By Lateef Ibrahim
Immediate past Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Vice Chairman, Southwest, Eddy Olafeso, has said that former Governor of Ekiti state, Ayodele Fayose should be respected for saving the party from total ruin when the ruling party allegedly plotted internal crisis to destroy the main opposition party in the country.
Olafeso said Fayose towers above other leaders in the zone, judging from his antecedents and contributions to the PDP’s electoral fortunes, saying: “he remains the voice of the PDP in the southwest”.
The former Commissioner in Ondo State added that the leadership tussle between Fayose and Oyo State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, was uncalled-for and unwarranted, describing the former Ekiti State governor as a pathfinder and leading light of the PDP in the region.
Olafeso spoke in Ado Ekiti, at the weekend, while meeting with the delegates on his PDP Vice Chairmanship aspiration for the coming Zonal congress of the party.
Addressing the Hon. Bisi Kolawole-led faction of the party, who were predominantly Fayose’s loyalists, Olafeso said: “You can see that all the immediate past zonal executive members are represented here. We are here to thank our leader, Ayodele Fayose for his support.
“He(Fayose) is our leader. We believe in him. While others were panicking and fearful to criticize President Muhammadu Buhari, he was with us. He remained the only voice in the wilderness.
“Fayose rescued the PDP from those who wanted to ruin the party when the late Senator Buruji Kashamu took the party to court. It was Fayose as a governor that saved the party from total ruin.
“We are very sure that we will reposition the PDP in this zone. We have visited other five states. No individual can appropriate the PDP in the southwest. Let us continue to support Fayose. We are very sure of victory and unity in the end”.
The Zonal Vice Chairmanship aspirant, said he would initiate a peace process that would bring all the contending forces like: Governor Makinde, former Governor Fayose, Senator Biodun Olujimi, Hon. Ladi Adebutu Kessington and others together in line with the dream of the PDP’s founding fathers.
“We don’t have a major crisis, what we have is disagreement. Some leaders had even begun underground fence mending mission, but peace is a process. We will lead with fairness and justice. We will partner other leaders to ensure we take our rightful position at the national level. We want to really appreciate Fayose and those who believed in fairness and equity.
“We will use the internal mechanism of our party to settle our differences and rescue our people who are highly frustrated from APC mismanagement and misrule and take Nigeria to a higher pedestal in 2023, this is our focus”, he said.
The PDP factional chairman in Ekiti State, Hon Bisi Kolawole, promised that the state chapter of the party will support the return of Olafeso as zonal Vice Chairman.
Kolawole added that peace is crucial to the stability of the PDP in the southwest, urging politicians to refrain from unbridled quest or power, for the party to regain its popularity to win the 2023 presidential and governorship polls in APC controlled States.