Ladoja not right to say there is no Crisis in Oyo PDP
Alhaji Adebisi Olopoenia, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State, in this interview with NURUDEEN ALIMI, dwells on the intricacies surrounding the crisis rocking the party in the state and what the possible return of former Vice-President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, will mean for the party’s success in the 2019 general elections.
With the way things are going, there is the likelihood of former Vice-President of the country, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to return to the PDP. If he eventually returns, what do you think this means for PDP?
Thank you very much. Atiku Abubakar, is part and parcel of the PDP, even after he left the party for the All Progressives Congress (APC). I knew pretty well that he is coming back to his natural habitat. Atiku Abubakar is one of those politicians in the country who have huge followership and that fact is part of the qualities successful politicians must possess. So, as far as I am concerned, His return will be a plus to the PDP and I am very sure the PDP under the amiable leadership of Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi, will gladly welcome him and give him the desired support in whatever form he (Atiku Abubakar) wants it.
With the situation of things within the PDP even at the national level, do you think the party can regain power at the centre in 2019?
From my personal point of view, I strongly believe that the PDP will bounce back to power at the centre come 2019. Politically and economically, the PDP is highly favoured to take over the affairs of the country in 2019. One of the reasons I said this is because the masses are really suffering, it is evident that things were not as difficult as this when the PDP was in charge of affairs at the federal level from 1999 to 2015. The country’s economy has not been this crippled, From the feedback I’m getting from the masses particularly eligible voters, the opposition parties most especially the All Progressives Congress (APC), will not find it rosy to win elections across wards, local governments and states not to talk of winning at the federal level. To cut the long story short, I am confident that the PDP will definitely take over the affairs at the centre in 2019.
Senator Rashidi Ladoja, in an interview, said there was no parallel congress held in Oyo PDP, But yourself, Engr. Seyi Makinde, Senator Hosea Agboola, Hon. Mulikat Adeola Akande and others were at Oke-Ado Baptist Church Secondary School, Libert-Road, Ibadan, holding a parallel congress, while Senator Ladoja and members of his camp were holding theirs at Watershed, Ibadan. What do you have to say?
As one of the leaders of the party in Oyo State, I expect Senator Ladoja, to have allowed his wealth of experience come to bear in resolving the crisis rattling the party rather than going to press to say there is no crisis in Oyo PDP. There was actually a parallel congress. We had agreed to put the positions available in the state exco to zoning, but when the time came for the sharing of these positions, it was so unfortunate and disheartening that majority of them were given to the Ladoja camp who just returned from Accord. As a matter of fact, the Congress was taken more serious by Senator Ladoja than this PDP national chairmanship ambition.
If there was not a parallel congress why have they failed to ratify the outcome of the Congress?
After the parallel congress, representatives of the two camps were invited to Abuja where Ladoja promised the national leadership of the party as an elder in the party to resolve the matter amicably but up till this moment, they are yet to resolve any issue. Rather, the meeting held in that regards at Ladoja’s residence last Sunday was a deadlock. The next thing we saw was to read in the newspaper where Senator Ladoja said there is no crisis in the party. If there is none, what orchestrated the meeting and why was it deadlock? From available information at my disposal, it was the Ladoja group that was adamant which led to the inconclusiveness of the meeting.
For instance, in Oyo South Senatorial district, where Engr Seyi Makinde, Alhaji Azeem Gbolarumi, a former deputy governor of Oyo State and myself are from, nobody was given anything except Seyi Makinde, even the person who was given a position was nominated for Seyi Makinde by Ladoja camp. Before Ladoja’s return, there were two groups in the PDP i.e the Senator Hosea Agboola/Hon. Mulikat Akande Adeola and Senator Ayo Adeseun/Mrs Jumoke Akinjide groups of which were known to the national caretaker chairman of the party, Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi. I want to posit that Senator Ladoja was favouring Senator Ayo Adeseun/Jumoke Akinjide camp because they were the ones that approached him to come back to the PDP and of course they have been working together since the 2015 general elections.
I make bold to say here that we, the Senator Hosea Agboola/Jumoke Akinjide group brought Seyi Makinde back to the PDP as well and to the best of my knowledge, the duo of Senator Rashidi Ladoja and Engr Seyi Makinde are major players on the political turf of Oyo State. It is so sad that those of us who have remained loyal to the party are the ones being sidelined from the mainstream participation in the party activities. In the interview, Senator Ladoja said that what is causing the problem in he party is the issue of the chairmanship position. What about other key positions? Let me highlight how other positions were zoned as against the earlier agreed zoning process: Chairman-Akinjide, Secretary-Ladoja, PRO-Ladoja, Financial Secretary-Adeseun, Youth Leader-Ladoja, Treasurer-Balogun, Legal Adviser-Alli, Woman Leader-Adeseun, Organising Secretary-Adeseun, Deputy Chairman-Ladoja. For instance, the post of the Financial Secretary was zoned to Oyo Central Senatorial district but was given to one of them from Ibadan South-East Local Government. The post of Treasurer was zoned to the Senatorial district of Hon. Mulikat Adeola Akande, the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives during the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, but was only given an Ex-Officio position.
The Organising Secretary left Accord for the APC and only returned to the PDP when preparations for our state congress were already in top gear. With all these, why won’t there be a parallel congress?. What the likes of Senator Liyel Imoke and the caretaker chairman of PDP in Oyo State ought to have done was to nullify the congresses and go by the way of Osun PDP which did not allow such to happen in the best interest of party members. The congress in Osun PDP will now hold tomorrow (Tuesday). Senator Ladoja, who was saying those that were behind the parallel congress should be sanctioned should not forget that he as a serving governor spearheaded a parallel congress at the Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Adamasingba, Ibadan, in the year 2005, while the main congress led by late Chief Lamidi Adedibu of which we were part of was also held simultaneously at the Liberty-Stadium now Obafemi Awolowo Stadium. Chief Ebenezer Babatope, who was the Chairman, Congress Committee at that time can confirm this for clarity purpose. It was as a result of the parallel congress that he went on air to inform all those in their camp and whoever cared to listen among the general public to cast their votes for the ANPP in the 2007 governorship election, but Otunba Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won.
I can still recollect that nobody sanctioned Senator Ladoja and his cohorts for their anti-party activities at that time. With all that I have been able to say here, It is evident that there is crisis in Oyo PDP and has to be resolved as a matter of urgency if truly we are serious about winning the governorship election in the state and other elective posts in the 2019 general elections. The national body of our great party under the leadership oif our amiable chairman, Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi, should please in the interest of all PDP members in Oyo State wade into this matter and allow for fair hearing so that at the end, nobody will be embittered so that our output in future elections will be meaningful and worth the while.