As the crisis over who will be the National Vice Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South West lingers on, a chieftain of the party in Oyo State, Alhaji Adebisi Olopoeyan, who is believed to be loyalist of former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, has said he had made up his mind a long time ago to support and canvass for Dr Eddy Olafeso.
Olopoeyan disclosed this on Thursday in an interview with Vanguard.
When asked if he is going to withdraw his loyalty to the Fayose caucus after his own state had unveiled a candidate to face Olafeso at the zonal congress on March 6, the politician said his knowledge in politics was not to betray people.
He maintained that once he had pledged his loyalty to Eddy Olafeso’s chairmanship struggle, he will surely be with him till he finally emerges the winner of the contest.
His words: “From where I learned politics, I learnt to be loyal and to always stick to the agreement; the zonal stakeholders with Governor Seyi Makinde made the agreement on March 12, 2020, in Ibadan before Arapaja joined PDP that, Olafeso should return as zonal chairman if things went otherwise for him at Ondo PDP governorship primary election. It was an agreement, I didn’t know what made Governor Makinde make a U-turn after they made the agreement and he never explained to us, but I and other leaders from Oyo State had vowed to honour the gentleman agreement till the end, even if they adopted my elder brother as their candidate, I, Bisi Olopoeyan will not support my own brother, it is Eddy or nothing.”
Olopoeyan added that though he is not interested in Makinde’s zonal chairmanship candidate, but Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja was a wrong choice for the governor’s faction.
He said Arapaja who recently returned to the PDP, had defected to three political parties within six years, adding that, he (Arapaja), decamped to Accord Party in 2014, APC in 2017 and ADC in 2018.
The PDP further said that for Makinde to have singlehandedly chosen a returnee who has not spent at least a year in the party to contest for a position, it was clear that he is trying to turn PDP into his own private organisation where he could make self-decision without documented guiding principles.
“If Governor Makinde had studied the PDP constitution very well, he wouldn’t have chosen Ambassador Arapaja as his faction’s zonal chairmanship candidate. Arapaja is not yet qualified to hold a position in PDP, he came back to the party on March 19, 2020, we all welcomed him and other defectors back to PDP after they had gone to different political parties.
“Even welcoming him at Mapo rally was not effective for him to say that he had joined PDP officially, according to section 8 a and b of the party’s Constitution (2017 as amended), it stated that (8) A person who desires to rejoin the party after leaving it shall : (a) Apply to his Ward Secretary for re-admission; and (b) Unless given waiver by the National Working Committee, be placed on probation for a period of not less than one year.
“So, Arapaja only came to Mapo PDP rally on March 19, 2020, he rejoined PDP officially late last year. I am sure he didn’t even write an application letter to the secretary of his ward in Ibadan South East unless he is going to write it now.
“If Governor Makinde had consulted experienced party leaders, they would have suggested to him that, Arapaja from his own federal constituency North East, South East should be out of reasoning. Politics is about getting equal chances and opportunities.
“It is not proper to have a governor, senator, zonal chairman in the same federal constituency and if he had not thought of that, that means he sees his own federal constituency as superior and no party members with rich profile from other constituencies.
“Imagine we have three senatorial districts in Oyo State-Oyo South, Oyo Central and Oyo North; how reasonable is it to centre all juicy positions only in Oyo South? What is the fate of other party members from other senatorial districts?
“We had produced governor from Ibadan North East, Senator from Ibadan North East, Secretary to the State Government (SSG) from North East, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters from North East, now picking zonal chairman from Ibadan South East.
“Also zonal women leader from Ibadan South West; everything four local governments of Ibadan that made up Oyo South.
“Is there no qualified party members in Oke-Ogun, Ogbomoso, Oyo and Ibarapa? Are the party members in those districts not qualified and inconsequential members of Oyo PDP?
“If not that Governor Seyi Makinde has hidden motive for singlehandedly choosing Arapaja without wide consultation, I think his intention is to seize the structure of the party in the Southw West. So, if tomorrow he wants to dump the party, he will go with the zonal chairman and some excos.
“I am sure if we allow Governor Makinde to have his way, his plan is to get the party structure so he can use it to disgrace the party at the Southw West level if he decides to leave the party.
“It is a future plan. He wants to install his political followers so as to get the party structure and begin to decide at his own will if tomorrow he wants to move out of PDP, his installed zonal chairman and exco will easily move with him, am saying this because Arapaja is always open to defection.
“If care is not taken, our governor will finally weaken PDP in South West states for opposition to gain and regain power. It is high time Governor Makinde separates state administration from party administration, you cant decide to run the two simultaneously with a good result,”Olopoeyan said.
He, however, urged the National Working Committee ( NWC ) of the party led by Prince Uche Secondus to rescue the party before Governor Makinde and what he called the governor’s cohorts start using self-interest to ridicule the party and its constitution.