In this piece, HEAD POLITICS, MUMINI ABDULKAREEM looks at the recent retreat held by the Iyiola Oyedepo-led faction of the Kwara State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and whether there were some questions left unanswered by the gathering/amidst widening and yet irreconcilable gulf between the two factions in the state.
The last retreat organised by the Kwara State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has come and gone, but the presentations from that programme may not have succeeded in closing the gap between the two factions of the party in the state.
Ordinarily meant to chart a new path for the executive committees of the party at all levels in the state, on their expected roles to get the party repositioned towards the 2019 general elections, the forum left a big question on the alleged efforts to reconcile the two factions in the state to work under the same umbrella especially as preparation for elections is gradually gathering momentum in the state.
Just as expected of a retreat, the Oyedepo-led faction dissected the causes for the prolonged internal crisis in the party and advanced to proffer solutions in preparation for the next round of elections in the state. But resolving the factional crisis may be far from ending soon.
Some stakeholders in the party like Lawal Nurudeen who lauded the retreat applauded the executives led by Chief Iyiola Oyedepo (Akogun) for organising the gathering which took place at the chairman’s office in Flower Garden area of Ilorin to “strategically open and guide local government executives on the need and task ahead of it in organising, sanitising and preparing the party structures at the grassroots”.
Some added that the forthcoming election in the state can only be won through proper and well blended programmes and policies at the grassroots.
According to Alhaji L.A.K. Jimoh in his presentation at the event, the theme of the retreat which is meant for the executive committees of “our great party, at all levels in the state, about their expected roles to get the party repositioned towards the 2019 general elections, raises a number of questions.
“Every political party, like other associations, has “Executive Committee” at every levels of operation. The executive committee usually has defined powers to administer the party in accordance with the aims, objectives policies and plans of the party, at a particular level or in a geographical area.
“By so doing, the Executive Committee constitutes the “engine room” and live-wire upon which the fortunes of the party at that particular level depend. This importance of the Executive Committee imposes on it the responsibility to provide both leadership and inspiration to members of the party”, he added.
As regards fortunes of the party in the state, Jimoh noted that, “though not violent, acrimonious politics caused the PDP in Kwara State not to be sure of who its gubernatorial candidate was until just a couple of weeks to the general election. The consequence was slip-shod campaign by the party and ultimate loss of the election.
“The PDP is now living with a potentially destructive acrimonious politicking triggered by inordinate ambition of some members of the party at both national and state levels.
He said the challenges which PDP is contending with presently is neither new nor unique but assured that it shall, God willing, not rise again.
However, some of the solutions proffered showed that the faction is not ready yet to make any reconciliation with the Sunday Fagbemi led faction. If anything, it has widened the already deep gulf.
For the party to resurrect again, Jimoh said it needs to re-strategise to “sanitise the party by getting rid of Judas Iscariots (call them Sunday or Sheriff, if you like) who are prepared to sell their birth right for a pot of porridge or who are bent on splitting the child into two if they would not be able to fraudulently gain possession of the baby alive.
“Ignore the Okolos, apparently referring to Alhaji Amosa Okolo, an elder of the factional chapter of the party (Okolo was an obscure palace labourer who set the Alafin’s palace ablaze in Oyo-Ile. so as to gain public attention and “popularity”) who want to ride on party crisis to gain both public attention and some patronage from their sponsors for sustenance… and
Re-invigorate the party at the ward level by holding regular ward meetings to keep party members abreast of goings-on in the party and thereby strengthen their faith and confidence in the imminent resurrection of PDP nation-wide among others.
While contributing to the debate, Barrister Salman Jawondo talked about the need for sacrifice, discipline and presentation of better candidates by the party for the forthcoming elections in order to defeat APC in Kwara.
He therefore frowned at the last incident in the state where delegates list were reportedly padded by some persons which later brought disunity to the party ahead of last elections. He added that the problem of fighting within the opposition as a result of party leadership added no gain to the struggle, but instead confused electorate in the party and challenged party elders to fast track reconciliations within the Kwara PDP to ensure success at the elections.
Also in his remarks, Dr Giwa Goronzo of the Centre for Women Gender, explained reason women need to be actively involved in politics and called for affirmative action in the sharing of both party and elective positions. She further mobilised the women folk to be united and focused to claim their right in the party. She cited how women jettisoned each other which made them prawn in the hands of men.
In his speech, Barrister Sarafadeen Ibrahim, state Youth Leader, said the constitution denies any political appointees from representing their party during the elections “which Kwara APC used to rigged the elections in the last polls in the state. He noted that it is stated in the constitutions, the power to report any political appointees who disguise as agent during the elections, charging party executives to constitute party canvassers and polling agents to ensure massive mobilisation before the polls.
As the PDP in the state strive to put its house in order to be able to provide a vibrant opposition platform for politics in the state, some analysts believed that the unresolved factional issue in the state need to be well decided. But the last retreat may just be the beginning of another round of hostilities which will not augur well for the polity, especially considering the role of a united opposition which include nudging the ruling parties in the state and country for better governance.