The Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last week took one of its most audacious steps yet to find solution to its troubled state chapters with the inauguration of caretaker committee for the party in Kwara State. HEAD POLITICS, MUMINI ABDULKAREEM ask whether the new step will for once bring succour to the troubled state branch of the party.
Penultimate Wednesday, the Kwara state chapter of the much troubled Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), got what literally can be described as lifeline with the inauguration of a caretaker committee to look into the crisis that had threatened to consume the party. Headed by Chief Tunde Akindehin from Ondo state, expectation are high in the polity on how the new sailor would steer the ship.
During the swearing-in ceremony in Abuja, the National caretaker committee chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi “assured that defectors into the party will be accorded equal rights and opportunities, adding that window for reconciliation with aggrieved members will remain open in the face of reconstitution of state chapters of the party. According to him, the major task before the caretaker committee(s) is to set up local government and ward caretaker committees immediately; a development he explained, would end with state congress and urged those aspiring for elective positions at the state congress not to hold any seat in the caretaker committees.
He advised that “Power comes from God. In whatever we do, let us be guided by this singular knowledge. You can’t be too smart for God. You can’t be too rich or too poor. You must always have mutual accommodation for one another. This guiding principle will make it easier for us to live with one another”.
Following that narrative, the party, it was gathered, requested the two main gladiators in the crisis and factional chairmen, Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo and Prince Sunday Fagbemi to forward the names of ten members each that cut across the three main senatorial districts in the state that will constitute members of the caretaker committee.
In separate telephone chats with the ex-warring and former factional chairmen of the party on the issue, they expressed satisfaction over the selection of the names.
Oyedepo described the list as a unifying adding that it was selected by leaders of the party who have the interest of the PDP at heart.
He said “it is a well structured list and I don’t think anyone can be discontented over it; the list marks the beginning of our preparation for the forthcoming local government elections in the state. We structured it together, it is a unity list, and there is no problem about it; it’s a good step towards preparing for the local government elections, whoever wants to contest, is just to meet the caretaker committee”.
On his part, Fagbemi corroborated his erstwhile opposition and noted that he is comfortable with the list. He said what is left for the party is to start setting out modalities for the LG poll.
“I’m comfortable with the list, very shortly everyone will see the action the party will put up to reposition the party for a better height in the state,” Fagbemi said.
But political analysts in the state have interrogated the seriousness of the party this time around. Acceding to many of the party’s critics, for a party that was once castigated as crisis jinxed, with some even offering teasing statements like “just what will the political gods accept as sacrifices for the Kwara state chapter of the party for it to redeem itself”, arising from its last state congress in 2015.
In his first meeting with the leaders and supporters of the party in Kwara State, Akindehin, perhaps speaking on the bitter experience of the past which rendered the party almost comatose as an opposition party, said its past, impunity and cleavages are gone for good, adding that PDP is now a “changed party”
“We have formally resumed today September 5, 2017. Some other members of the committee led by the secretary resumed yesterday. PDP is a changed party. We have come with a big bang with a lot of activities, innovations, re-engineering and impunity of the past is gone for good. So Nigerians should have confidence in our ability to now bring a robust, civilized political activity to the state. We will also appeal to the press not to at anytime hesitate to either get to any principal officer of the party at the state level or myself to clarify anything that is not clear on the activities of the party. We can assure you we have come here to bridge all the misgivings of the past to ensure that peace, unity is returned permanently to the party. No more cleavages, the cleavages of the past would be a thing of the past. We will ensure that everybody is carried along in the decision making of the party and that recruitment of members is transparent. We don’t know how the Nigerian ship is being steered. And for those who are conscious of the future of our children, we must wake up from our slumber to enthrone good governance and democracy. PDP will not be short of that”.
Since that “braggadocio” of Akindehin, the party had gone ahead to assure newsmen at the party secretariat located in Asa Dam road that his committee had been able to settle all contentious issues among its leaders. He added that the PDP is “battle ready for council poll” slated for November in the state.
“PDP has all it takes to emerge victorious in the council poll. We have been able to settle all the contentious issues among party leaders in the state and all our leaders are now united. We have all it takes to contest and win the forthcoming council poll in the state”. He cautioned the state Independent Electoral Commission (KWSIEC) against deviating from the provisions of the nation’s electoral law in conducting the council poll and that any act of arbitrariness in the process and conduct of the election will be rejected and challenged in the court of law.
But how concrete are all the talks of unity dominating discussions now in the party? Will this be another game or failed and disappointing reconciliation move especially with the status of the suit filed by Oyedepo still uncertain?
At the stakeholders meeting held at the secretariat, several leaders from both camps, including Oyedepo and Fagbemi promoted the talk of unity and getting it right this time. How that will play out still remains to be seen.
Attended by the former governorship candidate of the party, Senator Simon Ajibola, the pioneer chairman of the party in the state, Barrister Kunle Sulyman, Prof. Shuaib AbdulRaheem and Senator Suleiman Ajadi, among others, they all canvassed for the need to do what is right and position the slumbering and battered giant to rise again as a virile and optional alternative to the ruling party.