By Leke Adeseri, S-West Regional Editor, Ola Ajayi, Kolade Larewaju and Dayo Johnson
The dwindling fortunes of the Peoples’ Democratic Party in the South West is no doubt giving President Goodluck Jonathan sleepless nights.
Some even say he is personally leading the campaign to restore the party’s glory. A source said: “The president has resolved to settle the crises within the party in South West states and he believes that his electoral fortunes would be further enhanced when he brings all the pockets of dissatisfaction within the party to an end.”
The source further maintained that President Jonathan’s main strategy of retaining the confidence of all PDP delegates in him is to ensure that all factions are reconciled immediately. It was gathered that such a move will not only ensure victory for the president at the primaries but also enhance the party’s electoral fortunes at the general elections.
President Jonathan, it was gathered, had kick-started his peace moves within the PDP during his visit to Lagos last weekend.
“During that visit, the president brought together all major factions in the PDP in the South West. Loyalists of the party in Lagos, Ekiti, Oyo and Ondo were able to meet with the president and there was a return to conviviality.
Parties that have not sat together for years came together to see the president and he told them that there is the need to ensure peace within the PDP fold,” the source added
From Ogun State VANGUARD can confirm the attendance of Governor Olugbenga Daniel and his factional Chairman; Elder Joju Fadairo. It was however decided that the President would meet the party leaders from each state separately as the issues creating problems were different.
The meeting, according to a source, was mostly dominated by discussion about the states that have been lost, how to pacify the members of the party there and how to ensure that the party bounced back particularly with the other elections into the National Assembly and Houses of Assemblies, so that the party will not to lose out completely.
In the case of Ogun state, the meeting was said to have discussed strategies to resolve the crisis between the Governor Daniel group and the others led by Minister of Industries; Senator Jubril Martins_Kuye.
In the Daniel’s group were mostly Commissioners, Special Advisers, Special Assistants, Chairmen and members of Boards and Commissions and Local Government Chairmen with only one Senator, Kola Bajomo and four members of the House of Representatives. Also in the group were 11 members of the House of Assembly led by factional Speaker; Mr. Emmanuel Soyemi Coker.
In the Martins_Kuye group were two Senators –Iyabo Obasanjo Bello and Lekan Mustapha, Speaker of the House of Representatives; Mr. Dimeji Bankole, four other members of House of Representatives, 15 members of the House of Assembly led by Speaker Tunji Egbetokun, Chairman of the Party’s Elders Forum; Chief Sule Onabiyi, former Secretary to the State Government; Chief Sarafa Tunji Ishola and a host of other prominent members.
The Jubril Martins_Kuye group were however said to have the support of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The source however declined to say what the “strategies’ are.
From Oyo State:
Jonathan allegedly intervened in Oyo PDP crisis
.Gov Akala says the status quo remains
Aggrieved members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State have vowed to work towards the actualisation of President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential ambition in 2011 and reject Governor Adebayo Alao_Akala’s second term bid.
The PDP leaders led by former Governor Rashidi Ladoja at a meeting with President Jonathan at an undisclosed venue in Lagos, told the president clearly that the Ike Nwachkwu committe’s report had to be implemented and that Alao_Akala should not be fielded as the party’s standard_bearer in the governorship election next year.
According to them, the party, in its wisdom, may deem it fit to compensate him for another post after the poll.
Panacea to end the crisis
Sources at the meeting told journalists in Ibadan on Sunday that those who spoke were unanimous in their call for the full implementation of Ike Nwachukwu-led PDP National Peace and Reconciliation Committee as the panacea to end the crisis in the party and non_fielding of Akala as the party’s standard_bearer for the 2011 gubernatorial contest.
The source added that the president asked them to give him the opportunity to listen to the Akala’s group too and other stakeholders in Oyo project and this informed the invitation extended to both the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, and Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji Abdulazeez Arisekola_Alao, on the matter.
