LEADING stakeholders in Peoples Democratic Party, PDP were last night formulating plans for a charm offensive towards the South West caucus of the party in the wake of the derailment of the zone’s quest for the leadership of the party.
Southwest leaders of the party have, however, welcomed the initiative, saying they would wait for whatever package the committee brings to the table before making definite commitments.
They were aggrieved over the decision of the party to open up the contest for national chairman to the whole south in breach of an earlier agreement zoning the office to the South West.
Even worse is the perception by some that Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, a major backer of Prince Uche Secondus who won the contest, allegedly denigrated the South West in the hours leading to the convention.
Yesterday, some leading stakeholders from the region expressed openness to the peace initiative, saying they would wait for the committee to unfold the details of their peace plans before making definite commitments on the issue.
In his reaction, National Vice Chairman, Southwest, Dr. Eddy Olafeso, said: “It is a welcome development. We have confidence in the committee headed by Governor Seriake Dickson because he has been proactive in appealing to the party leaders and members on the need to be united, despite the results of the convention.’’
Asked whether aggrieved party leaders would buy into the reconciliation process, he said: “definitely.”
Also speaking on the issue, a member of the party’s BoT and former Minister of Transport, Chief Ebenezer Babatope said: “The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is free to set up the reconciliatory committee. However, we will like to see what they have on the table before we know the next line of action.
“We don’t want to start jumping into frivolous conclusions, but we are open to conversation. We are waiting to see what they have before we conclude on what to do.”
The deputy governorship candidate of the PDP in the 2016 governorship election in Ondo State, John Ola Mafo, on his part, welcomed the gesture, saying everyone should give room for peace.
He said: “Although it was painful that the desire to have a Yoruba man occupy the exalted seat did not materialise, one is consoled in the adage which says, ‘he who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day’ and the caution that politics should not be a do or die affair.
“It will amount to sheer hypocrisy for anyone to suggest that lobbying and canvassing for votes and all the vices and virtues associated with same are peculiar to any platform.
“They are integral parts of the game, even at the advanced democracies of the world, though the degree varies from country to country and from platform to platform.
Responding to the initiative, the factional chairman of the Senator Buruji Kashamu-led faction of the party in Ogun State, Chief Bayo Dayo, said his faction did not have any problem with the election of Secondus as national chairman but with the delegates who attended the convention.
Dayo, who spoke with Vanguard on the phone, described the delegates that represented Ogun State as illegal and fake.
He said , however, that the emergence of Secondus was a good one, due to his experience and knowledge in leadership.
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