Former governor Rashidi Ladoja of Oyo State has stated that Engr. Seyi Makinde has apologised to him for attending a parallel congress of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Insideoyo.com had reported that factions led by the two PDP chieftains held separate congress in Ibadan, owing to irreconcilable differences to produce Alhaji Kunmi Musapha and Chief Jacob Adetoro as chairmen.
Answering questions on whether his camp had embraced those who are trying to break away by conducting parallel congress, Ladoja, who is national chairmanship aspirant of the PDP, said: “Who are those trying to break away? Seyi Makinde is not leading them; I will show you Seyi’s text message. He apologised for being at that congress. So, Seyi Makinde is leading who?”
Ladoja explained to Nigerian Tribune, how the trio of Makinde, Senator Hosea Agboola, Hon. Mulikat Adeola Akande and other leaders organised the parallel congress.
He said: “That was their choice. I said there was no parallel congress because one, there was a caretaker committee that was put in place, which comprised 33 people from Oyo State with the chairman and secretary from outside the state. They agreed on the sharing formula of the positions and it was signed by some leaders, including Seyi Makinde and Hosea Agboola. They were signatories to that agreement. After that, it was agreed that every senatorial district should take the positions shared to them and share among the federal constituencies or local governments. Oyo South shared its own. Oyo Central also shared its own among the federal constituencies; same for Oyo North.
“The only thing that was causing contention was the position of state chairman and it was said that it had been zoned to Oyo North, which had two distinct zones; Oke-Ogun and Ogbomoso. They zoned three positions to Ogbomoso and six to Oke-Ogun. In their wisdom in Oyo North, they said the constituency that produces the chairman may not have any other position and so it happened that Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Kajola/Iwajowa federal constituency produced the chairman and that is the only thing it was supposed to have out of the six positions zoned to Oke-Ogun. Saki East/Saki West/Atisbo federal constituency was given three positions, which was shared to each local government while Irepo/Olorunsogo/Oorelope got two positions.
“But when they were not able to resolve the issue of chairman, the leadership of the party in Oke-Ogun brought the matter to me and they all came. I called the two individuals eyeing their chairmanship post: Alhaji Kunmi Mustapha and Chief Jacob Adetoro and I talked to them. Adetoro said he would go and consult with his people and that for him, their chairmanship was not a do -r-die. They asked us to suspend the meeting at 3p.m. and reconvene at 6 p.m. We resumed at 6p.m. But Adetoro said his people didn’t have problem with him not contesting, only that the two of them vying for the position should be dropped. However, other leaders from Oke-Ogun said that could not be, that he could not say that the other should be dropped. You know, the situation was like the case of the two women with one dead child and one living child who went to King Solomon for justice and one recommended that a living child should be cut into two just to prove it belonged to her. So, I reminded them that the same thing played out during the party’s congress in 2012 and I asked where it led the two of them. The two of them were the contenders for the state chairman’s position in 2012 and when they could not agree, they brought in Yinka Taiwo as a compromise candidate and we all know what happened.
“So, I said we do not want that this time. I asked Chief Adetoro who his leaders were; I said I knew Seyi Makinde was one and Seyi was sitting down at the meeting. I asked Seyi for his view on the situation and he said whatever you leaders decide. Then, I called Hosea Agboola on the phone and told him to come to my house and he came. When he came, he said that since we have said that we had handed decision-making on the matter over to Oke-Ogun leaders, whatever decision they took was okay by him. But Adetoro said we should give him the opportunity of meeting some of the delegates who had already come to Ibadan so as to tell them that was the decision we had taken. And they [Seyi Makinde, Hosea Agboola, Adetoro] said that by 9p.m. we should reconvene. But on the day of the congress, we just heard radio announcements in the morning saying the chairman of the caretaker committee, Honourable Tunde Akogun, had changed the venue of the congress [to Baptist High School, Oke-Ado]. That was illegal. They could not make such announcement in Akogun’s name. They didn’t say they were going to do a parallel congress; they were all members of the congress committee and they even contributed money towards the conduct of the congress at Watershed. So, whatever they did on that day was an afterthought. It was a question of saying “we have lost out in the political calculations towards the congress, how can we start another crisis so that people will listen to us?”
“So, there was nothing like a parallel congress, because if you look at it, there were about 1,200 delegates for the congress and at Watershed, there were more than 900 delegates despite the misleading announcement, that Akogun had changed congress venue. You know some delegates might have been misled to go to the venue they announced. We know how much was given to people to make sure that those who were not delegates participated in what they called a parallel congress. That was a parallel congress that the congress committee of the party from Abuja did not attend; that committee was led by former Governor Liyel Imoke. He was not a mean person. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Department of State Security operatives and policemen were at Watershed. Who was at the so-called parallel congress? It was just an afterthought; it was done to arouse recognition. I don’t think they are serious about it.”
He went further, stating that “the only issue that arose, as I have told you, was that of the state chairman and there was a congress where an election was held. Someone scored 920-something votes out of 1,200 and you are still saying some issues arose. Which issues?”
On the insinuations that there are moles in the new PDP, who might be working to destablise efforts being made to reposition it in the state, he said: “It is not impossible. There are some people who will be sponsored by the opposition party to stay and be causing confusion. But political parties are voluntary organisations and anyone can be a member and you cannot send anyone away unless you have a convincing reason. But when you are coming into an arrangement like this, all the latitude that you had in your party will not be there. You know that in this PDP, members of the Accord Party, Social Democratic Party, Labour Party, Alliance for Democracy and old PDP members are coming together, so there are bound to be some issues. Do you even know that the so-called crisis is still among the old PDP members and has nothing to do with the four other parties that came together? The two people that were fighting over the chairmanship, Mustapha and Adetoro, are members of the PDP. If you can remember, it is as if they are carrying the crisis of 2012 over to 2017. So, that division in the old PDP can always resurface but the party machinery will be strong enough to deal with it.”