2023 Presidential Race Causing Crisis in South-West PDP
The crisis rocking the South West chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is not unconnected with the battle for the presidential election of 2023 in Nigeria, Starnews Nigeria can report.
Given the above, the emergence of Mr Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) as the gubernatorial candidate of the PDP in Ondo State in October 10 governorship election and his defeat at the poll according to the election results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was also caused by the war in the PDP southwest over 2023 presidential race, Starnews Nigeria has authoritatively gathered.
It is public knowledge how June 22, 2020, primary election of the PDP in Ondo State was allegedly monetised with heavy financial inducements amounting to N200,000 per delegates in the desperation of aspirants for the party’s ticket.
Before the October 10 governorship election in Ondo State, Starnews Nigeria had reported how the governorship ambitions of Mr Eyitayo Jegede and Hon Agboola Ajayi, a governorship aspirant of the PDP who later defected and became the candidate of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), has reportedly divided some governors elected on the platform of the PDP.
An investigation by our correspondent revealed that some of the governors were divided because of the power tussle between Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and former Governor Ayodele Fayose which was the genesis of the crisis rocking the party in the southwest and has consequently polarised the unity of the PDP in the southwest states.
Makinde and Fayose were said to be eyeing the party’s structure in the southwest ahead of the presidential race in 2023.
Sources said it was the main reason the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State was enmeshed in crisis before, during, and after the election of October 10, 2020, in Ondo State.
How the battle for 2023 work for and against Eyitayo Jegede in Ondo election
Starnews Nigeria learnt that the crisis rocking the southwest chapter of the PDP has an overbearing influence on the governorship election of Ondo State which led to the poor performance of the party at the poll.
Jegede was said to have enjoyed both financial and political supports of Governor Makinde and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar which gave him victory at the PDP primary and culminated into the elections of his cronies into the sate executives of the Ondo State PDP according to a former state chairman of the party who pleaded anonymity.
The source said: ”Eyitayo Jegede as the candidate of the party was the greatest errors of the PDP in Ondo State. Governor Seyi Makinde and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar released quantum of millions for him for the PDP primary which led to the monetization and heavy financial inducements of delegates amounting to N200,000 to N250, 000 per vote.”
”For their desperation for 2023 race, Atiku and Makinde spent a lot of money to produce Jegede as the candidate of the party and the man leveraged on that to produce his cronies into the state executives and went further to nominate Ikengboju Gboluag as running mate in their desperation to pocket the party in defiance to the advice of PDP leaders in Ondo State,” the source said.
For those PDP leaders who felt their interests were not protected ahead of 2023, Starnews Nigeria gathered that they pushed for Agboola Ajayi candidacy at the poll to play the spoiler and as such, the party was in disarray with a sizeable number of PDP members joining the third force (ZLP) while some leaders reportedly remained in the PDP but worked for the reelection of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, the incumbent governor, and the candidate of the ruling APC at the poll.
Another factor that worsens the situation according to a source was this accusation of lack of trust by Jegede and his team where it was alleged that Jegede and Makinde, the chairman of the Ondo State PDP Campaign Council displayed these attitudes of not trusting anybody outside their political camp and hence, they single-handedly ran the Ondo State governorship campaign without recourse to party loyalists in other camps, particularly the leaders and elected representatives of the party in Ondo State with the alleged belief that they won the primary election alone and could as well win the governorship election without recourse to other camps.
”This is part of the reasons Fayose was disgraced during the PDP local government campaign in Ondo town because they didn’t trust him and others. They believed he was competing with Makinde as the leader of the PDP in southwest . Jegede is not rooted in politics and yet, he sees leaders of the party in various local governments as nothing. He didn’t carry anyone along in his campaign. He takes decision alone. Imagine how he produced his running mate without looking at how he could strengthen his political base, he wants to do it alone and takes it all, how can a politician thinks such will not backfire”, the source added.
The aftermath of the election, the party, PDP is still not having peace
Meanwhile, the fact that election in Ondo State is over with the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, polling 292,830 votes and won in 15 local government out of the 18 local governments areas in the state to defeat Eyitayo Jegede who polled 195,791 votes; though the case is now before the State Election Petition Tribunal, but yet, the party, PDP is still not having peace. This is not only in Ondo State but also in the southwest states.
While the body language of the state executives of the party in Ondo State shows that their loyalty is unofficially pledged to governor Seyi Makinde like their counterpart in Oyo State, many key actors and strikers of the PDP in Ondo State with some state executives of the party in the southwest including Ogun, Lagos, Ekiti and Osun are with former governor Ayodele Fayose.
Meanwhile, a leader of the PDP in Ondo State has warned of the imminent collapse of the PDP if the National leadership fails to provide leadership.
The PDP chieftain who doesn’t want to be named accused those behind the PDP crisis in Southwest as the same forces who caused the PDP failure in Ondo State election.
He said: ”the same forces played out in our loss in Ondo State. There was no coordinated effort by the National Secretariat to deliver Ondo State to the party. Obaseki won in Edo State because he is a sitting Governor. But from what I have seen, the PDP will destroy itself because nobody is providing leadership.”
These ambitious persons are rabble rousers without any quality or credentials to provide leadership. Just raw ambition. May God save the party from imminent collapse, ” he added.
As it is, Starnews Nigeria reports that the war in the Southwest PDP is all about 2023 presidential race.