In a last-ditch effort to secure a united front in the national convention to elect national officers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), stakeholders of the party from the Southwest zone have concluded negotiations on candidates to adopt as consensus options.
Sources at the consultative meeting held in Lagos on Wednesday say that the stakeholders have concluded on former Osun State governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola as the deputy national chairman (South) and Hon. Debo Ologunagba as the national publicity secretary of the party. Oyinlola and Ologunagba are from Osun and Ondo states respectively.
Leaders of the party who organized the meeting, according to a source, are dissatisfied by the highhanded disposition of Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and thereby forging a united position to checkmate the only PDP governor from the region.The meeting, which was learnt to have been attended by state executive officials and elders from Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti states decided to throw their support behind Oyinlola on account that he is competent and was the first person to signify intention for the position. In addition to that is their claim that the emergence of Oyo State former deputy governor, Taofeek Arapaja was a creation of Governor Makinde.
A source who was part of the meeting said that “majority of party officials from other states in the Southwest are not happy with the way Governor Makinde has handled the affairs of the party. The PDP in the Southwest is one big family and we recognize the fact that the governor is the leader of the party in his state. In the current situation where Governor Makinde is the only PDP governor from the Southwest, we recognize him to be the leader of the party from the zone.
“But leadership requires that you take everybody along. When we organized election for the position of zonal chairman for the PDP in the Southwest, Governor Makinde sponsored Arapaja, and even though a large number of people went against his position, we still delivered his candidate in the person of the self-same Taofeek Arapaja from Oyo State.
“Again, this time around, after we, the stakeholders of the party had micro-zoned the position of the deputy national chairman to Osun State, and with Prince Oyinlola signifying intention for the post, our leader, Governor Makinde went behind us to bring this same Arapaja from Oyo State against our wish. Oyo State alone, is not Southwest and we would have expected that this time around, the governor would generously concede the position of deputy national chairman to someone from another state in the zone but he didn’t do that.
“Now, remember that the Osun State governorship election is next to the 2023 general election. It is one election that is crucial for the PDP to win. We, the stakeholders, believe that Prince Oyinlola, having been governor in Osun State and with records of his achievements in office, should be the person to lead our campaign in the Osun State governorship election. For him to play that role well should require that we, as a political party, recognize the asset that we have in Prince Oyinlola and decorate him with the position of deputy national chairman. He has a more colourful appeal than Ambassador Arapaja in leading campaigns in the Southwest and that is why today, we are all in agreement that Oyinlola should be the most senior party official in the Southwest.
“On Saturday, we will deliver our votes for him and network with our other colleagues and party members from other zones to affirm support for Oyinlola and secure his victory,” a source who pleaded anonymity said.