• APC crisis festers
Chieftains from various factions within the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ondo State met at the state capital, Akure, on Monday to chart a way forward for the party.
Their solidarity is coming in the wake of a festering crisis in the ranks of the All Progressives Congress, APC, whose factions are bickering over the coming Ilaje/Eseodo Federal Constituency by-election in the state. The PDP chieftains, at the end of a crucial meeting in Akure, pledged to work together to take over the state in the next election.
The meeting which was called at the instance of Nigeria’s former ambassador to Greece, Prof. Olu Agbi, was attended by leaders of the party from the three senatorial districts in the state.
Briefing journalists, Deacon Ayo Fayefunmi, said the chieftains of the party came together to bury their differences and move it forward. According to him, the disunity and continuous bickering witnessed in the party in last few years contributed to its loss to the opposition in the state.
Fayefunmi said: “The meeting is the final reconciliation of PDP leaders in Ondo State. Hitherto, we all know that there are various factions of PDP, but by the grace of God, we have come together to bury the hatchet and we now have one PDP in Ondo State.
“We have addressed a number of issues that affect the growth of our party, and we have resolved to take bold steps in reposition the party in the state.” He said the party is set to win the forthcoming byeelection in the state slated for April 5, 2014, stressing that the area is one of its strongholds in the state.
He said: “We have taken a look at the bye-election that is coming up in Ilaje/ Ese-Odo Federal Constituency and PDP is highly determined to work hard to ensure that we win that election. That is one of our strongholds. Less rigging which we will not allow, we will win the election hands down.
“We have also looked at issues that can take PDP to victory in 2015 and, unanimously, we pledge our unalloyed support for Mr President and the National Chairman of our party.
“We have already arranged a meeting to formally pay a solidarity visit to the national chairman and the president of this country. Also speaking with journalists, the Group Managing Director, GMD, Energy Group and Publisher of National Mirror, Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim, OFR, described the meeting as the beginning of good things to come to the PDP in the state.
He said the outcome would reposition the party and make it stronger. Ibrahim said the party remains a party to beat in the state, affirming that the leaders have closed ranks and are working round the clock to ensure victory.
He said: “It is a good beginning for PDP in our state. And all our leaders are here, you can see them: elderly people, professor, among others. So, that shows a new beginning.” Ibrahim, however, said that the party is set to reclaim all the South-West states and expressed his optimism that President Goodluck Jonathan would win the next presidential election, if he seeks another term.
His words: “Don’t joke with PDP’s desire. When PDP says it is going to win an election, you should take it very serious. I have never seen an incumbent in a developing country losing an election. I don’t know how the opposition will do it because the incumbent president will always win.”
Another party chieftain, Princess Oladunni Odu, assured supporters in the state that the PDP is poised to bring back the good old days in the South-West. Odu said: “As you have seen, the old crop of PDP members sometime ago went and worked with the Labour Party. We have seen some who actually went to the (All Progressives Congress) APC and are back.
We have seen those who remain steadfast in PDP. “All of us have come together because we now realise that with a united house, we can go places. We have a bye-election and we know with this unity that we have now; we are surely going to win.
“There is nothing impossible; PDP was controlling the South-West in 2003. PDP had virtually all the states in the South-West, except Lagos. If we work hard, if party differences are put aside like we have done in Ondo State, I am sure elections will be won come 2015.
“With the strength we have in PDP, I am sure we are going to win the 2017 governorship election, the (House of Assembly and in the National Assembly elections, you will see the PDP having many seats.”
Some of the leaders at the meeting include, the chairman of the party, Prof. Olu Agbi, party leaders, Ebenezer Alabi, Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim, Oladunni Odu, Mr. Tokunbo Kayode, Mr. Eddy Olafeso, Hon. Albert Akintoye, Senator Hosea Ehinlanwo, Mr. Mayowa Akinfolain, Dr. Tayo Dairo, Lad Ojomo, among others.
Meanwhile, some members of the All Progressives Party, APC, in Ondo State have urged the national leadership of the party to quickly resolve the crisis in the state chapter so that it does not escalate. In a letter to the APC National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, they accused the Rotimi Akeredolu-led faction of activities capable of destroying the party in the state. The letter was signed by Chief Noah Adesoji, Olalekan Obolo and Yemisi Aladesaye, former state chairmen of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, and the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, respectively.