Will Lagos PDP Sustain The Peace It Desired - The Top Society

Will Lagos PDP Sustain The Peace It Desired

ADEWALE AJAYI

May 1st which is international Workers day, celebrated across the globe as workers day, was a day members of the Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), chose to take a retrospective view on the development  within their party, in the last two decades and do a postmortem on it, to determine what was amiss in the party and why it has become almost impossible for the party to produce a governor for the state in the last 25 years democracy has been in place.

Determined to move the party forward, so that it can give the ruling party in the state, the All Progressives Congress (APC) a serious fight in the 2027 general elections, its elders and leaders met to brain storm, to give directive to its members on the necessary steps needed to be taken to achieve the desired goal.

Among the leaders and elders at the meeting were the former deputy national chairman to the party, and life member of the PDP board of trustees Chief Olabode George, former minister for cooperation and integration in Africa Dr. Abimbola Ogunkelu the first elected chairman of the party in the state, Alhaji Muritala Ashorobi the party chairman in the State, Hon.Philip Aivoji, deputy state chairmen for the three senatorial zone and  the party chairmen from  across the 20 local government areas in  the state.

Though, the party governorship candidate in the last general elections Olajide Adediran(Jandor) and his supporters were absent at the meeting.

The meeting was initiated by a chieftain of the party, Tony Ogungbe to do a postmortem analysis on the party performance at the last general  elections, which was adjudged the worst performance in the electioneering history of the party in the state.

In his welcome address its state chairman, Aivoji noted that, what was paramount was moving the party forward and reposition it for victory in future elections.

He noted by saying,“this meeting is to inspire party members to come together, to set aside differences, and work towards a common goal of strengthening the PDP in Lagos State”

Aivoji explained that, before the party can be moved forward in the state, it is exigent to acknowledge the challenges and division that have plagued it, “this party, the PDP in Lagos State, we must recognise that internal conflict and disunity has hindered our progress and weaken our position in the political landscape.

“Furthermore the roadmap to bring development is this gathering,our anxiety and timelines to strengthen the party position in Lagos State, this strategic plan involves grassroots mobilisation, voters business strategy, capacity building for the members,as well as enhancing the party visibility and relevance in the political landscape in Lagos State.

“Doing this is not just in word, it is our collective effort to put aside personal interest and grievances for the greater good of the party.

“As members of the PDP in Lagos State we have  to prioritise unity above everything else, it is only through unity we can harness our collective strength and make meaningful reconciliation.Reconciliation is the cornerstone of a stronger and more cohesive party, it involves forgiveness, understanding and a willingness to move forward together, let us embrace reconciliation as the foundation of moving forward and to have a better party,that is the roadmap for a better PDP in Lagos State,” Aivoji summed up his postmortem analysis of the party.

On his part, Dr.Ogunkelu has a different view to his submission, he observed that some members of the party do not respect its constitution and act contrary to its provisions and they get away with it, without any punitive measure for such act.

He observed that some new entrants into the party are placed above some old members of the party, and as such they see themselves as very important and as such rough shoulder with leaders of the party.

He wondered, how can  a new entrant into the party can just wake up and say he has sacked the state chairman of the party and other leaders of the party, and no action was taken against such personality by leadership of the party.

Ogunkelu  said such attitude would encourage others to be recalcitrant.

The former minister however, called for the entrenchment of the party constitution, just as he charged its members to be committed to bringing about change in Nigeria, saying that can only be possible by rebuilding the PDP, so that it can be in power again.”We can’t achieve this if we keep fighting, we find out hands of the opposition is in our fight. We have been divided, we need to go back to rebuild the party.”

He however, urged leaders and members of the party to respect the party constitution because lack of respect for it, is the bane of the problem in it.He also enjoined leaders of the party to allow democratic principles prevail in picking candidates for election and shun the idea of imposing candidates, he said such act discourages members and destroy the party.

Ogunkelu said for serious reconciliation to be achieved, it must start from the grassroots because there lies the strength of every political party.

Chief George said  “we are where we are today because of self-inflicted crisis, so, this is the time reconciliation should be on top of our agenda. We should bury our Individual ambition now and not allow the PDP to crumble. We have no choice than to put our house in order,” he charged members of the party.

He maintained that, being a foundation member of the party he will never do or say anything against the interest of the party just as he abhors and hate injustice at all levels.

Chief George did promise to do everything humanly possible to ensure that the PDP did not go into the dustbin of history in 2027. “God forbid this should happen to our party.

“It is our determination to ensure that the PDP returns to the Presidential Villa in Abuja and take over Governance in Lagos State on May 29, 2027 but, we can only do this if we are united, not divided. I spent 10 years as a top official of the National Working Committee (NWC) of our party, so I know how the system works.

“If we want to win the 2027 Gubernatorial election, in Lagos, we should not allow ourselves to be divided.

“We must change the narratives now,so that we don’t embark on a suicide mission, a self-destructive journey for our party in 2027 with the suffering in the land and the mismanagement of the economy by the ruling APC in Lagos since 1999, Lagosians are waiting for us in 2027 to kick APC out of Alausa.”

He added that the PDP has been the engine that propel Nigeria to move forward,and if the party collapses Nigeria may collapse

“If PDP collapses today, Nigeria may also collapse because this party is the engine room of our country.”

