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Heightened Tension As PDP S’West Congress Draws Nearer

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South West is set for its zonal congress slated for Monday.

The congress, earlier slated for April 10, 2021, was rescheduled for Monday, April 12, 2021 by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).

The congress, also earlier scheduled to take place in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, is now to be held in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement yesterday said the decision was reached after comprehensive deliberations among party leaders.

He said: “The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after further comprehensive deliberations on issues of concern in the South West zonal chapter of the PDP resolves as follows:

“That the South West Zonal Congress of our great party is scheduled for Monday, April 12, 2021 in Osogbo, Osun State capital.

“The PDP national leadership assures of working with all stakeholders to achieve a seamless and unifying congress of our great party in the South West zone.”

However, the congress is coming amidst disagreement among stakeholders in the zone over who becomes the next National Vice-Chairman, South West.

Daily Trust reports that the major gladiators are Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde and former Ekiti Governor Ayodele Fayose, who have been engaged in a supremacy battle for the soul of the party in the zone.

While Fayose is rooting for the immediate past Chairman, Dr. Eddy Olafeso, to continue in office, Makinde and a former Deputy National chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George, as well as members of his group have endorsed a former deputy governor of the state, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja.

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After two postponements, the NWC has fixed Monday April 12, for the congress while the screening would commence tomorrow, according to the timetable and schedule of activities issued and signed by the National Organizing Secretary, Col. Austin Akobundu retired.

Prior to the issuance of the notice, there had been fears among some stakeholders, especially the Makinde group, of an alleged move to further postpone the congress.

This prompted the governor, who is the only PDP governor in the South West geo-political zone, to warn of dire consequences should the congress again be postponed.

But with the date fixed for the congress amidst the lingering crisis, stakeholders are afraid it could further polarise the party with the gladiators not shifting ground.

The new timetable and schedule of activities was directed to the Chairman, South-West Zonal Caretaker Committee, Hon. Dayo Ogungbenro, who is believed to be loyal to Makinde man.

There are hints that the Fayose group is uncomfortable with the choice of venue and was already warning against manipulating the process.

Speaking with Daily Trust yesterday, however, a chieftain of the party, Prince Uthman Sodipe-Dosumu, expressed optimism that the party would emerge stronger after the congress.

He said the disagreement among stakeholders over the congress was normal in politics which, he described, as a game of contest, adding that for the party to have fixed the date of the congress showed the crisis would soon be over.

“We are coming back stronger to face the business of the day,” said Sodipe-Dosumu who is also the Lagos State secretary.

The PDP had on Wednesday issued a statement expressing its determination to resolve the feud between Makinde and Fayose as part of its moves to win all the states in the South West in future elections.

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