• Monday, May 20, 2024
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Discordant tunes trail efforts to rebuild Lagos PDP

PDP

There are growing fears among observers that recent efforts to end the lingering crisis in Lagos State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) may not yield the desired result.

Many members are hopeful that this reconciliation process would soon give way for peace ahead of future polls.

After the dismay performance of the party in the 2023 general election in the state which was caused, partly by the division among leaders and the non-acceptance of the party’s gubernatorial candidate, Adediran Olajide popularly known as (Jandor) by some stakeholders, there are calls by the party’s members for genuine reconciliation to move the party forward.

Some members and leaders doubt the sincerity of the committee set up to initiate the peace process in Lagos State.

Many say they are not moved as there was nothing new in the current reconciliation process, noting that such attempts in the past had broken down towards another election cycle.

However, there are those who say that it was the right thing to do, because the party cannot continue to disintegrate, while members defect to other parties.

There are those who have also called for discipline in the party, saying that no member can be bigger than the party, while disagreements was part of party politics.

The Lagos PDP crisis did not start today, over the last twenty years the chapter have always been engulfed in one crisis or the other, leading to woeful performance in elections.

Party leaders and chieftains have always found it difficult to unit and work together especially during major elections.

This was the case last year, where the party had its worse outing in the gubernatorial election in the state since its inception in 1999, in which the party’s candidate, Jandor came a distant third with 62,449 votes, against the winner Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s, 762, 134, candidate of the All Progressives congress (APC) and Labour Party candidate (LP) Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour who scored 312, 329 vote to place second.

Just like at the national body, the Lagos PDP has been in disarray since after the 2023 general election, with some leaders and members defecting to join the ruling APC and LP in recent months.

However, after several indoor meetings, some elders and leaders last Wednesday held a reconciliation meeting to strengthen unity in the state chapter ahead of the 2027 general election.

At the stakeholders’ meeting organised in Ikeja, the party chieftains emphasised the need for forgiveness and unity within PDP to brighten the fortune of the party in the next general elections.

Many of the leaders who spoke at the event pleaded for members to put their differences aside and unite.

Most of the leaders warned that it was time for members to embrace unity in order to rebuild the party, which they said Lagosians were eagerly waiting for to take over power in the state due to current hardship in the land.

Speaking at the event, Bode George, former deputy national chairman of the party (south), said with the suffering in the land and the mismanagement of the economy by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) another golden opportunity awaits PDP in the next election in 2027.

George warned that PDP members must ensure that the party did not go into the dustbin of history in 2027.

He reiterated on solidarity to the tenets of the party constitution, saying that the collective unity of the party must not be fragmented.

“So, this is the time for all elders and members of PDP to be concerned about the future of our great party.

“Obviously, party unity and inclusiveness of all members are ingredients to a viable strategy for our future electoral victories. Some might say 2027 is still far away but realistically, it is not; by 2026 two years from now), politicking will start for the 2027 elections.

“It is our determination to ensure that the PDP returns to the Presidential Villa in Abuja and takes over Governance in Lagos State on May 29, 2027 but, we can only do this if we are united, not divided.

“I spent 10 years as a top official of the National Working Committee (NWC) of our party, so I know how the system works.”

While acknowledging the crises in many state chapters of PDP, he opined, “I will recommend that a zonal committee should go round the states and zones in the next six months to calm frayed nerves and encourage genuine reconciliation.

“We are where we are today because of a self-inflicted crisis, so, this is the time reconciliation should be on top of our agenda. We should bury our Individual ambition now and not allow the PDP to crumble. We have no choice than to put our house in order”.

He further pointed out, “If we want to win the 2027 gubernatorial election in Lagos, we should not allow ourselves to be divided.

“We must change the narratives now so that we don’t embark on a suicide mission, a self-destructive journey for our party in 2027, with the suffering in the land and the mismanagement of the economy by the ruling APC in Lagos since 1999, Lagosians are waiting for us in 2027 to kick APC out of Alausa.”

In his address, the Lagos State Chairman of the party, Philip Olabode Aivoji said the reconciliatory and unity gathering signified the PDP’s commitment to internal cohesion, solidarity among its members.

Aivoji added, “In organizing a reconciliatory and unity gathering to design a road map for a better People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, it is crucial to emphasize the importance of unity, inclusivity, and strategic planning. This speech aims to inspire party members to come together, set aside differences, and work towards a common goal of strengthening the PDP in Lagos State.”

Speaking in the same line of thought as George, the chairman noted, “Before we can move forward, it is essential to acknowledge the challenges and divisions that have plagued the PDP in Lagos State.

“We must recognise that internal conflicts and disunity have hindered our progress and weakened our position in the political landscape,

“Furthermore, the roadmap being developed at this gathering will outline key initiatives, action plans, and timelines aimed at strengthening the party’s position in Lagos State.

“This strategic plan will likely encompass areas such as grassroots mobilisation, voter engagement strategies, capacity building for party members, as well as enhancing the party’s visibility and relevance in the political landscape of Lagos State.

“Unity is not just a word; it is a collective commitment to putting aside personal Interests and grievances for the greater good of the party. As members of the PDP in Lagos State, we must prioritize unity above everything else. Only through unity can we harness our collective strength and make meaningful progress.

“Reconciliation is the cornerstone upon which we can build a stronger and more cohesive party. It involves forgiveness, understanding, and a willingness to move forward together. Let us embrace reconciliation as a foundation for rebuilding trust and solidarity within our party.”

Controversy trails peace move

Meanwhile, some members of the party in the Lagos State have dismissed the reconciliation efforts by some chieftains, saying that it was an exercise in futility.

Speaking with BusinessDay Sunday, they said the reconciliation effort would fail because it was not all inclusive.

Some members also called me the sanctioning of those that worked against the party in the 2023 general election in the state.

“There can’t be genuine reconciliation without sanctioning of those that worked against the party. They turned and worked for the APC after collecting money and here you are talking about peace,” a party member who spoke on the condition of anonymity said.

Also speaking, a chieftain of the party in Lagos East, Olarewaju said he does not believe the current peace move was not sustainable because the real issue had not been addressed.

He said any peace process would break down before the 2027 general election.

According to him, “They are running away from the real issues. I don’t believe they can achieve anything.

“How many times would the Lagos PDP hold a reconciliation meeting? Should it be every four years that reconciliation must come up?

“When a problem was deliberately constituted, do you need reconciliation, and in particular when the causative agent is unremorseful.

No need for any reconciliation that will soon break down towards another election cycle. Let them standalone.

“Those are probably the people that offend themselves. They are good to reconcile before another balkanization that they are used to. They know where they reap their gains. Now that majority has wisened up, the fear of total loss scares them.”

Dismissing the current reconciliation efforts, Gbenga Ogunleye, the spoke person for the party’s gubernatorial candidate for the 2023 general election, said they only recognise the reconciliation committee setup by the party at the national level.

Ogunleye noted that Jandor was not aware of any reconciliation on-going in Lagos PDP and had not been contacted, noting that they were only waiting for the national committee to come to Lagos.

“We are not aware of any reconciliation in Lagos State, nobody contacted us; meeting is held every time; is it because they invited the media to that one.

“We are only waiting for the national reconciliation committee headed by Bukola Saraki to come to Lagos and we would see,” Ogunleye said.

But a chieftain of the party, Rahman Owokoniran, said the reconciliation meeting was necessary to reposition the party.

“I am absolutely in favour of reconciliation and as I told you that we have been working together to make sure that we can minimize damages inflicted upon our party by interlopers and moles amongst us.

“We will continue to do all it takes to straighten up our members’ relationships,” Owokoniran said.