Leadership tussle: Makinde, Fayose feud tears South-West PDP apart
The feud between Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, and a former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, over the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party in the South-West has caused division among the state chairmen and other top party chieftains in the region.
Fayose and Makinde have reportedly been at loggerheads over the latter’s role in the Ekiti PDP crisis as well as the leadership of the party in the South-West.
The strife, which has lingered for some months, had even recently seen the aides of the two engaging in a war of words on social media.
Fayose had on Monday in Lagos insisted that Makinde was not the PDP leader in the South-West, noting that leadership should be earned and not for anyone as a title.
The ex-governor spoke while receiving prominent members of the party who paid him a solidarity visit.
The delegation was led by Senator Nicholas Tofowomo, representing Ondo South District in the National Assembly.
Fayose said an ex-Ondo State Information Commissioner, Dr Eddy Olafeso, should be the next PDP National Vice Chairman (West), saying this was the agreement made in Makinde’s house at Ibadan, Oyo State.
“Governor Makinde is not my leader. He is my follower. Respect should beget respect. I have been a warrior. They thought I will be with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission now. But, I am surviving,” he said.
Meanwhile, the ongoing feud between Makinde and Fayose has caused a division among the state party chairmen and chieftains in the South-West.
While some are in the Fayose camp, others cite that Makinde, being the only PDP governor in the South-West, ought to be the party leader in the region.
The Lagos State chapter of the party said Makinde would be the leader of the party in the South-West by virtue of his position as the only governor on the PDP platform in the region.
The PDP Chairman in Lagos State, Adedeji Doherty, further explained in an interview with one of our correspondents that the tension in the party in the South-West, due mainly to the tension between Makinde and Fayose, was not a leadership tussle but one based on a previous agreement.
He recalled that before Olafeso resigned as the PDP Vice-Chairman in the South-West to contest the Ondo State governorship election, Makinde called state chairmen of the party in the South-West to a meeting in his personal house.
Doherty said it was at the meeting that Makinde said they should all support Olafeso to contest and that if he did not win the primary, he (Makinde) would like a situation where he (Olafeso) was allowed to return as the Vice-Chairman in the South-West.
“We all agreed because Olafeso has been a good man, and that was the consensus,” Doherty said. “After Olafeso lost the party’s primary, Makinde was no longer living up to the agreement. That created the issues among the majority of the South-West leaders of the party, because some of them don’t want Olafeso to return.
“When you have a gentleman’s agreement, it should be honoured. People, led by Chief Bode George, rose up to truncate that agreement. Instead of Makinde to call everybody like he did the first time, to discuss, he would rather keep quiet.”
Doherty said even though people could think Fayose was fighting to be the leader of the party in the region, he only wanted the honourable thing to be done.
He added, “It’s a fight to be honourable; that Eddy Olafeso should be reinstated as the party’s vice-chairman. There is no contention on who is the leader. Fayose cannot be the leader and he has never tried to convince us that he is the leader, but he is the one leading majority of us that want to stand by our word.
“You will realise that immediately after the congress that Eddy will emerge as a chairman, this whole tension will die down. Makinde would have no choice but to work with Olafeso if he wants a second term. Fayose would also have to work with Eddy Olafeso. So, the tension between Makinde and Fayose as you are seeing now is just based on interests and not on leadership tussle. Makinde is the leader, but one is fighting to be honourable while the other is trying to ignore the agreement.”
When contacted by Sunday PUNCH, the Osun State PDP Chairman, Soji Adagunodo, said there was no contention over who was the leader of the party in the region, also stressing that Fayose was not contesting the leadership of the party with Makinde.
Adagunodo said, “There are other issues causing friction between the two men that may later be known to members of the party.”
The Ondo State chapter of the party also threw its weight behind Makinde.
The state PDP Publicity Secretary, Mr Kennedy Peretei, said Makinde, and not Fayose, was the only recognised leader of the party in the South-West.
“Fayose is just a rabble-rouser; how can he be our leader? Where was he when we were in the struggle of the election? He was just causing confusion in the party. Governor Seyi Makinde is our leader in the South-West. Those who are following Fayose are doing so for selfish reasons. He (Fayose) is not our leader in the South-West,” Peretei said.
In a similar manner, a member of the PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, said Makinde was the leader of the PDP in the region.
He said, “As far as some of us who are elders and who belong to the PDP Elders Group led by Chief Olabode George are concerned, we believe that there is no need for anybody to create a crisis within the party.
“The normal party convention in the PDP is that, like the South-West, where we are not in power, the governor there becomes the leader of the party in the region.” Punch