From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Ahead of the October 30 National Convention of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), a fresh crisis has hit the party in the South West over the zoning arrangement of its national offices.
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, who is the only PDP governor in the six states of the South West, has been alleged to be at the centre of the crisis on the grounds that he has been working against the interest of PDP in the zone because of his purported ambition to get the 2023 presidential ticket of the party.
The spokesperson of the PDP in Oyo State, Akeem Olatunji, has dismissed the allegation, saying it is false that Makinde has been working against the interest of the South West for people from the zone to attain national offices of the party.
Sources within the party accused the governor of ensuring that the South West is deprived of key positions in the party’s zoning arrangement of its national offices, adding that his purported unstable decisions are the key reason why the position for the national chairmanship position in the PDP was zoned to the North.
Governor Makinde, as gathered, made the strongest case for the chairmanship position to be micro-zoned to the South West at the beginning of the race. The sources said the governor changed his mind later by allegedly mooting the idea for the North to produce the party’s national chairman.
According to one of the sources, ‘we were shocked when the news broke that it was the Oyo State Governor that instigated the decision of taking the position of the national chairman of the party away from the South to the North. It is a classic act of betrayal because, as a matter of fact, it was Makinde that hitherto was the chief campaigner for the Southwest producing the next national chairman of the party.
‘It was him that prompted the former Osun State governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola to throw his hat in the ring for the position of the national chairman and, without a prior consultation with Oyinlola, went ahead to engineer the zoning of the same position to the North.’
The sources also accused the governor of rooting for a Lagos-based politician, Rita Orji, to clinch the position of deputy national secretary, reserved for the South West, saying Rita Orji, is originally from South East.
‘This will not be the first time that we will have a sole PDP governor in the South West. But clearly, we have never seen this kind of character like Governor Makinde who does not consult with anyone before taking key positions. More or less, he is slowly killing the PDP in his Oyo State with his highhandedness. With the way he goes around with decision-making about the forthcoming national convention, he is abrasive and dictatorial. We had former governor Segun Mimiko of Ondo and Ayo Fayose of Ekiti, being sole governors of the PDP at different times. But neither of them carried on as if the whole of the structures and machinery of the party is their birthright.
‘What if I tell you that after denying Prince Oyinlola the advantage of becoming the national chairman of the party, Governor Makinde came to him again and pleaded that Oyinlola should step down and accept the position of deputy national chairman that is zoned to the Southwest. And after stakeholders from Osun State came out to endorse Oyinlola for the position Makinde is asking again, as I speak with you, that Oyinlola step down for his stooge as the deputy national chairman. We will square it up with Makinde because it will be too costly to allow him to do to the PDP in the Southwest what he has done to the party in Oyo State,’ a source revealed.
But the spokesperson of PDP in Oyo State, Akeem Olatunji, said: ‘Governor Makinde has a vote a d he is entitled to support whoever he wants. That is what d.emicarcy allows. Governor Makinde has not openly come out to campaign for anybody. Even, if he does, he’s entitled to stop such, unless you want to take away fundamental human rights, which we PDP in Oyo State will resist. As far as Oyo State PDP is concerned, we always align with his position because we know that he will take decisions in the best interest of the entire PDP members in Oyo State.
‘Apart from that, is Governor Makinde from Lagos? The answer is no. If Mrs Rita Orji contests for any position, definitely she must have gotten some support from Lagos as well. If somebody like that won a seat in the Lagos State House of Assembly, what stops her from attaining another position? So, nothing stops her because what qualified her to become a lawmaker in Lagos, should also qualify her from aspiring to attain another position. It is not a matter of where somebody comes from. Does she have the interest of Lagos at heart? The answer is yes. The woman is passionate about Lagos.
‘When you talked about the former governor of Osun State, Prince Oyinlola, since he left till now, there has not been any PDP governor in Osun. So, why will they kick him out of the race? It is not possible. So, let people who think that they are capable, go to the field and let the field decide.’
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