By Henry Odeh
•Oyo governor rules out parallel congress•’Reconciliation talks by Ladoja, a rumour’•Governor betrays elders, says ex-Ekiti governor
The feud between Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde and former Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose over the proposed Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) zonal congress deepened yesterday.
Makinde said the detractors of the party in the Southwest would be fought and defeated.
Fayose described the Oyo governor as a failed governor, who does not deserve re-election.
He said the governor had decided to betray party elders, who assisted him during the electioneering, by turning his back against them.
The ex-governor ruled out any reconciliation with Makinde, saying he is an obstacle to dialogue.
Fayose told reporters in Lagos that Makinde had the effrontery to query the decision of the National Working Committee (NWC) on critical party matters, thereby making a mess of party leadership.
He alleged that the Oyo governor was behaving as a politician itching to run the NWC along with his state, adding that he had evolved strategies for division and polarisation of the party in the Southwest.
The former governor, who was reacting to comments by Makinde, who vowed to ensure that reactionary elements in the zonal chapter would be fought and defeated.
Makinde was reported to have warned the NWC against postponing the zonal congress billed for March 6.
He said the zonal chapter will explore legitimate avenues to get the chieftains to do what is right for the party.
But, Fayose said Makinde has deluded himself into thinking that he is the zonal leader because he is a governor.
He said:”Makinde is a failed governor. He has proved it by his inability to protect the people of Oyo State. He has demonstrated more than enough reasons not to be fielded as our PDP candidate again. He has betrayed trust and in our group, we will not sit with him in dialogue.”
Makinde ruled out the possibility of a parallel congress in the face of the plan by the national leadership to postpone the zonal congress.
The governor described as a rumour the purported plans by former Governor Rashidi Ladoja to facilitate reconciliation between himself and ex-governor Fayose.
He alleged that the PDP national legal adviser hasd engaged in acts capable of deepening the crisis rocking the zonal chapter.
Makinde accused the national officer of playing a divisiv role in the Lagos chapter when it was beset by crisis.
He said: “I am the only serving PDP governor in the Southwest and very interested in the growth of our party. We don’t foresee a parallel congress because as someone once said to me that if you see a rat, stay•Oyo governing out there and abusing the cat, there must be something behind him. Maybe, he has a hole to quickly run into.
“This is why we are putting the National Working Committee of the party on notice that they must do what is right in this instance, and I believe they will do what is right.
“In terms of any reconciliation meeting, there is nothing like that. I haven’t had any meeting with Baba Ladoja. I think it is just a rumour that has been flying around. There is nothing like that.”
Makinde said he would not attack Fayose, adding that he would only discuss issues.
He added: “I do not really have anything to say about people because small minds can actually talk about events, average minds talk about people. We want to talk about issues. So, if there are issues, we will address them.
“When individuals decide to go low, we won’t follow them to that dirt. If there are issues, the alternative dispute resolution mechanism exists within the PDP, and that is being explored right now.
“I am occupying a very sensitive position. First, as the only PDP governor in the Southwest. Two, as somebody that is in the leadership position within our party.
“We will explore all avenues that are legitimate to get everyone to do what is right for our party, including the National Working Committee of the party. This is exactly what we are going to do.”
He noted that the party will only agree to the postponement of the congress, if the terms and reasons are acceptable to all.
He said: ‘’The National Working Committee has decided to postpone the zonal congress, for the reason that is acceptable to everybody, then, we will work with them.
“But, if they are towing the path of ‘arrangee’, an apology to Fela, I think Nigeria has moved beyond that, and that would mean they are taking PDP back to an era that we should have forgotten about in this country.
“Even, if they do, there are some of us in that party that we are bent on taking the party to its rightful position and to get the party ready for the leadership of the country. We will fight those reactionary elements until they are defeated within the party.
“I heard of a disturbing news that our National Working Committee is planning to postpone the Southwest zonal congress because some people went to court to complain about the location for the conduct of the congress.
“Well, there are three things coming out of the court move.
“One, PDP has moved from allowing within its fold reactionary elements to hold the sway. Maybe, it was possible in the past for the elements within the PDP to collude with NWC to file cases where they are the plaintiffs and the defendants, and they also tried to corrupt the judicial system in Nigeria.
“That will never be allowed again because this is a PDP that is getting ready to take the mantle of leadership in this country, and we are ready to provide the leadership that is above board for the country. And we cannot be seen within PDP to do something that will compromise any aspect of governance in Nigeria.
“I specifically put on notice that the National Legal Adviser of PDP has not done well. When the issue of the party structure in Lagos came up, I met him personally and I advised him that we have an alternative dispute resolution mechanism in this country, especially if it is PDP to another PDP, he should explore alternative dispute resolution mechanism.
“He said we are going to defeat them in court. So, if you defeat them in court, what exactly are you going to get out of it?
“Now, they have started the same antics with the Southwest zonal congress. How can you file a case and then instruct the legal representation for the plaintiff and also for the defendant? I don’t think that is acceptable. We expect the National Working Committee of the party to deal with that decisively.
“We are ready in the Southwest PDP to have a congress that will produce the zonal executives that is acceptable to the majority of the people of Southwest Nigeria.”
On the Zonal Caucus meeting held in Ibadan on Tuesday, Makinde said the meeting resolved to ensure peace within its fold.
He added: “At the meeting, we reaffirmed the zoning arrangement for the positions of the Southwest zonal executives, and also each state, by now, has been able to put together a unity list, which we intend to take to the congress proper.”