From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
For the first time since the leadership crisis of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South West began in the last quarter of 2020, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has broken his silence on a lot of personality attacks that have been launched against his person by a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.
The leadership feud between the duo bordered around who should become the National Vice Chairman of PDP in the South West this year. The imbroglio led to two camps within the party, with one in support of Makinde and the other one in support of Fayose. But the roles played by the two camps before and during the 2020 governorship election in Ondo State, that culminated in the re-election of Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu further deepened the gulf.
The camp of Fayose wants a former Commissioner for Information in Ondo State, Dr. Eddy Olafeso, to return for a second term in office as the PDP National Vice Chairman in the zone. But Makinde is supporting former deputy governor of Oyo State and former Nigerian Ambassador to Jordan, Taofeek Arapaja, to clinch the position.
Fayose had explained that that it was earlier agreed at Makinde’s house at Ibadan that Olafeso, should be the next PDP National Vice Chairman for the zone. But some loyalists of Makinde hit back at Fayose, saying he (Fayose) worked against the success of PDP during the last Ondo State governorship poll when Makinde was the Director-General of the PDP campaign council of Mr. Eyitayo Jegede that flew the party’s flag.
According to Fayose, “Tell the baby governor that the way up is the way down. Let Makinde put feeding bottle in the mouth of his dogs. You are called a leader because you earned it, not your title. Can I be an All Progressives Congressman and be fighting Buhari (President Muhammadu Buhari)? I was governor at 42. He is a governor at 51. I don’t deserve an insult from Makinde.
“Governor Makinde is not my leader. He is my follower. Respect should beget respect. I have been a warrior. They thought I will be with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission now. But, I am surviving.”
But Governor Makinde, during an encounter with journalists in Ibadan on Thursday, was asked to respond to the attacks on him by Fayose, and he simply said: “I do not really have anything to say about people because small minds can actually talk about events, average minds talk about people. We want to talk about issues.
“So, if there are issues, we will address them. When individuals decide to go low, we won’t follow them to that dirt. If there are issues, the alternative dispute resolution mechanism exists within the PDP, and that is being explored right now.
“I am occupying a very sensitive position. First, as the only PDP governor in the South West. Two, as somebody that is in the leadership position within our party. We will explore all avenues that are legitimate to get everyone to do what is right for our party, including the National Working Committee of the party. This is exactly what we are going to do.”
He also answered reporters’ questions on whether the reported efforts of a former governor of Oyo State, Rashidi Ladoja, towards brokering peace between him and Fayose has started yielding positive results. Makinde stated: “In terms of any reconciliation meeting, there is nothing like that. I haven’t had any meeting with Baba Ladoja. I think it is just a rumour that has been flying around. There is nothing like that.”