Ashorobi noted that, members of the party should corporate with their leaders and desist from  apportioning blame.

Ogungbe who was unequivocal in his appeal said, the party performance in the last general elections was the worst in the annals of election history in the state, he maintained that the party flag bear for  the governorship position plundered the party’s fortune because,, he relegated leaders of the party, and arrogate to himself the power of the most important in the party, so he was the one that  determined who get what, without recourse to leaders of the party.

He said that,his action frustrated members of the party and weakened the party, adding that there was the need to reinvigorate the party for better performance in 2027.

It is a good move to reconcile members of the Lagos State chapter of the PDP, to achieve this, sacrifices needs to be made, but how serious members of the party are about bringing  the genuine reconciliation is a food for thought.

One can observe that some sacrifices have been made already,by some leaders of the party, because Aivoji was not Chief George favourable candidate for the chairmanship position, he had routed for Dr Amos Fawole, when Aivoji eventually emerged he dismissed the outcome of the congress that produced him and castigated Bayelsa State governor Doyle Diri that superintend the congress, for failing to abide by  the decision of party leaders who had earlier settled for consensus candidate, for him to now accept him as the chairman shows he is committed to moving the party forward.

Another obstacle on the way of the party on bringing truce is Adediran (Jandor)and his followers, though he joined the party in a build up to 2023 general elections but his conduct has earned him more foes than friends, probably he was imposed on the party by the likes of the party presidential candidate in the last election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and former Senate President Dr Bukola Saraki, this might have informed his arrogant attitude to old members of the party, disobeying the party leaders and flouting the party constitution at will.

Jandor, at  a meeting  with members of his support group earlier in the year said that leaders of the party who purportedly supported another candidate during the last general elections have ceased to be members of the party.

The PDP governorship candidate, at the occasion declared himself the leader of the party in Lagos,  he said some leaders of the party who openly declared for another candidate, both during the presidential and governorship elections are no longer members of the party.

He berated former deputy national chairman of the party, Olabode George and former chairman of the PDP in Lagos State, Deji Doherty for working against him in the 2023 general elections.

This singular action exacerbated the situation of things in the party, and those loyal to Chief George saw his action as an aberration.

Pledging their loyalty to Chief George elders of the party, after a meeting held, passed a vote of confidence on him describing him “as the undisputed leader of the PDP in Lagos.”

The elders, stated this in a communique issued at the end of their meeting,on the way forward for the party after coming a distant third in the last governorship election in the state.

Those that signed the comunique former Deputy Governor, Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele; a former National Secretary of the party, Dr Charles Akintoye; Retired Permanent Secretary, Dr Layi Ogunbambi; Jandor’s Campaign Director General, Dr Seye Dairo – who resigned on the eve of the election from his position – and 18 others.

The elders, in the communique, therefore warned Jandor to desist from further denigrating leaders and elders of the party.

Jandor fell out of favour when he started disregarding advise of leaders of the party. In the build up to the party primaries Gbadebo Rhodes Vivour who eventually emerged the candidate of Labour party for the governorship post was in the PDP, and he was prevailed upon to step down for Jandor, so he would become his running mate, when Adediran eventually got the ticket, he jettisoned the agreement arrived at, giving the excuse that he had promised the late leader of his group princess Adenrele Ogunsanya that, he would pick his running mate from her town, Ikorodu, this made him to settle for Funke Akindele, his action was seen as a betrayal of trust, so he was left in the lurch.

Speaking further on the reconciliation move, Chief George said he does not nurse grudge against anybody in the party, he posited that the  quarrel in the party was a shenanigan, and disregard to the party constitution encouraged what is happening in the party.

“If you thoroughly believe in an organisation, you are bound to have disagreement, you disagree without being disagreeable, you don’t need to be standing as if you are a statue, that is what we are doing here, one needs to reflect nationally, because the party is into kind of crisis divided, personality don’t own the party, even if you become the president of the country. They say primus inter pares, first among the equals, it is not a private enterprise, and you must listen, and you must be a servant leader. Humility you must reflect, will pull people towards you.”

If genuine reconciliation should be done every member of the party should be carried along, irrespective of where his or her allegiance lies, what should be the concern of every member of the party by now, is the interest of the party and not personal interest.

The dream of the party to rule Lagos State can be achievable if members of the party can speak with one voice.

In his words, Dr Ogunkelu, the opposition have a hand in the fight within the party, to some extent is correct,many at times the party has played into the hands of the opposition party, which makes it difficult for it to have an edge over the ruling party in the state.

There are some members of the PDP who constantly play the role of fifth columnist, and divulge every secret about it to the opposition, some are even on the pay role of the ruling party.

One wished the reconciliation move being made this time around is sustainable, many at times in the past the party members been reconciled only for them to jettison the collective agreement when election approaches, the believe in some quarters is that the state chapter of the party is jinxed, time shall tell if the party will be able to break the jinx or not.

Sounding a note of warning to all members of the party, one of its leaders Dr. Niran Adeniji urged them to note that nothing is hidden, and everybody is watching what everyone is doing to promote the party or to demarket it.

Dr. Adeniji stressed that, if the party succeeded in producing the next governor for the state and president for Nigeria, it means the common interest of the masses who are constantly yearning for a change has been met.

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