The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State has distanced itself from the decision of some party leaders to declare support for Chief Eddy Olafeso as national vice chairmanship candidate in the forthcoming zonal congress.
Some factional leaders represented by Chief Nureni Akanbi, Alh. Bisi Olopoeyan and Femi Babalola, in a statement on Wednesday, declared their support for Olafeso who is being backed by the former Ekiti Governor Ayo Fayose.
They made the decision at a meeting in Ibadan, the state capital, according to the statement.
Fayose is at loggerheads with Oyo Governor Seyi Makinde over the control of the party in Southwest.
Though the constitution recognises Makinde as the leader of the party in the zone, Fayose insisted he cannot run roughshod over other party leaders in the zone.
He holds onto Olafeso’s leadership which he installed while he was the zonal leader of the party when serving as Governor.
Makinde is rooting for an Oyo indigene as the next National Vice Chairman.
Olafeso is from Ondo State.
The communique signed by all the leaders reads in part: “It is no longer news that there’s no chairmanship candidate coming from Oyo State, there is an agreement made that we are going to return the Eddy Olafeso Executive and every leader from all the state is still standing on the agreement.
“So, Oyo State cannot be left out and we don’t want anybody to use his or her selfish interest to cause dispute in our great party.
“We are still going to hold more meetings before the congress but the issue of chairmanship for the congress is settled, Oyo State is supporting the effort to return Eddy at the coming congress.”
Reacting, however, Oyo PDP Publicity Secretary Akeem Olatunji said the dissenting leaders only expressed personal opinion, stressing that they did not speak for the party.
He said the party was solidly behind Makinde, who is pushing for an Oyo indigene, pointing out that Olopoeyan and his group members were only moving against the interest of the entire state.
He said: “That is not our position. That is their personal opinion, and they have the right under Nigerian constitution to express their opinion.
“As far as we are concerned, we are solidly behind Governor Seyi Makinde. We can’t sell our birth right.
“Since 1999, Oyo State has not produced the zonal chairman (National Vice Chairman). This is our golden opportunity.
“The only way a game can be balanced is when each participant enjoys equal opportunity. Why not Oyo State this time? Anyone working against this agenda is working against Oyo PDP’s interest. We align with Governor Makinde’s position for Oyo PDP to produce the next zonal chairman.”