Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party in the South-West Zone held a zonal caucus meeting in Ibadan on Tuesday where they stressed the need for a united front ahead of the zonal congress of the party slated for March 6.
In attendance at the occasion were Governor ‘Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun State, Senator Olu Alabi, Senator Abiodun Olujinmi, Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Adebo Ogundoyin, and former Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Taofeek Arapaja.
Governor Makinde stressed that the party must be united and reconciled in support of the Prince Oyinlola Reconciliation Committee.
Describing the zonal caucus meeting, held at the Presidential Lodge of the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan, as history in the making, he said the political redemption of the country could not take place without the contributions of the South-West zone.
He stated that the meeting heralded a zonal congress that would help put in place a new PDP zonal executive in the South-West, stressing that it would help to install a new government both at the state and federal levels in 2023.
“I want to use this opportunity to thank the reconciliation committee led by former Governor Oyinlola. He made sure that the necessary things were done to bring everyone together. At the end of the day, I believe we will have a reconciled and united party in South-West PDP.
“We are on the verge of history. A lot of people may not know but I can give you the assurance that our coming together to put in our executives that will lead our party in the South-West zone is history in the making. This is because there cannot be redemption for our country without the participation of the South-West. Our party will provide right leadership for the country in 2023.
“The journey to install PDP in 2023 is starting now with this zonal congress. So, I can only pity those who are staying outside and throwing stones inside. I want to also state that history will record their position accurately. I will encourage us to urge them to come in. We have the reconciliation committee already. This committee has been trying to reach out to them and they have said they are not ready to participate.
“We will continue to reach out to them because if we are all united, we have the chance to redeem Nigeria,” the governor said.
The governor unveiled a former Deputy Governor of Oyo State and former Nigerian Ambassador to Lebanon, Chief Arapaja, as Oyo State’s sole nominee for the chairmanship post in the zone, which he said had earlier been zoned to the state.
He said the choice of Arapaja was arrived at after thorough consultations across the state, adding that whoever would be zonal chairman must be rich in experience.
Makinde said, “I want to also urge that for each of our state, let us ensure there is inclusiveness. All the tendencies in our different states, let us all come together and agree on whoever we want to put in each of those positions so that by the time we get here by March 6th, the exercise will be funfair. That will be my expectation and message to everybody.
“I asked some of our members to consult our leaders and they came back with a feedback message. They said in South-West, we need depth; we need experienced and honest person and the name they gave me was Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja to lead the charge. And I told them we will unveil him at this meeting, I believe the way we have done in Oyo State is what we want replicated in other states of the zone.”
Earlier, the zonal caretaker chairman of the party, Dayo Ogungbenro, stressed that the zonal caucus would take place in line with the stipulation of the party’s constitution, adding that the zone had earlier on November 12, 2020, zoned posts to the six states.
Among those in attendance are former governors Oyinlola and Segun Oni; former deputy governors of Lagos, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti and Ondo, Senator Kofoworola Bucknor Akerele, Erelu Olusola Obada, Arapaja, Dr. Sikiru Lawal, Prof. Olusola Eleka and Ambassador Omolade Oluwateru; BOT members, Dr. Saka Balogun and Chief Segun Adegoke.
Others are serving and former National Assembly members including Senators Olujinmi, Kola Balogun, Duro Faseyi, Kamorudeen Adedibu, Hosea Agboola, Hon. Stanley Olajide, Tajudeen Obasa, Yemi Taiwo, Abass Adigun, Tunji Shoyinka and Rita Orji.