For the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP South-West Chapter, alarm for a flight to safety has yet again been raised just as it has been sounded in some quarters in the wake of last week development. Palpable tension began to sprout following contrastive opinions from leaders of the party in the region. It is often said that the persistent hitting of a spot by blacksmith is borne out of a drive to forge a tool for a particular use. Similarly much attention is being focused on the brewing friction in the southwest PDP, which is perhaps subconsciously being deployed with a view to calling the bickering caucuses to order. As more reactions continue to trail the purported fallout of the southwest PDP, attention has been drawn to the two groups- the Senator Buruji Kashamu-led delegation and the Lagos Collectives, LC led by Professor Tejumade Akitoye- Rhodes, who were argued to be pitching tents on separate stance following the recent visit to the party’s national chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and members of the PDP National Working Committee, NWC, in Abuja last week by Kashamu and some delegates over a push for a retention of the chairmanship in the northern part of the country.
With the development enmeshed in eminent crisis things may be said to fall apart and the centre could likely not hold as it was stated in some quarters that the “fragile peace in the South-West chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP might be heading for the rocks” if the two factions do not urgently come to a term, as the Lagos Collectives have flayed the delegation’s position, stressing that the delegation caucus was not speaking the minds of the PDP southwest region. Although the Senator representing Ogun East had at the weekend, clarified that the proposal that the national chairmanship of the party should remain in the north was not his opinion but that of the delegation that visited the party’s national chairman and the NWC, but the Professor Tejumade Akitoye-Rhodes-led LC has denounced the position of the delegation led by Kashamu, which claimed that the zone was not interested in presenting anybody for the position of national chairmanship of the party, describing such stand as “totally unacceptable, unfair, unjust and even destabilising to the region.”
Kashamu in his defence while reacting to nailing reports and accounts on the visit, cleared the air, saying “On our proposal that the national chairmanship of the party should remain in the North, I wish to state that it was the opinion of the delegation. “We were and are still of the view that given the strong presence of the PDP in the South, with 10 governors out of 17 governors in the South and just two governors in the 19 states in the North, it would make more sense to leave the national chairmanship of the party in the North so as not to be branded a regional party. “On the report on the state of the party across the South West, I need to clarify that the report was presented at the level of the South West PDP Committee on Organisation and Mobilisation, which has offices in the six states of the zone, in conjunction with the Zonal leadership of the party. Our suggestion was that party members should be reconciled across the zone, including in Ogun State.” Kashamu further stated that the view of the delegation did not foreclose any other opinion or suggestion, noting that if some other persons had any other idea, they were at liberty to push it. “Our view does not foreclose any other opinion or suggestion. If some other persons have any other idea, they are at liberty to push it.
At the end of the day, it is either superior argument wins or we go to the convention. “For us, as true party men, whatever is best for our party and majority of the stakeholders is all we want,” he stressed. Speaking on the leadership in the region, Kashamu said “It is also true that people like to have a rallying point, and if some of our leaders and elders see me as a rallying point because of my generosity and empowerments activities over the years, I do not see why anyone should lose sleep over it. Leaders emerge naturally. “I also know that leadership comes with responsibility and I accept the responsibility. I appreciate all our party leaders and elders for the confidence reposed in me and will continue to appreciate them. However, it does not mean that I am the foremost or supreme leader of the PDP in the South West. I am just one of the leaders of the PDP in the South West. “I do know that I have other superior leaders in the PDP Governors in the zone, Chief Olabode George, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun and other members of the National Caucus, Board of Trustees and the National Executive Committee (NEC), whom I respect and will always do.”
Meanwhile in a swift reaction contrary to Kashamu’s analysis for his and the delegation’s backing of the chairmanship position for the north, the LC submitted that the southwest were very much interested in the post. In a statement issued and signed by the Chairman Lagos Collectives, Professor Tejumade Akitoye-Rhodes, the LC group noted that the south west was the only region that has not occupied the prime office of the national chairman of the party since it came to power in 1999, stressing that it would be unfair and destabilizing if the region is denied its rightful honour, just as the party is at the period of restructuring and building. The statement reads in part: “To claim that the south west is not interested in the National Chairman position is delusional and wicked.
We will fight with all legitimate tools to ensure that justice is duly served in this crucial matter. The present National Chairman should be wary of the few peripheral renegades pushing Kashamu’s unholy pipe dream,” it says. Akitoye-Rhodes lambasted Kashamu for fronting such delegation and view, describing the move as “inflicted monumental shame and ridicule” to the region. He further said “This is most illogical and patently absurd. It is absolute nonsense and irredeemably outrageous. This does not in any way represent the position or the will of the Yoruba people. As a matter of fact the whole blatant spectacle of the subversion of the right of the Yoruba people was financed, promoted, and brazenly organized by Mr Buruji Kashamu.” He maintained that the Ogun east senator was in the least fit to speak for the South West PDP. “In terms of industry, education and all sense of propriety and civility that the Yoruba people treasure as the Omoluabi comportment- Kashamu is not the fit and proper person to speak for the Yorubaland.” He noted that a region that still parades eminent personalities and powerful evocative names like Chief Ebenezer Babatope, Chief Olabode George, Alhaji Yekeen Adeojo, Chief Shuaib Oyedokun, Senator Kofo Bucknor, Chief Onikepo Oshodi , Governor Olusegun Mimiko, Governor Ayo Fayose among others, it was tragic that the field will now be left open for Buruji to riot without restraint.