Saturday, 11 March 2017

S/West PDP threatens Makarfi, Sheriff peace deal

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) peace deal brokered by the Governor Seriake Dickson-led reconciliation committee has run into a brick wall in the Southwest. Leading party chieftains in the zone are in a quandary on how the two factions in the area are going to reconcile and work together as before. One of the factions is with Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and Senator Ahmed Makarfi while the other lines up behind Senator Buruji Kashamu (Ogun East) and Senator Ali Modu Sheriff. The reconciliation committee, The Nation gathered, failed to device means of uniting the two camps just yet. Fayose and Kashamu, party sources said, are having difficulty in agreeing on which of the factional executive committees in the six states of the zone are authentic or not going by the ruling of the Appeal court which affirmed Senator Modu Sherif as the legitimate national Chairman of the party. Sources also said the two factions are not favourably disposed to the idea of having the state executive committees harmonized ahead of the proposed unity convention. In effect, it may be impossible for the reconciliation committee or the convention planning committee, as the case may be, to draw up an acceptable delegate list for the zone. Kashamu and Makanjuola Ogundipe, who are the arrowheads of the Sheriff faction in the zone are said to be insisting that their factional executives across the states in the zone remain the authentic leaders even when some of the members of the said executives were handpicked following the factionalization of the party. The Fayose faction has also rejected the harmonization of the executives in Ekiti State where Ogundipe also hails from. The situation, if it persists, party sources said, will make the processes that will lead to the proposed unity convention very difficult, if not impossible, in the zone. According to one source, the process of reconciliation and harmonization is proving much easier in other zones of the country. The Southwest, which is being touted by party stakeholders to produce the next chairman of the party, is the major headache of promoters of the much awaited unity convention. “Party leaders and other stakeholders have been meeting over a possible solution to the logjam in the Southwest zone. The region is where the factionalization of the party is the most serious. The personal differences between Fayose and Kashamu, which continue to fester unabated, even after the latest efforts to unite the party, are making things difficult,” the source said. “Though nothing has come out of the meetings, I can tell you that our leaders are determined to break the ice because without resolving the many issues plaguing the party in the Southwest, a unity convention, as planned by the reconciliation committee, may simply be an impossibility. “Going by the pronouncement of the appeal court which recognized Sheriff as the national Chairman, it is easy to determine the authentic executive committees in the states of other zones of the country, but it is not so in the Southwest where state excos were in themselves fictionalized and reconstituted by the various factions.” Meanwhile, in a bid to tidy up its strategies ahead of the convention, the Makarfi faction in the zone may have zoned the national chairmanship of the party to Lagos State, with Chief Bode George, former deputy national chairman of the party, looking good to get the support of the Fayose-led camp. Sources close to the leadership of the faction in the zone told The Nation that although the proposed procedure for the said national convention is still being discussed by the parties, the Southwest zone is already strategising on how to ensure a hitch free contest for the national chairmanship position should it be zoned to the region. “The issue has been discussed and it was agreed that Lagos State should get the national chairmanship if zoned to us. Other positions likely to be given to us have also being zoned. This is basically to ensure that we present a common front whenever the convention is to be held,” our source said. But sources close to the Kashamu camp insisted that the Ogun senator will never agree to the candidacy of Bode George under any arrangement. According to a zonal executive committee member of the faction from Ogun State, Kashamu strongly believes that George is one of the biggest problems of PDP in the Southwest. “That is one other problem the unity convention will face. Any reconciliation that gives Bode George a chance to become national chairman will be rejected by Senator Kashamu who is the leader of the party in the Southwest. This is largely because he sees George as one of the biggest problems of PDP in the Southwest,” a source said.

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