The two gladiators in the South western zone of the people Democratic Party (PDP), Governor Seyi Makinde, of Oyo State and a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, will today flex their political muscles to demonstrate who actually is in charge of the party at the zone, as their supporters are already gathered at Osogbo in Osun State to pick who would lead the party for the next few years.
Both leaders had engaged in verbal wars over the control of PDP structures, especially the leadership of the party in the South-West.
While governor Makinde is rooting for Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja, for the position. Ayodel Fayose on the other hand is supporting Eddy Olafeso, the immediate past national vice-chairman of the South-West PDP.
The sharp disagreement between Makinde and Fayose forced PDP National Secretariat to move the venue of the congress from Ibadan, the Oyo State capital to Osogbo, the capital of Osun State.
While the governor preferred Lagos State as an alternative venue, Fayose wanted Ogun State. In a statement on the congress, a former presidential aspirant, Dr Doyin Okupe gave an insight into the leadership question in the party over time.
He said he not optimistic about an amicable settlement between Makinde and Fayose after several unsuccessful attempts were
made by leaders and elders at the zonal level.
He said efforts were also made directly by the national secretariat and indirectly by the indefatigable Bukola Saraki’s reconciliation committee. All to no avail.
Part of his statement read: “This in itself is a strange phenomenon. The doctrine I learnt in my 40 years’ sojourn in politics is that … no matter the problem between two or more groups, as long as the problem is strictly political; it is resolvable through consultation, negotiation and compromise.
“The working tools of an astute politician are: oratory, ability to communicate and convince others effectively, negotiating skill, readiness to arrive at a compromise, wisdom, tact, flexibility, patience and a benevolent spirit.
“Not confrontation and rigidity or obduracy.Strangely, in Yorubaland, even issues of infidelity and adultery, which are very touchy and extremely trying, are discussed and settled between husbands, wives and offending partners.
“Governor Seyi Makinde and Fayose are contending the leadership of the party in the South-West. A position which neither of them is qualified to hold, but for aberrant development in our polity.
“It was former President Obasanjo, who because he did not want his administration to be bogged down with petty issues from the states, empowered the state governors to be leaders of the party in their respective states and zones. This was a privilege enjoyed by former Governor Fayose to the fullest in his time. And until the proviso is annulled Governor Makinde ought to have the honour of being the official leader of the party in the South-West currently.
“This “proviso” though an obvious absurdity, still stands. I call it an absurdity because it will be unthinkable for example, for a Governor Sanwo-Olu of Lagos to say he is leader of APC in Lagos, official or unofficial. But let’s rest this argument here.
“As for Governor Makinde, his attempts to destabilise established state party structures in order to establish his control and leadership is wrong and this has created unnecessary enemies for him within the zone even among those who were not opposed to his leadership.
“In today’s congress there will be no real winners. The outcome of tomorrow’s congress will cause a permanent schism in the South-West PDP, which may seriously affect the future of the party adversely in the zone in the nearest future.
“We as a people always refuse to learn from history. The dichotomy and lack of consensus in Yoruba land today can be traced to the sowing of the seed of discord during the Awolowo/Akintola conflict. But those who fail to learn from history will themselves become lessons in history. And as the saying goes “those who the gods must destroy, will firstly be made mad.” Those, who have ears, let them hear.”
The screening of contenders for the positions was on Sunday held amid tight security at the Aenon Suit Hotel, GRA Osogbo, the Osun State capital in preparation for today’s zonal party congress to elect new zonal executives.
All the contestants were thoroughly frisked at the entrance of the venue by stern-looking security operatives who manned the area. A combined team of mobile and conventional policemen, as well as men of the Directorate of the State Security Services (DSS) kept surveillance around the venue.
A total of 42 aspirants were given a clean bill of slate by the panel to contest for 22 positions in the zonal executive of the party.