BAYO AGBOOLA from Ibadan writes on the effort by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to unite factions within the party in Oyo state
Saraki committee arrives Ibadan
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is not, and does not want to leave anything to chance at all. Recently, it despatched its national reconciliation committee to Oyo state to mend fences for the splinter groups in the party.
Since the administration of Seyi Makinde came on board, the party has been in tatters, in two separate camps, all of them angling for superiority. The effect is that some of the areas the party would have spoken in one voice suffer.
The state governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, controls a faction comprising some prominent members of the party mostly in his cabinet. Alhaji Adebisi is the leader and arrow head of the other faction consisting of those claiming to be founding fathers of PDP in Oyo state.
The various attempt made by forces within the state to unify them often proved abortive.
Consequently, a high powered committee, the National Reconciliation Strategy Committee led by the former Senate President, Bukola Saraki was in the state to cement the hitherto soiled relationship.
Progress as factions agree to unite
At the end of meeting held at the Government House Ibadan, Saraki said, “We are here as part of the National Reconciliation Strategy Committee assignment and we are very happy with what has transpired this afternoon here with the PDP family.
“All the parties have resolved to work very closely together under the leadership of our performing governor, Seyi Makinde, and all the different areas of differences, we have all decided to put it aside and work towards ensuring that PDP is victorious not only in the state but at the national.
“I want to commend all our stakeholders who have come, who have agreed that today is the beginning of a new chapter in Oyo state and also we want to thank our governor for his commitment as he said, “I am a beneficiary of what the party is doing and I hope that when I finish my own term too, people in PDP will continue to benefit from that.
“So, everyone is committed in ensuring that PDP continue to work and strive very strongly here in Oyo state”, those were the words of the Chairman Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) National Reconciliatory and Strategy Committee and former Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki during the committee’s meeting with the warring Oyo state PDP stakeholders and Governor Seyi Makinde.
Senator Saraki after separate and joint parley with the PDP factional stakeholders in Ibadan Tuesday said, ” I think it is the beginning but we have started the process.
“The commitments have been made by the governor and the stakeholders. That has started and some steps have already been taken today. We are very confident that for coming out of it, definitely, there is a new dawn ahead of us here in Oyo state.
Saraki harps on Makinde’s performance
“The first thing everybody says is that we know that our governor is performing; on the area of governance, we are doing very well, they are all proud to be associated with the governor; they believe that there should be need for more recognition to some of the people that worked hard in the election and the governor has said, I am doing my best.
“Those who have not been fully recognised will be fully recognised and they have all said once that is done by the governor, they are good to go and they are ready to work with him. So, it is just to start implementing those and rolling that down the line”.
Need for PDP to get stronger in Southwest
The ex Senate President was full of praise for the party. “The PDP is already a formidable party in Oyo state, in the South West. What we are trying to do here today is to consolidate on that and from there, we also want to move into the South West to ensure the PDP gets stronger.
“I am confident that with the calibre of people that have attended, the issues expressed; the issues are not issues that are not insurmountable and the governor has made that commitment and we all know that he is a man that will deliver by his performance and antecedents.
“And I think the country also understands that today if you look at what is happening in the other party, that the alternative for us is in Nigeria today is this party, and they believe that this party is the platform that will provide that future for us in making Nigeria a better place”.
Governor Makinde on his assured that he is ready to address all grievances within the Oyo PDP by reaching out to every aggrieved party within a short time with a view to making the party more formidable and well-positioned for victories in future elections urging that the party’s stakeholders in the state must never allow their grievances to get to the point of destroying the party by putting their misgivings behind them.
Why key PDP stakeholders shunned meeting
However, some other key figures in the Oyo state PDP crisis stayed away from the Saraki led committee joint meeting with Governor Makinde and the other stakeholders opposing the governor’s faction of PDP in the state, particularly, a leading figure in the opposing faction, Alhaji Adebisi Olopoeniyan.
Specifically, Olopoeniyan said he has to stay away from the Government House with Governor Makinde based on security reasons as well as his experience during the PDP zonal congress in Osogbo where his life was been threatened with those of other leaders of the party in the opposing camp to that of the governor.
“I cannot go to Government House because of security reasons, anything can happen. At least all of you can see where I was openly threatening with former Governor of Ekiti state, Ayodele Fayose in Osogbo then. So going there is like going to lion den. It is better for me to stay away. We have told Senator Saraki our grievances and he promised to find lasting solution to our complain”.
Another member of the opposing PDP faction, a former Majority Leader in the Oyo State House of Assembly, Hon Michael Okunlade said despite that Governor Makinde promised to take care of the party and members, they have to be conscious because this is not the first time he would made such promise, saying, ” we have to keep our fingers crossed because our issue is like once beaten twice shy”.
Place of trust among feuding parties
If the graveyard-like silence in the Oyo state PDP and other body movements in the party are to be taking into consideration, the situation in the party could best be likened to that of cat and mouse game as it was glaring that the opposing camp to Governor Makinde is still sceptical of the sincerity in the truce brokered by the Senator Bukola Saraki led committee, with a leading figure in the party, saying, ” in politics, you trust anyone, it is the interest that matters.
Though, the committee tried their best at ensuring we end the crisis in Oyo state PDP. Even, by making most of us to attend the Government House meeting, to me, that is an achievement on its own. But like I said earlier, you don’t trust too much in politics, or else , you will be greatly disappointed.
As for the situation in Oyo state, we, I mean my camp, are not sure of what will happen to the truce in the next few weeks. That is Nigeria politics for you . We are hopeful and at the same time not hopeful, because anything can still happen.