The 13 anti_Akala PDP men at the meeting were former Governor Ladoja; Chief Lekan Balogun; former Deputy National Chairman (South) of the party, Alhaji Yekini Adeojo; former Minister of Special Duties, Elder Wole Oyelese; Senate Leader, Teslim Folarin, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Ademola Ayo Adeseun; factional chairman of the party, Alhaji Yunus Akintunde, and former Secretary to the State Government, Mr Sharafadeen Abiodun Alli.
Other notable PDP chieftains at the meeting which commenced at 10.00 p.m. and ended around 2.00 a.m. were Chief Elisha Olanrewaju; Alhaji Alli Oyedeji; Mr Bayo Lawal; another House of Representatives member, Honourable Lanre Agoro, and Ambassador Yomi Akintola, son of the late Premier of defunct Western Region, Chief Ladoke Akintola.
Sources at the meeting told journalists that President Jonathan, who set the tone for the meeting, sued for peace for the party to emerge victorious in the 2011 and subsequent elections.
The presidency has reportedly advised Gov Alao- Akala to drop his governorship ambition and collect a senatorial ticket.
The advice which was said to have been given to the governor in a meeting held at Dodan Barracks, Lagos last Thursday threw him off balance as he hurriedly went to the Ota farm of the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo for next line of action.
According to an impeccable source, the presidency which was said to have intervened and asked all parties in the political crisis to sheathe their swords had a rethink when it sought the opinions of powers that be in the state.
Vanguard learnt that on Friday, President Jonathan Goodluck met the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji Azeez Arisekola_Alao and others in Lagos who reportedly did not mince words.
They were said to have told the presidency that there was no way the incumbent governor could win the state on the party’s ticket. An aide of the monarch who preferred anonymity confirmed to Vanguard that the monarch met with the president but said he could not say what transpired there.
But, responding to the matter, Governor Alao-Akala through his Special Adviser on Public Communication, Prince Dotun Oyelade dismissed it as wishful thinking.
He said, “it is wishful thinking that the opposition represented by the former Governor of the state, Senator Rashidi Ladoja had any advantage of status within the PDP”.
“What transpired was that Governor Akala did not want to engage in any dialogue with known anti party group and his stern posture was recognized by the President. The status quo as far as the party in Oyo State remains”, he stated.
It was also learnt that the Board of Trustees [BoT] Chairman of the party, Chief Obasanjo, may have been fed up with the seeming unmanageable crisis in the state.
Ladoja, Senator Balogun and eleven others were said to have told the president point blank that it would be unwise for them to endanger their political fortune with Akala as governor in the 2011 polls.
From Ondo State
A Leader of the PDP who is privy to the weekend parley who spoke in confidence said the major issue discussed was the chances of President Jonathan as against the happenings in the South West in recent times.
The Source said that the former governor of Ondo State Dr Olusegun Agagu, his Deputy Otunba Omolade Oluwateru and Prof. Olusegun Adegbulugbe represented the PDP from Ondo State at the meeting and that the crisis in Ondo state was not discussed because according to him” it is not as serious that those in other South West states and because the former President had intervened earlier.
Agagu’s senatorial ambition
Dr Olusegun Agagu is not at war with Olusola Oke in fact they are in the same group. But for Hosea Ehimlanwo he is a lone ranger who is seeking a second term in the Senate. Information had it that he has collected nomination form from the party and ready to face Dr Agagu and others in the PDP primaries.
Others PDP members that are warring with Dr Agagu over his senatorial ambition include his former aide Princes Oladunni Odu, his in_law Segun Ayerin who was a former Chairman of Okitipupa Council area of the state and the elder brother of Chief Jimoh Ibrahim, the business mogul, Akinsola Jimoh also a business man.
It could not be confirmed if the crisis in the Ondo PDP was discussed at the weekend meeting but Vanguard learnt that the Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had recently intervened by holding a peace meeting with the former Finance Commissioner Chief Tayo Alasoadura faction after the group dragged Dr Agagu before the former President over the crisis in the party in the state and the domineering posture of the former governor.
Dr Agagu is set to publicly declare his intention for the senatorial seat in the Southern district area of the state soon which may further widen the gulf within the party as many believe that it is not morally right for him the vie after assuring that he was no more interested in political position after the Court of Appeal judgment which ousted his barely two years ago.