By Mumini AbdulKareem and Kayode Adeoti
More facts emerged last night on how the reconciliation efforts between Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and some former members of the Kwara State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party hit the rocks.
It was gathered that there were series of meetings held with a bid to arrive at a workable solution between the camp of Saraki and the PDP leaders in Kwara but which unfortunately failed to materialise.
According to a source who was privy to the development, prominent party leaders like former minister of Sports, Bio Ibrahim, former minister of National Planning, Prof Abubakar Suleiman, embattled former PDP chairman, Iyiola Oyedepo among other leaders of the party in the state were the arrow heads of the negotiations with the leadership of the ruling APC and opposition PDP.
The source said Oyedepo had initially agreed to meet Saraki after the intervention of the national leadership but reneged to honour the arrangement before news of his defection with other members of his faction to the APC filtered in.
While Prof Abubakar, Bio and others met the national leadership of PDP, Oyedepo and others were seconded to meet with APC chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu in a bid to weigh all options available before arriving at a decision.
According to the source, Oyedepo, Prof. Abubakar and other leaders of the party were scheduled to meet in Abuja at the house of former minister for Foreign Affairs, Tom Ikimi.
Other national PDP leaders that were expected to attend the meeting included former governor of Cross Rivers State, Liyel Imoke, who headed the committee to resolve the Kwara issue.
Narrating what transpired to our reporters, the source said Oyedepo had agreed to work with Saraki and was given 48 hours to meet with the Senate President.
“Right there at the meeting in Tom Ikimi’s residence, Oyedepo was asked whether he was ready to accept Saraki and work with him and he said yes.
“The former governor of Benue State; Gabriel Suswam then asked what grudge does Oyedepo and other PDP leaders from Kwara hold against Saraki. He (Suswam) told them that he currently has about four cases in court all on the instance of governor Samuel Ortom but that did not stop them from reconciling”.
“Oyedepo was then given 48 hours to meet with Saraki and Prof. Abubakar was told to coordinate the meeting”.
It was after the intervention that Oyedepo agreed to meet Saraki in Abuja who was then in Ilorin where he came to announce his defection from the APC to the PDP.
“But when Saraki came back to Abuja on Wednesday and he was contacted the next day, he agreed to meet the PDP leaders around 5pm.
“Oyedepo was to lead other members to meet Oshiomhole 3pm same day in line with the arrangement to explore all the options on ground before arriving at a decision. Prof. Abubakar was left out of the APC meeting to finalise arrangement with Saraki.
“But when the ex-minister tried to reach Oyedepo and others to enquire about the outcome of their meeting with Oshiomhole and also inform them that the Senate President has agreed to meet them, Oyedepo’s phone was switched off. He managed to get Moshood Alaka who was told to hand over the phone to Oyedepo.
“He then told Prof Abubakar that they had met Oshiomhole and that the former minister should give him time to call others members in preparation for the meeting with Saraki.
“It was while waiting for Oyedepo’s call that news surfaced on social media that they have defected.
“Part of their grudges was that arrangement to give any governor that decamped 6o per cent of the party structure in the state but it was Bio Ibrahim who told them they defected the last time, they had 100 per cent before they dropped that argument”, the source divulged.