogungbenro.
In the communique, the South-West PDP leaders appointed a five-man reconciliation committee headed by Prince Oyinlola, which was charged with the responsibility to unite all factions in the geopolitical zone.
Other members of the committee, the statement noted, include: Chief Saka Balogun, Chief (Mrs.) Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele, Ambassador Omolade Oluwateru and Mr Olayinka Kukoyi.
The statement further stated that the meeting resolved that zonal executive positions of the party should be zoned to all states of the South-West, adding that it has become imperative for the party to unite ahead future elections across the zone.
The communique read: “We the leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-West geopolitical zone held a meeting at the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan, today, November 12, 2020.
“The meeting, which was presided over by the Governor of Oyo State, Mr Seyi Makinde, discussed the need for unity and cohesion in the party in our geopolitical zone and across the country and the need to exercise caution on the proposed move to clampdown on social media by the All Progressives Congress (APC-led) Federal Government.
“After a careful appraisal of the political developments in the South-West, the urgent need to unite the PDP in the geopolitical zone and to ensure that all aggrieved members come together to build a great Party, we do hereby resolve as follow:
“That a five-man committee be set up to reconcile all aggrieved and warring factions in the South-West PDP in order to bring about peace and unity in the Party.
“The committee is to be chaired by former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, with Chief Saka Balogun, Chief (Mrs.) Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele, Ambassador Omolade Oluwateru and Mr Olayinka Kukoyi as members.
“That the 10 zonal executive posts be zoned to all states of the South-West as follow: Zonal Chairman (Oyo State), Zonal Secretary (Lagos State), Zonal Publicity Secretary (Ekiti State), Zonal Organising Secretary (Ondo State), Zonal Financial Secretary (Osun State), Zonal Youth Leader (Osun State), Zonal Legal Officer (Ogun State), Zonal Treasurer (Ogun State), Zonal Women Leader (Oyo State) and Zonal Auditor (Lagos State).
“The meeting also resolved that in the spirit of fairness and equity, additional slots of ex-officio members be given to Ekiti and Ondo states in view of the fact that they would occupy only one office each in the zone.”
The PDP leaders also used the occasion to call on the Federal Government and the National Assembly not to go ahead with the proposed clampdown on social media, saying the move will infringe on Nigerians’ freedom of expression.
They called on the Federal Government to strengthen existing laws to prevent the abuse of the freedom of expression.
In his remarks, Governor Makinde maintained that the meeting was convened to address the challenges facing the party in the South-West.
He said: “PDP South-West is the only place where if PDP wants to win nationally, it must get right. Once they fail to get the South-West right, they should forget the presidency.
“So, for us, we have to try to pull together and get things right. My observation is, in the past, some arrogated power to determine the fate of PDP in the South-West to a few individuals. And I am saying loud and clear here that being the only PDP governor in the South-West today, I don’t have such power.
“If we pull together collectively, that is when we can achieve success. So, there are two things that stand out in this meeting.
“In Ondo State, during the last election, it is not as if the people of the state don’t like our party or candidate, it was the party structure that failed to do the needful all over, which made us to be where we are currently. But I believe in God and I will tell you why. We were in this same position in Bayelsa. The governor-elect was already rehearsing before they brought him a letter that he is going nowhere. If you know how to pray, keep praying because I know there is nothing God cannot do, even in Ondo State for PDP.
“One of the major reasons why I said we need to come together is premised on unity in South-West PDP. We still have few elections ahead of us. We have a great task before us. Out of six states, there are three without state honourables at that level.
“Though some of the aggrieved members may actually have legitimate reasons, we have to reach out to them. I am hoping that our leaders that are present here will assist us to bring about a unified front for the party in the South-West.”