The decision of the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to holds its non elective national convention of the party on Saturday has raised fresh concerns in Kwara. HEAD POLITICS, MUMINI ABDULKAREEM writes more on the issue.
The last month decision of the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to hold its national convention on Saturday 12 August, 2017 may have come and gone, but the pronouncement may be far from addressing the leadership crisis that is tearing some of the states apart including Kwara.
While the national PDP at the central and some other states in the federation have moved on since the Supreme Court judgment that sacked Ali Modu Sheriff and affirmed Senator Ahmed Makarfi’s national caretaker committee, the situation in Kwara has remained the same with Iyiola Oyedepo and Prince Sunday Fagbemi laying claim as the authentic chairman of the party in the state.
According to political analysts, the state chapter of the party and its members, despite the upbeat and positive vibes coming from the centre, have not demonstrated enough readiness to bury the sword and work together to reposition the PDP for vibrant opposition in the state though the promise to do so.
Shortly after the Supreme Court judgment described as a huge respite to the impending disintegration of the party, the two gladiators in Kwara State sounded optimistic of their resolve to work together for the common good of the party. Speaking with National Pilot in separate interviews, both maintained that the apex court’s judgment would serve as a springboard to solve the leadership crisis rocking the state chapter of the party, adding that modalities have been put in place from both camps to resolve their differences.
However, recent developments from both camps have belied the seeming unity mouthed by both factions in the state.
It was gathered that the inability to find a lasting solution to the Kwara issue led to the recent summon from the national leadership of the warring chairmen to Abuja after the apex court’s victory. While coming to the capital city, this medium learnt that the factional chairmen were directed to come along with ten members each from their camps.
Those reportedly on Oyedepo’s train include former state deputy governor, Joel Ogundeji, Professor Oba Abdulraheem, Alhaji LAK Jimoh among others.
On the entourage of Fagbemi are Barr. Kunle Sulyman, Elder Ayinla Folorunsho, Iliasu Alabi, Alhaja Kudirat Alabi, Alhaji Abdulganiyu Yusuf Alawo, Iliasu Ibrahim and others.
A source who spoke to this medium from Abuja on the issue, said the party leadership under Makarfi is working towards putting an end to the crisis in the Kwara chapter of the PDP by reconciling the warring factions.
He stressed that the effort of the caretaker chairman is geared towards repositioning the party for better performance in the forthcoming local government polls in the state and subsequent elections.
But while the Makarfi-led caretaker committee is looking for lasting solutions to the lingering crisis in the state chapter of the party, the two factional chairmen, Iyiola Oyedepo and Prince Sunday Fagbemi, have continued to throw tantrum at each other with both camps laying claim to the Chairmanship position of PDP in the state.
According to Fagbemi, his name appeared on Makarfi’s list as the authentic chairman of the party in Kwara and he even went further in collaboration with his supporters to erect a new billboard bearing his photograph and name as the state chairman of the party in front of the party secretariat located along Asa Dam Road in Ilorin.
Speaking during a press briefing at the party secretariat, Fagbemi stressed that the national headquarters of the party has confirmed him as the party chairman in the state at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Abuja, recently.
According to him, NEC of the party will soon make the list of authentic chairmen across the country, public and “I’m convinced that it will come to the favour of my camp.
“I was the only one recognised from Kwara by the Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee of the party and we were called in one after the other with only my name appearing on the list from Kwara. When Oyedepo realised this, he started making moves to meet people like Sen. Simeon Ajibola and towards the end of the meeting, he rushed in. When I got to the venue of the meeting, I found my name on the list, I was accredited and I went inside the hall. All meetings attended by Oyedepo have been at chairmen’s forum and not NEC meeting” he noted.
He further stressed that there was nothing he want to gain out of the position other than to help the party win the forth coming election and subsequent polls in Kwara State adding that “I’ve ceased to care about Oyedepo and his members because I know one day, judgement will come and I’m assuring everyone, very soon letters will come from the national headquarters, the chairman of the party will be officially advertised and by the special grace of God, it will be Fagbemi, we shouldn’t portray ourselves in negative lights,” he stressed.
But Oyedepo insisted that he was the one that was picked by the national leadership of the party to chair the state chapter. He further maintained that he had been the one that has been attending all the meetings of the party at the national level before and still maintained such record with them. He denied he has never been loyal to the Ali Modu Sheriff group as claimed by his opponents.
The Publicity Secretary of the Oyedepo-led faction, Chief Rex Olawoye, however told National Pilot that the list where Fagbemi’s name appeared as the party chairman in Kwara at the NEC meeting in Abuja was forged.
He said Fagbemi connived with an official of the party at the headquarter in order to impose his name on the list, adding that the action provoked elders of the party as it was immediately corrected to Oyedepo.
“This is a straight forward issue, Fagbemi never contested for any election, so he couldn’t have won, after the party has cancelled his name that was dragged in with the help of one party official called Craig. Oyedepo’s name was registered, in fact, the party members all affirmed him. They said they don’t know him (Fagbemi) that Oyedepo has been the one writing party minutes, press releases, communiqué and the rest.
“Makarfi and Ben Obi, who later waded into the matter maintained that they know Oyedepo very well and they instructed Fagbemi to replace his name with that of Oyedepo and he did in the presence of everyone.
“Fagbemi is working for APC and that is why they’ve not been able to do anything since they’ve taken over the party secretariat.”
Speaking further, Olawoye said his faction has decided to leave Fagbemi with the party secretariat complex just to ensure that peace reigns.
Away from all the discordant tunes coming from Oyedepo and Fagbemi, the national leadership of the Party told National Pilot that it will very soon make a pronouncement on the leadership tussle that is rocking the Kwara State chapter of the party.
Speaking exclusively with Pilot Politics from Abuja, the National Publicity Secretary of the National Caretaker Committee of the party, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, said the party will soon settle the leadership tussle in Kwara to unveil the authentic chairman of the party in the state.
He said the party is compiling all names of the rightful chairmern of the party following the sack of the Ali Modu Sheriff-led faction by the Supreme Court.
“As for Kwara, we are going to settle the issue soonest. We are already compiling the name(s) of the authentic chairmen in the state and across country and by the time we publish it, everybody will know where they belong, Adeyeye added.
Meanwhile, ahead of the Saturday national convention, Makarfi has read the riot act to warring chairmen and threaten to wield the big stick on them since they have proved adamant on finding lasting solution to situation in the state, adding that they will be force to leave the party for it to move forward.
In this instance, what will be the situation in Kwara, who among Fagbemi and Oyedepo will be asked to collapsed its structure for his opponents, will Makarfi’s impending harmer, depending on whoever it falls on, be the gain of the ruling APC in the state? And in the final analysis, will the convention make or mar the PDP in the state that has refused and found it difficult to rise above its crisis/jinx, especially now that the local government election is around the corner.