The Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, on Thursday, told members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-West geopolitical zone to unite and work together to reposition the party and reclaim its glory.
Governor Makinde made the call while speaking at a South-West Stakeholders’ meeting of the PDP held at the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan, on Thursday.
He noted that he had already dedicated himself to the cause of uniting all tendencies in the zone, adding that a united South-West PDP would rub off positively on the national outlook of the party.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying that the history of politics in the country has shown that once the South-West is united and it thrives, the entire country would enjoy peace and would also thrive.
He added that the same could be said of the PDP, where the unity and wellness of the party in the South-West have always been tied to its progress at the national level.
He said: “If the South-West can be organized, then Nigeria will be organized. I am not a saint neither am I a devil. What we are dealing with is a game of number and we have to accommodate one another. Let us not assume some people are bad because they have their own roles to play in this too. So, I am for unity in the South-West and I have donated myself to pursuing unity for our region.
“The only message from me is that of unity for the South-West zone. I am harping on the unity for our zone because if we go down the memory lane, we will know that when the South-West is thriving, unified, the entire country is unified and thriving. So, we have to work extremely hard to unify all the tendencies.
“In Oyo State, we have experienced disunity before and we know the implications. After the 2015 general election, we came back together and we said to ourselves that we must not tread on that path again. I try to be frontal because I believe we have to play a different brand of politics.
“When we got to Ekiti, I said to everybody that the two gladiators in the state; Governor Fayose and Senator Biodun Olujimi are the main issues and I have been talking with them.
“I have the pleasure to also let you know that we are planning a unification rally on the 18th of March here in Ibadan and we would be using Mapo Hall. At that unification rally, the former governor of Osun State and former national secretary of our great party, Chief Olagunsoye Oyinlola, would be coming back formally into the party. So, I am using this opportunity to invite all the stakeholders from all the states in the region to mark that date to celebrate the party. Let us send a very strong signal out that the South-West is ready to lead the charge again.”
The governor also used the occasion to comment on the ongoing congresses in Ekiti and Ondo states, stating that the zonal congress where a new set of leadership for the zone would be formed will soon take place.
He said: “Finally, there are congresses going on in some of Ekiti and Ondo states respectively. We are also having the zonal congress coming up soon. Yes, some people have been there for four years and we need an agreement and alignment within the zone. Those who have interest can indicate because we don’t want people to just go ahead and buy forms. We need to apply wisdom in the arrangement.
“Each state will nominate a candidate and the leaders will go through the process in terms of zoning. They join two states together to form an office. We will follow that existing procedure. So, I will seek your support to come together, zone the offices and we go into the congress as a united body to select the people that will run the South-West zone for us for the next four years.
“I believe we will set the tone for the rest of the country if we get it right without any external interference. If we can do it within this zone, then we can echo it that we have the capacity to sort out our own internal grievances. We are not putting names in there right now. Once we have an agreement on what is zoned to a particular state, then everybody will go back to their states and give us the individuals they have agreed to nominate.
“There are benefits in government and I believe it will be a fruitless effort if we cannot work diligently as a party to clinch the government. I pray that all our states in the South-West, including Lagos that has not produced PDP governor since 1999, will produce candidates of this party in this dispensation.
“When I went to Lagos and told them that they should be ready for defeat, they abused me but it didn’t pain me. I am saying it again that Lagos also will fall to the PDP.”
Speaking earlier, the South-West Zonal Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Eddy Olafeso, said “I celebrate all our leaders and the rest who are here seated that have taken up the gauntlet; those who have forgiven certain moments that the PDP did not do well with them and are willing to continue the battle with all of us.
“We encourage unity. Without unity, we are dead. We have been divided and we see the consequences. We have been disunited and we have been lost. The only path to victory and success is to be united. Unless we begin to embrace ourselves at the moment of disagreement, we cannot be statesmen.”
Olafeso, who hailed the developmental strides of Governor Makinde, urged him not to relent in rebuilding Oyo State from the ruins and wasted years of the APC.
He said: “This party must continue to show progress. We are blessed to have Governor Makinde as a leader who is willing to lead right in front while we all follow. It is not true that there won’t be challenges ahead. Challenges will come but we should conquer and overcome.”