From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
A former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, is on his way from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) towards supporting the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to become president of Nigeria in 2023.
The allegation was made by a former Nigerian Ambassador to Jordan and Iraq, Taofeek Arapaja, who also served as deputy governor of Oyo State from 2007 to 2011, during an interview with journalists at the weekend.
Arapaja was unveiled by Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State last week Tuesday during the zonal caucus meeting of the PDP in the South West to become the National Vice Chairman of the party in the zone, ahead of the March 6, 2021 zonal congress of the party. The meeting was held at the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan. The governor said leaders of the party in the state submitted his name as the most qualified and experienced politicians for the position at the moment.
This came as a faction of PDP in the zone under the leadership of Fayose has also nominated a former Commissioner for Information in Ondo State, Dr. Eddy Olafeso, who was the immediate past substantive National Vice Chairman in the zone to return for a second term in office.
Arapaja alleged that Fayose and his loyalists have a mission to polarize PDP towards ensuring that the party moves into disarray before moving to APC, adding that recent developments have shown that Fayose has entered the good book of the APC-led administration in Nigeria.
Makinde, according to Arapaja, remains the face and leader of the party in the region, in line with the party tradition. But the Fayose faction has refused to recognise Makinde as leader of the party in the zone, being the only PDP governor in the South West. According to Fayose, such leadership position should be earned and not forced on people.
Arapaja also said it would be disheartening if the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party gives undue preference and recognition to the Fayose’s faction by postponing the planned March 6 South West congress of PDP. Governor Makinde had raised the alarm last week Thursday that the NWC of the party was planning to postpone the March 6 congress in the South West, based on petitions written by the other faction over venue of the congress. Makinde plans to host PDP in Ibadan for the congress, while Fayose’s faction plans to hold their own congress in Lagos.
“How can the NWC recognise the other side because they are just making noise? We all know the antecedent of Fayose, their leader normally. A person with normal home training will not behave like that, castigating those who are older than you, always abusing this and that. Those that are following him are even more decent than him, to be candid. How can you be following somebody like that?
“Well, like my governor (Makinde) said, those making noise are irritants. The face of the party is in one place. He (Fayose) also acknowledged Governor Seyi Makinde as the only PDP governor in the South West and by extension the leader of the party in South West. But he was just trying to make himself the father of the fathers.
“For instance, when former President Olusegun Obasanjo visited Ooni of Ife, he prostrated for him, though Obasanjo could give birth to the Ooni. Prostrating for Ooni doesn’t reduce Obasanjo’s age or bring him down as an elder statesman that he is. So, the face of PDP in South West is Governor Seyi Makinde, that is what God wants.
“So I don’t want to speak for the NWC but the leader of the party is in one place and the majority of the members of the party are in one place. Someone who keeps shouting Asiwaju, Asiwaju every time should be put in his place or what kind of politics is that? If he doesn’t believe in what the party is doing, he should not be regarded as part of the party. Now he’s being rewarded for what he is doing. His passport has been released for him to travel. All they want to do is to polarize and destroy PDP and then move on to APC. So, it is better they should just go now.
“If truly one is part of a house, one should not be part of those that seek the destruction of that house. So if they are sincere and they want to reconcile, because that’s the only way we can move and they will also recognise the ordained leader of the party. He (Fayose) has been a governor before and the leader of the party. So, what is the matter now that Governor Seyi Makinde is the leader? Governor Makinde is the leader of the party, both in Oyo State and South West, and that has been the tradition.
“This is someone who wants to be respected but does not respect anyone. He abuses Obasanjo, Bode George and anybody as if no one is older than him. He is not somebody I fancy at all. He even said he can stop Seyi Makinde. When God says yes, no one can say no. He has no moral, no etiquette, he has nothing.”