By Dayo Johnson & Daud Olatunji
THE STORM rocking the South-West chapter of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, calmed a little yesterday after the party’s two bickering governors in the zone found common ground on the contentious zoning of national offices allocated to the region.
Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti Stae sparked the troubleshooting yesterday, after he made a surprise appearance at the parallel meeting of PDP South-West leaders hosted by Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State in Akure.
In an apparent renunciation of his past assertions, he dismissed insinuations of bickering with Mimiko, even as he proclaimed that erstwhile Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Bode George, will forever remain a leader of the party in the zone.
His assertion in Akure nonetheless, South-West PDP leaders aligned with him at a parallel meeting in Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun State pledged the zone’s support for the emergence of Senator Modu Ali Sheriff as national chairman.
The group was hosted by Senator Buruji Kashamu, who, like Fayose, is drumming support for Sheriff against the claims of Chief George and others who converged in Akure.
Fayose, who stormed the Akure meeting, denied having any disagreement with Chief George and Governor Mimiko over the sharing of national political positions saying “I align myself with my brother, Governor Mimiko.”
He said: “Governor Mimiko and I are one and the same on party issues. Do not mind the newspa-pers. As for our leader, Chief Bode George, you can see me sitting next to him.
“We are bound to agree, whether it is convenient for us or not, when it is in the collective interest of Yoruba and the party.”
Mimiko, who hosted the meeting, said the meeting was convened when “it seemed the party in the South-West was drifting and there were cacophony of voices.
“When we say we are coming together, on the short run, there must be winners and the losers on what you consider as your critical interest: that is what is called give-and-take.
“I want to thank my brother, Governor Fayose. Both of us have resolved that in the interest of Yoruba nation we are coming together.”
A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting and read out by the former Minister of Sports, Professor Tahohed Adedoja, called on party members to unite in the interest of the zone.
The communiqué also welcomed former Governor Rasheed Ladoja of Oyo State, who sent representatives to the meeting, back to the party.
The meeting, in a major concession, resolved to accept the positions of National Secretary, National Publicity Secretary, National Auditor and Zonal Executive Committee allotted to the zone.
To this end, a structured committee was set up to equitably distribute the positions amongst the six member states.
Others present at the meeting were Chief Ebenezer Babatope, Senator Iyiola Omisore, Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Alhaji Lasisi Oluboyo; former Works Minister, Senator Adesewe Ogunlewe; former Minister of State, FCT, Oloye Jumoke Akinjide and former Majority Leader, House of Representative, Alhaja Mulikat Akande, among others.
On its part, the PDP South-West meeting held in Ijebu- Igbo, Ogun State, threw its weight behind the continuation of the party’s acting National Chairman, Sheriff, in office.
The Ijebu-Igbo meeting also expressed agreement with the zoning arrangement as concerning the zone.
Reading the communiqué at the end of the over two and a half hours meeting, PDP National Vice Chairman (South-West), Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe, said that the party needed a leader of Sheriff’s calibre to put the party on a more sound footing.
Speaking earlier, Senator Kashamu said he had no apology for backing Sheriff’s continuation in office, stressing that he remained committed to whatever would be in the best interest of the party.
Party leaders at the Ijebu-Igbo meeting were the PDP National Auditor, Alhaji Fatai Adeyanju; Oyo State PDP Chairman, Yinka Taiwo, among others.
Ondo State PDP Chairman, Dr. Olu Ogunye; members of the House of Representatives from Oyo and Ogun States, Segun Odebunmi and Segun Adekoya, respectively, among others.
Also, 38 out of the 46 State Exco members from Lagos State attended the meeting.