The tug of war over the supreme leader of the South West PDP between Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and Ayodele Fayose will finally conclude today, because of the South West Zonal Congress that will take place in Osogbo, Osun state today.
Their camps have been at loggerheads over who should direct the structure of the PDP in South West, especially the party’s SW leadership with their struggle further exacted by the re-election bid of the immediate past national vice-chairman of the South-West PDP, Chief Eddy Olafeso who Fayose supports while Governor Makinde endorsed former deputy governor of Oyo State, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja, for the position.
Also, Governor Makinde wanted Lagos State as an alternative venue, Fayose preferred Ogun State. This disagreement between Makinde and Fayose now propelled the PDP National Secretariat to move the venue of the congress from Ibadan to a neutral venue; Osogbo.
Dr Doyin Okupe, talking about the congress, shared his thoughts about the party leadership question.
He was not optimistic about “an amicable settlement between Makinde and Fayose after several unsuccessful attempts were made by leaders and elders at the zonal level.
“Efforts were also made directly by the national secretariat and indirectly by the indefatigable Bukola Saraki’s reconciliation committee. All to no avail,” Okupe stated.
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 Governor Sanwo-Olu of Lagos to say he is the leader of APC in Lagos, official or unofficial. But let’s rest this argument here.
“As for Governor Makinde, his attempt to destabilize established state party structures 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 tomorrow’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 history lessons. And as the saying goes “those who the gods must destroy, will firstly be made mad.” Those, who have ears, let them hear.”
Contenders for the available positions have been screened on Sunday at the Aenon Suit Hotel, GRA Osogbo, crawling with security agents brought in to make sure today’s party congress to elect new Zonal executives remains peaceful.
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.