The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State has distanced itself from the decision of some party leaders to declare support for Chief Eddy Olafeso as the national vice chairmanship candidate at the coming zonal congress.
Some factional leaders represented by Chief Nureni Akanbi, Alhaji Bisi Olopoeyan and Femi Babalola, had in a statement yesterday declared support for Olafeso, who is being backed by the former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose.
They made the decision at a meeting in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, according to the statement.
Fayose is at loggerheads with Governor Seyi Makinde over the control of the party in the Southwest. Although the constitution recognises Makinde as the leader of the party in the zone, Fayose insisted that he cannot run roughshod over other party leaders in the zone. He holds onto Olafeso’s leadership, which he installed while he was the zonal leader of the party when serving as governor. Makinde is rooting for an Oyo State indigene as the next national vice chairman. Olafeso is from Ondo State.
The communiqué signed by the leaders read: “We came here to strategise ahead of the Southwest congress. It is necessary for us to come together and sharpen our tools ahead of the congress. We deliberated on a lot of issues and reached a positive conclusion in all that we discussed.
It is no longer news that there’s no chairmanship candidate coming from Oyo State. There is an agreement made that we are going to return the Eddy Olafeso executive and every leader from all the states is still standing on the agreement. So, Oyo State cannot be left out and we don’t want anybody to use his or her selfish interest to cause dispute in our great party.
“We are still going to hold more meetings before the congress, but the issue of chairmanship for the congress is settled. Oyo State is supporting the effort to return Eddy at the coming congress.”
Reacting, however, the state Publicity Secretary, Akeem Olatunji, said the dissenting leaders only expressed personal opinion, stressing that they did not speak for the party.
He said the party was behind Governor Makinde who is pushing for an Oyo State indigene, adding that Olopoeyan and his group members were only moving against the interest of the state.
Olatunji said: “That is not our position. That is their personal opinion, and they have the right under the constitution to express their opinion.
As far as we are concerned, we are solidly behind Governor Makinde. We can’t sell our birth right. Since 1999, Oyo State has not produced the zonal chairman (national vice chairman). This is our golden opportunity. The only way a game can be balanced is when each participant enjoys equal opportunity. Why not Oyo State this time? Anyone working against this agenda is working against Oyo PDP’s interest. We align with Governor Makinde’s position for Oyo PDP to produce the next zonal chairman.”