The feud between Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and Ayo Fayose, former governor of Ekiti State, has further deepened the crisis in the South-West chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and is making reconciliation of aggrieved members a herculean task, Daily Independent has gathered.
Findings by our correspondent revealed that the duo had been at loggerheads over the control of the party in the zone.
Fayose has been at loggerheads with Governor Makinde over the latter’s role in Ekiti PDP crisis as well as the leadership of the party in the South-West. Chairmen of the party in Ekiti, Osun, Ogun and Lagos states have aligned with Fayose, while the PDP chairmen in Oyo and Ondo states took sides with Makinde.
Sources in the party said in line with the party’s constitution, Makinde, as the only PDP governor in the South-West, is the leader of the party and should be given preference when decisions regarding the party are to be taken.
He also has the responsibility of organising the party and leading the assault for the reclaiming of other South- West states from the All Progressives Congress (APC).
However, the Fayose camp opposed Makinde’s alleged interference in the affairs of Ekiti PDP. According to them, the Oyo governor who sees Fayose as a threat is doing everything possible to take the control of the party from him and hand it over to Senator Abiodun Olujimi.
The crisis escalated on November 11 when a zonal faction, led by Governor Makinde, set up the reconciliation committee headed by a former Osun State governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, in Ibadan, which is expected to bring together aggrieved factions of the party in the zone.
Two days later, the faction led by Fayose also set up a parallel zonal reconciliation committee headed by Engr. Femi Babalola. Other members of the committee are Chief Kolapo Ogunjobi, Ahmed Okandeji Mustapha, Chief Idowu Odeyemi and Chief Tunde Akindehin.
Speaking with Daily Independent, Lere Olayinka, the South-West Zonal Director of Media and Publicity of the PDP, alleged that Governor Makinde is deliberately fueling rebellion in the party through his undue interference in the affairs of the state chapters.
He said, “There is really no crisis in the real sense of it. Rather, what is playing out in the party is the struggle for control, which is normal in any human organisation. It is majorly about someone arrogating to himself a kind of power that he does not have. When you are from Lagos and you want to control the organs of the PDP in my local council in Ekiti, there will definitely be resistance and that’s exactly what is happening in the zone.
“To me, it is nothing to be worried about because in PDP the moment the issue of the party organs is settled, everyone will fall in line. It has happened in Ekiti before. In 2012, when we had 318 and 310, the group whose candidate won the state chairmanship with 318 votes went on to take all the State Exco positions. The other group, whose candidate got 310 votes, did not get a single member of the State Exco. Two years after, PDP won the governorship election overwhelmingly”.
Speaking further, Olayinka said, “The truth is that Governor Makinde chose to interfere particularly in the party issues in Ekiti, Osun and Ogun states. As the only governor that we have in the South-West, he can intervene. But instead of intervening, he chose to interfere, and as expected, there was resistance from these states.
“For instance, in Ekiti State, he unilaterally made a formula for sharing local government and State Excos. He presented a proposal that all the six local government chairmen in Ekiti South Senatorial District be given to Senator Biodun Olujimi. That is a Senatorial District where we have two immediate past House of Reps members and the 2018 governorship candidate, Kolapo Olusola-Eleka.
“Then, he went further to propose that in Ekiti Central where former Governor Ayo Fayose and people like us are from, Olujimi should produce the party’s secretary in the five local government areas. And he was told clearly that in Ekiti PDP, we don’t have culture of sharing party positions, it has always been winner takes all. Eventually, we had our congresses in Ekiti and elected Excos at the wards, local government areas and state levels were ratified by the NEC.
“But contrary to the decisions of the party at the national level, Governor Makinde chose to invite a self-appointed state chairman of the party to meetings in Ibadan. So, to us in Ekiti, the governor is deliberately fuelling rebellion and you don’t expect us to be clapping for him”.
However, responding to Olayinka’s claim, Engr. Akeem Olatunji, the Oyo State PDP Publicity Secretary, said the problem was because Fayose refused to accept the fact that Makinde, as the only governor of the PDP in the South-West is the leader of the party in the zone.
Olatunji, who described Olayinka as an impersonator, said he is illegally parading himself as the zonal publicity director of the PDP, adding that the position does not exist in the party.
“Lere Olayinka used to be the spokesperson for the former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose. He is not an official of PDP as far as we are concerned. Who made him South-West zonal director of media and publicity? He just arrogated the position to himself.
“He is an impersonator and what he has done is criminal in nature. It is criminal of him to be parading himself as the South-West zonal director of media and publicity because there is no such position in the hierarchy of the PDP in South-West. The public should just disregard him and the law enforcement agencies should take note of this act of impersonation.
“Lere Olayinka and his paymaster have been warned to desist from fanning the embers of discord in PDP because we believe that they have ulterior motive for doing that. They have a second option if they are expelled from PDP unlike Governor Seyi Makinde who has no other home aside the PDP. He is a member of PDP as long as the party is in existence unlike Lere’s paymaster who will praise Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who happens to be running for presidency in APC in the day and be claiming membership of APC at night.
“As far as we are concerned, Governor Makinde is only interested in a viable PDP that can win election. He wants other states in the South-West to benefit from the method that was used by the PDP in Oyo State. As far as the South-West PDP led by Hon. Dayo Ogungbenro, the Caretaker Chairman of PDP in South-West is concerned, he and his members have already set up a reconciliation team led by Chief Olagunsoye Oyinlola to reconcile all our aggrieved members.
“All the anti-party activities that Lere Olayinka and his paymaster are exhibiting should be curtailed by the national leadership. These people do not even have respect for the reconciliation team set up by the national leadership to reconcile aggrieved members throughout the nation.
“When Fayose was the governor, everybody accorded him respect, including Oyo PDP. But we don’t know why it is difficult for him to accord Governor Makinde the due respect as the PDP leader in South-West. Makinde is not interfering in the running of the affairs of the PDP in any of the states, including Oyo. He allows us to operate the way we want in Oyo State not to talk of all other states”.
When contacted, Kola Ologbondiyan, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, said the national leadership of the party has already intervened in the disagreement between the two leaders through the national reconciliation committee headed by former Senate President Bukola Saraki.
“If you recall, the party constituted a national reconciliation and strategic committee headed by former Senate President Bukola Saraki. The responsibility of the committee is to look at all areas of disagreements within the party and reconcile aggrieved members”.