By Lateef Ibrahim
Following suspicion that the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, may return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and alter the existing political equation of the existing state executive committee of the party, the state Chairman of the PDP, Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo, has appealed to the national leadership to prevent him from tampering with the party structure.
Akogun made appeal when he led members of the state leadership for a meeting with the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, at the party secretariat in Abuja on Wednesday.
The State Chairman said the even though the state chapter of the PDP would welcome Saraki and any other persons interested in joining the PDP, it would not want its present leadership structure dissolved.
Oyedepo said after the meeting that the Kwara PDP would be ready to make concessions to Saraki on matters that had not been settled, including elected offices up for grabs in next year’s general election.
He however pointed out that the state PDP was apprehensive that the national leadership of the party may throw the structure open for Saraki to take over; but had now been reassured by Secondus.
According to him, “Our party is not all that apprehensive. We are apprehensive of what the national leadership can do to welcome somebody who had gone away from the party and later given a royal welcome.
“It is not Sarak’s coming that creates any fear. It is what the national executive can do to encourage him to seize the party structure from established people in Kwara state.
“But we have been assured that the era of impunity is gone. That’s the much our national chairman told us.
“So, we are so glad that even if anybody comes into our party, we are really not against anybody coming into our party, but whoever comes, must respect the structure in the ground and cooperate with us appropriately.”
He nonetheless maintained that Saraki would be welcome in the PDP as long as he does not tamper with the party structure.
His words, “We will welcome Saraki with open hands if he comes to be part of the party and we don’t have any issue on the executive. We can’t say somebody should not join our party.
“In plain language, the executive that is on ground constitutionally was elected for four years and parties are always in anticipation for new people to join the party.
“You cannot because some people have joined, you should now dismantle the structure of the party.
“So, if they come and want to be part of the process, they are welcome, and the only people that can open the gate for them sometimes illegally, might be people that are high up.
“But we have been assured by those people that there will be nothing like that. So, anybody that will add value to our party is welcome.”
On whether the state leadership would be prepared to make some concessions should Saraki rejoin the PDP with his people, the party boss stated: “We are ready to make concession on what we have not decided on.
“What they meet, now they met the executive on ground, and we cannot remove the chairman for them or the treasurer.
“If we have not done the primary for governorship, house of assembly, Senator, presidential, for example, if Saraki says he wants to contest for the president, we cannot deny him (nomination) form.
“And if he wants to return back to the Senate, we will give him form and other people too.
“So, we are ready to allow them on issues that have not been settled. But issues that are settled are for four years.”