Leaders and members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo state have identified being sidelined, marginalization, neglect of loyal party members, poor relations between political appointees and party leaders, favouritism and poor accessibility to Governor Seyi Makinde, as some of the issues causing division, uneasiness and dissatisfaction among party members in the state.
These are some of the issues contained in the final report of the Elders Steering Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo state headed by Dr Saka Balogun submitted to Governor Seyi Makinde on November 26, 2020.
It will be recalled that Makinde had on June 15 inaugurated the seven-man committee to look at agitations, grievances, unmet expectations of members of the PDP in Oyo state.
The committee led by Balogun was tasked to sift legitimate from illegitimate agitations, including those allegedly being pushed by forces outside the party against the party and make resolutions to resolve burgeoning issues affecting the unity of the party.
Among other issues identified in the final report, sighted by Nigerian Tribune, are that the governor is treating people poorly, unjustly and unfairly, exalting new political upstarts and relegating longstanding members of the party.
Some attributed their grievances to the fact that they contributed a lot to the success of the party at the polls, yet the governor had sidelined them in the process of establishing the government.
Especially, the panel noted linked the division in the party to the initial major political appointments to key offices where who got what depended more on your closeness to the governor.
The committee reported findings that the bane of the problem in the party is that there was not enough room for meaningful consultations between the governor and many party leaders after the party’s success at the polls with the governor no more picking his phone calls.
In reaching out, the committee reported its meeting elders across the 14 federal constituencies as well as leaders of the coalition parties to hear their grievances.
Specific mention was made of the grievances expressed by party leaders like the deputy governor, Mr Rauf Olaniyan; Alhaji Mulikat Akande-Adeola, Alhaji Azim Gbolarumi, Engineer Femi Babalola, Mogaji Nureni Akanbi, Elder Wole Oyelese, Engineer Rauf Olaniyan, Alhaji Bisi Olopoeyan, Alhaji Alli Dodo.
The deputy governor, Rauf Olaniyan was said to have complained bitterly about being oblivious about the running of government, that the governor had completely forgotten about the promises made to him.
Olaniyan added that the governor only gave him a few portfolios while Senator Hosea Agboola is considered more relevant than him in the government.
Honourable Mulikat Akande-Adeola was quoted as reporting that the governor treated her poorly, unjustly and unfairly.
She particularly decried that Honourable Segun Ogunwuyi was exalted above her in Ogbomoso which was detrimental to her numerous followers.
Azim Gbolarunmi demanded that the governor should create an avenue for leaders to meet with him regularly, noting that those who worked for the emergence of the governor should not be forgotten.
Engineer Femi Babalola said the governor should consider the fact that he stepped down his gubernatorial ambition for him hence the governor should carry him along in the contracts he is issuing.
When met, Elder Wole Oyelese complained about how the governor gave political strength to Busari Olayemi thereby downplaying his own political dynasty.
Mogaji Nureni Akanbi complained that some persons appointed by the governor were total strangers who do not understand the workings of the party.
In its recommendations, the committee urged the governor to resolve his differences with Honourable Mulikat Akande-Adeola and personally meet with several other aggrieved leaders.
Especially, it was noted that leaders to include Senator Hosea Agoola Alhaji Kunmi Mustapha, Adeniyi Farinto and Chief Jacob Adetoro were not on good terms, urging the governor to reconcile Oke-Ogun zones 1 and 2.
The report also noted the need to properly fund the local government councils to perform optimally to benefit the grassroots and reduce pressure on the state government.
Pointing to the fact that party leaders were disoriented about the current status of the party, the report urged the governor not to continue to allow external factors penetrate the local government system.
Also noting complaints of party members about lack of funds at the local government councils, the committee urged Makinde to properly fund the local councils.
This is as it stressed the need for free, fair and credible primaries to enable party members choose their preferred candidates that they will be glad to support.
The committee also harped on the need for respect for party leaders ad cautioning appointees of the governor against unduly arrogating themselves leadership of their various local governments.
Noting lopsidedness in appointment into state boards and parastatals, the committee prayed that a little twist in the style of administration of the governor will gladden the heart of many.
Speaking with Nigerian Tribune on the report, head of the steering committee, Dr Saka Balogun expressed surprise and utmost concern at the apparent leak of the final report that was submitted to the governor.
He decried the release of the report as aimed at sabotaging the efforts of the committee and good intentions of the governor in setting up the reconciliation committee.
Balogun said, “I don’t know whether the report flying around is authentic or not, but I know we sent an authentic report to the governor on Thursday, 26th November.
“The governor gave us plenty of time to discuss with him that Thursday and he promised us that after the funeral of his mother, he will call us again. So, I do not know who authorized putting anything into the Internet. And I did not authorize sending anything into the Internet.
“I do not have any Facebook. I am very conservative.
“Anybody who chooses can fly the so-called report in the atmosphere. It is not our business.
“But, I am not only surprised that the report is flying around; I am concerned. I am concerned because even when we were going around with all the efforts we made, some of the saboteurs were describing a report that has not been written as Oputa panel report.
“The terrible intention of the saboteurs is already well known. If the report is what we submitted, they must be sabotaging our efforts and the good intentions of the governor in setting up the panel.”