By OLUSESAN LAOYE
The Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) is now plotting new strategies to ensure that it takes over the entire South West in 2023. Already the party has embarked on a massive reconciliatory move which resulted in the unification rally in Ibadan Oyo state on March 13, where some of the notable big-wigs who had left the party returned.
Sources hinted that the unification rally, where the likes of the former governor of Osun State Prince 0lagunsoye Oyinloa, who had also served as the National Secretary of the party, the former Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Alhaji Taofeek Arapaja and other notable politicians from the APC, Zenith Labour, SDP, ADC went back to the PDP after eleven years, was just one of the plans mapped out to ensure that party takes back the entire South West which had eluded it since the past eight years.
According to one of the leaders of the party, Madam Kofo Bucknor Akerele, “what happened in Ibadan for the coming back of Prince Oyinlola and others, said the rally was just one of the plans to make sure that we take back the entire South West, taking the advantage of the crisis in the APC”
Just as Mr Ayodele Fayose, former governor of Ekiti state did to unite the party when he was only the PDP governor in the South West, the Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde wants to avoid it and has started strategise and from what members of the Party observed, his approach would bring back the much-desired unity and victory for the party. Makinde it was said outlined various ways of bringing unity in the PDP commencing from his Region.
Makinde, it was further learnt had mapped out strategies on how the primaries of the party would be conducted and how to elect fresh officers to man the party nationwide ahead of the 2023 general elections. That was why the Southwest unification rally which brought Oyinlola and others back was initiated and bankrolled by him.
As chief Yemi Akinwoni, Deputy National Chairman of the PDP (South) said, “Governor Seyi Makinde has now become a rallying point and is doing his best to unite the party and that is why he is now spearheading this historical unification rally that has brought our brothers back to the fold where they belong”.
Akkineni, who represented the National Chairman of the Party, Mr Uche Secodus at the rally, further said “the return of our former members and strong pillars of the party when they were with us now mark the beginning of good things in PDP in the South West. With them now with us, the party would have a good outing in 2023, because this is a good omen for the PDP”.
The host, an initiator, Makinde in his address said that the coming back of the party’s erstwhile leaders marked the fresh wave of unity which will move around Nigeria and it “has now started in the Southwest”
He said that the unification in the Southwest would unite the whole of Nigeria. The governor commended the leaders of the PDP and their efforts to reconcile aggrieved members across Nigeria.
“I have dedicated myself to the cause of uniting all tendencies in the South West, as united PDP in the South West would reflect the other parts of PDP in Nigeria. I am not a saint or a devil, but what we are dealing with is a game of numbers”.
Former governor of Ekiti State Fayose said “we have started well and I am happy that I have my brothers, especially Prince Oyinlola and Fatai Akinbade who are now ready to take Osun back for PDP”
Prince Oyinlola, who gave the reasons why he came back to the PDP, said his decision with his followers was informed after studying the political situations in Nigeria and he was convinced that there is no other political party strong as PDP where love exists.
After studying the political situation in Nigeria I decided that the best option for me is to the PDP where I rightly belong and where oneness is paramount to all and not individuals. I am therefore calling for unity and oneness in the Party so that we can move forward to greater heights and move forward to our glorious days”
The Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Duoye Diri, said he was happy to be part of a new beginning in the PDP and was optimistic that what happened in the South West would reflect in other parts of Nigeria. The national organising Secretary of the PDP Co.l Austin Okobudu (rtd) said “we are now battle-ready for the South West and entire Nigeria and nothing will stop us from coming back to rule the country”
The former Deputy National Chairman South, of the PDP, Chief Olabode George, said the PDP has bounced back and he was happy that the PDP has not been infected with coronavirus as it infected the APC which was confirmed by one of its leaders.
The chieftain of the party said “Without any doubt, PDP remains the only national party in the country and now ready to take over from the virus-infected APC, which has been carrying out self-centred agenda of one ethnic group in Nigeria, which we are going to reverse when we come back to power. We in PDP are happy now that Nigerians now know the party that is deceiving them; now the difference is clear.”
Meanwhile, Alhaji Fatai Akinbade said that with them back in PDP, as a strong and formidable force, the APC should now be ready to pack out their mess in Osun State as “we are not going to leave any room for them to manipulate the electoral process which they got away with as a result of the division in PDP which made some of us leave the party.”
The battle for who controls the Region had always been between the progressives and the conservatives, since the first Republic. Before the imbroglio in the South West within the Action Group (AG), the region had been under the firm grip of the AG, but when the crisis broke out in the party, with the leader and the then Premier of the Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo incarcerated for treasonable felony, a splinter group, led by his Deputy, Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola, joined the Nigerian National Democratic Party(NNDP) that ruled the West, before the Operation “Wetie” that led to the military coup of 1966.
When the county returned to democracy, in 1979, the progressives headed by Chief Awolowo under the platform of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) controlled the South West including Edo State, now in the South-South of Nigeria.
The same scenario was repeated in 1999 when the progressives took over the Region under the Alliance for Democracy (AD ), but the then President of Nigeria from South-Western Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, changed the scenario to save himself from embarrassment as members of his political party, the Peoples Democratic party laid siege to use the local government elections in the region to deprive him of a second term knowing full well, that there was no way his party, the PDP, would win even a local government seat
By 2003 the PDP was in control of five of the States in the Region, with only the Lagos State controlled by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu left out. This was the situation until the progressives bounced back, but it has not been able to have total control of the Region.