South-West PDP leaders meet with Jonathan over marginalization; Osun, Ekiti might get consensus candidates for 2014 elections
In an attempt to resolve allegations of marginalization labelled against the Federal Government by the South-West chapter of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), its zonal leaders met with President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday night with a detailed account of how they feel marginalized.
Exclusive reports said that about 150 leaders of the PDP from the six states of the zone, comprising all former governors elected on the platform of the party, their deputies, members of the National Executive Committee (NEC), members of the Board of Trustees (BOT), former and serving ministers, former and serving members of the National Assembly and a host of others, on Thursday night stormed the Presidential Villa, Aso Rock, Abuja, where they presented their grievances on the marginalisation of the zone to President Jonathan.
According to a competent source, on the side of President Jonathan at the meeting which lasted for about two hours were Vice President Namadi Sambo, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, National Chairman of the PDP; Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), and the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Ogiadhome, among others.
It was gathered that the tone of the crucial meeting was reportedly set by one of the leaders of the delegation and a former Deputy National Chairman of the Party, Chief Olabode George, who presented a position paper on behalf of the zone which catalogued the woes of the South-West and its complete marginalisation under the administration of Jonathan.
The source revealed that some of the complaints included indiscriminate removal of people from the zone from key ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and their replacements coming from a particular zone of the country, the dissolution of the zonal executive committee of the party and its replacement with a caretaker committee without any sign of organising new congresses for a new one despite the approaching governorship elections in Osun and Ekiti states in 2014, and the need for the president to urgently intervene personally in addressing the complaints if the party would continue to be relevant in the zone.
In addition, the party leaders in the position paper reportedly reassured President Jonathan of the zone’s support for his administration as done in the past, which would be sustained now and in the future, saying that it was on record that the Yoruba people had never voted for anti-progressive parties or supported anti-progressives forces in whatever form in the past.
The president, who reportedly listened to the complaints of the zone as catalogued by George, was said to have acknowledged their grievances and promised to address all the issues raised in order to correct the obvious imbalance and place the zone at its rightful position in the scheme of things under his administration.
According to the source, President Jonathan told the delegation that he had always been pro-South-West zone, and that he even supported it over the Speaker of the House of Representatives seat allotted to it under the PDP’s zoning arrangement in 2011, but lamented that the arrangement was truncated by some cliques from the same zone.
It was, however, gathered that President Jonathan advised the PDP leaders to go back home and put their house in order in their respective states for the party to regain its lost glory by reclaiming the states from the opposition in future elections.
He was said to have also urged the leaders to work towards producing consensus governorship candidates for the party in Osun and Ekiti states in the 2014 gubernatorial elections to avoid witnessing another round of crises that would follow the primary elections, so that the party could have the two states back ahead of the 2015 when it would have been formidable enough to reclaim other states in the zone.
Among those in attendance were former governors Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun), Isiaka Adeleke (Osun), Segun Oni (Ekiti), Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti), Olusegun Agagu (Ondo), Gbenga Daniel (Ogun); Chief Ebenezer Babatope, BOT member; Alhaji Shuaibu Oyedokun, member of BOT; Prof, Taoheed Adedoja, former Sports Minister; Senator Jubril Martins-Kuye, former Minister of State Finance; Chief Tunji Sarafa Ishola, Former Minister of Steel Development; Senator Olasunkanmi Akinlabi, former Minister of Youth Development; and Otunba Oyewole Fasawe.
They also include Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (rtd), Minister of Police Affairs; Chief Jumoke Akinjide, Minister of State, FCT; Chief Yekini Adeojo, former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP; Brig.-General Raji Rasaki; Chief Olusola Oke, PDP governorship candidate, Ondo; Alhaja Bose Adedibu, widow of the late Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu; Senators Teslim Folarin (former Senate Leader), Hosea Agboola, Adeseye Ogunlewe, Iyiola Omosore; Honourable Mulikat Adeola-Akande, House Leader, and Hon Muriana Ajibola, member, House of Representatives; Chief (Mrs) Abiodun Olujimi, former deputy governor, Ekiti; Chief Kasamu Buruji, and Senator C. K. Awoyelu.