By Olusesan Laoye
The crisis rocking the Oyo State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which has been going on for over a year now, is yet to be resolved despite the recent visit of the former Senate Leader Senator Bukola Saraki’s national reconciliation committee’s mediation to reconcile the warring groups in the state.
Senator Saraki’s team had met the groups at loggerheads and preached peace and the need to come together but the outcome of the meeting, it was learnt, may not achieved the desired result if all the conditions laid out for a truce were not adhered to.
The national reconciliation committee it was learnt had told Governor Seyi Makind to within 30 days to ensure that he did what would make him and the aggrieved members of the party work together for the unity of the party in Oyo State.
Since the election that brought Governor Makinde to power through the combined team of coalition of political parties to edge the All Progressives Congress out of power in 2019, the PDP in Oyo state has been a house of commotion.
Few months after his election, there were signs that the accord that brought Makinde to power would soon crack as the major players in the accord started complaining that the governor was becoming heady to implement the agreements reach before the election.
The major parties of the ADC led by Senator Femi Lanlehin who agreed to step down and the Zenith Labour party of the former governor of the State Senator Rashidi Ladoja, where Barrister Sarafadeen Ali was nominated as candidate but also conceded toMakinde, had at the initial stage of the PDP government complained that the formula for sharing of political offices agreed to by the parties involved in ensuring Makinde victory, were not followed.
Right now, the initial crisis has now snowballed into a bigger one which has affected both the PDP as a party and the government of Makindeas well.
The governor no longer faced the issue of the opposition or those in the coalition that made him governor but now contending with the oppositions of the people within his party.The likes of Chief Adebisi Olopoenia, Hon Mulikat Akande Adeola, Hon Marina Anjibola, and Engineer Femi Babala (Jogor) among others.
The battle against Makinde has even led to these leaders of the party forming their own faction and establishing a parallel party secretariat at Bodija, Ibadan.
The leaders who claimed that they were maginalised in government and the party by Makinde who favours only his cronies, argued that they had no alternative but to separate themselves from the PDP controlled by Makinde to set up their own secretariat to salvage the party from being totally bastardized.
The latest developments in the party have revealed a lot of issues.For instance, members and some stakeholders in the party were not happy over the imposition of candidates in the recent Local government election in the state.
They claimed that the choice of the people were not taken into consideration by the governor who imposed his own candidate against the wishes of the generality of members and the people.
These people are still very bitter and governor Makinde will have to appease them.
The dissolution of his cabinet is another major issue which is causing ripples in the party. It was alleged that Makinde in the heat of the crisis with the aggrieved leaders intentionally dissolved the cabinet to edge out core party to jettisoned leaders who were opposed to him and had members in his cabinet.
It would be recalled that some members of his former cabinet were those constituted by party leaders and stakeholders after his election in 2019 and since some of these leaders are now at loggerheads with him he had to get rid of their nominees.
Although when he reconstituted his cabinet last week, he reappointed some of the sacked ones, party members and leaders kicked, saying, that he only picked those who were his cronies. This has made the crisis in the party to be more intense.
Apart from the fact that the leaders and the governors were involved in imbroglio, it has extended to the youths of the party who are now divided.
Those loyal to governor Makinde in all the 36 local government of the state staged a protest against the youth leader Adekola Adeoye and his group who were with the aggrieved leaders dissociating themselves from the actions and utterances of their leader against the governor.
The issue of the sacked 314 local government Workers who were alleged to have used fake documents to gain employments and his alleged face off with the Muslims are some of the burning issues which the governor would have to resolve before 2023.
Already some of the sacked local government workers have gone to court for illegal termination of their appointments, alleging that the Makinde’s administration sacked them to be able to fix their people in their positions.
Some of them are also suing the government to claim damages for defamation of character for saying that they forged certificate to gain employment.
According to one of them a graduate of English and with Masters in Public Administration from the University of Ibadan who wanted anonymity, “I want to say that Governor Makinde who people think is a good man has let a lot of people down. Some of us don’t know why he did this to us and how they came about that the certificate I obtained from the most prestigious University in Nigeria is fake.
“What I want to say is that Makinde’s government is evil. We are taking legal action against the government in two ways for wrongful dismissals and defamation. They have to prove whether our certificate of 20 year and others with 10 years is fake when we get to court.”
Also some Muslim groups are now offended and vowed that they would deal with him and made sure he never got reelected for a second term for wanting to demolish a mosque at Bodija which he claimed was built on a recreation centre.
The leader of the Muslim Right Commission (MURIC) Ishaq Akintola while reacting to the Makinde’s government’s action on the Mosque said other governors before him never ventured into destroying the Mosque or tamper with the rights of Muslim in Oyo State but only Makinde wanted to dare them and intend to eliminate Islamic landmark in the state by his policies.
“We are waiting for him and we would make sure that he did not get reelected for a second term come 2023”, the Muslim cleric said.
Some of his loyalists who spoke on it said, they just can’t believe that the WhatsApp groups could be used by some people to post all kinds of rubbish adding “it has turned to something else and you can’t imagine finding the governor in such a group without decorum and which has deviated from the original purpose for which it was formed:”
Saraki has revealed that the reconciliation meeting held in Ibadan was successful.He said the committee listened to the concerns of the stakeholders in the party.
In addition to this, “all the stakeholders in the party have resolved to set aside their differences as we move forward to ensure that our party is well-positioned to replicate the great performance that we have seen in Oyo State under the PDP at the national level.”
Although Senator Saraki did not disclosed details it was learnt that his committee gave Governor Makinde up till August 30 to mend fences as the leader of the party in the South West, following which other things would follow.
But observers believed that the ultimatum may not work as the governor may not want to align with those he had already done away with.
The arrow head of the aggrieved leaders Chief Olopoenia, said that they hope the governor would take to what the Saraki committee told him to do, so that the cracks already in the Oyo PDP would be cemented and be strong again.
He said that they were ready as leaders to ensure the unity of the party “but the governor as directed by the national committee on reconciliation should do the needful for us to move forward to the next stage as no tree can make a forest”.
Olopoenia said “although we did not attend the meeting held with Makinde at the government house but we met the Saraki’s committee in an hotel and we were told that they have given governor Makinde a ultimatum to run an all inclusive government and must work by the demands of the aggrieved members for true reconciliation to be achieved”