The Holy Book says, “a house divided against itself cannot succeed.” The PDP Southwest is presently looking like that house. It behoves every well-meaning member of the party to take steps to correct matters. It is time for the National Working Committee of the PDP to carry out their duties. This is not the time to avoid stepping on toes. It is time to take decisive action that will ultimately save the party from itself.
Although it is barely two years since the last elections, 2023 is already around the corner. We have heard of talks and seen cross carpeting as politicians position themselves to clinch power nationally, regionally and within states. But, while one of the leading national parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC), are trying to reposition their party despite the cracks- the People’s Democratic Party seems to be on the downward spiral.
Nigerians are looking elsewhere for a semblance of hope after the abysmal performance of the APC at the national level. They are looking for an alternative. One would expect the PDP to be positioning itself to become this hope. Instead, there is internal wrangling and infighting.
The PDP Southwest Zonal Congress, which should have held yesterday, March 6th, is under spurious litigation. Some members of the party instituted a law suit to stop the congress in the southwest. Just last week, Governor Seyi Makinde was forced to hold a press conference calling out the national working committee of the party.
However, former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose and his supporters appear to be the ones fueling the crisis. For some time now, Fayose has taken over the opposition’s job, openly speaking against fellow party members.
It is on record that he openly campaigned against Senator Abiodun Christine Olujimi, A PDP senatorial candidate in 2019. His antics failed. She was returned to the Senate when the Court of Appeal ruled in her favour that her mandate was stolen. As the senator representing Ekiti South constituency, she is the current highest ranking political office holder for the PDP in Ekiti State, though Fayose refuses to acknowledge this.
More recently, Fayose is antagonising the only PDP governor in the southwest, Seyi Makinde, citing some imaginary leadership tussle. Although Fayose frequently claims that Governor Makinde wants to be his leader in the southwest, he has not presented any shred of evidence to that effect.
In fact, when Makinde was asked about Fayose’s issues with him in a recent press conference, he declined to talk about him as he alluded to the Roosevelt quote about small minds discussing people.
Interestingly in 2016, a similar crisis rocked the PDP Southwest as members dragged the national leaders and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court to restrain them from holding the Southwest Congress. Back then, Fayose was also in the middle of the controversy.
The then PDP scribe accused Fayose of “causing confusion in the party” while the then governor “questioned the powers of [the PDP secretary]to give directive in [party] matters.
It would be foolhardy to ignore the importance of the southwest and southwest votes to national politics. It is safe to say that the party that controls the southwest controls the nation.
Let us make this clear, as the only PDP governor in the southwest, Governor Seyi Makinde is PDP Southwest’s leader. It is disingenuous for Fayose to be dragging this position with him. When Fayose was governor, he spoke for the southwest and was the leader of the southwest. This is the time for him to show he is an elder and imbibe the spirit of political sportsmanship. He should defer to the ranking officer in the southwest – Seyi Makinde.
The facts remain that unless the PDP uses its internal mechanisms to end these wranglings, the fate that befell it at the national level in 2019 will befall it again. This is the time for the National Working Committee led by Prince Uche Secondus to rise to the challenge. Persons who are working against elected members of the party, the people’s choices, cannot mean the party well. The party’s national leaders should realise that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. They cannot continue to remain silent while some elements within the party run riot. They cannot afford to factionalise the party at this time.
Perhaps it would be a good idea for the national leadership to take the advice of Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Collectives, Professor Tejumade Akitoye-Rhodes, who said, “If the present managers feel overwhelmed and incapable of equitable leadership, it is our strong belief that they should step aside graciously for a National Caretaker Committee whose vision and commitment will be predicated on instilling discipline, justice, fairness and sincere leadership to the party.”