There were indications in Abuja on Wednesday that two former governors of Oyo State, Rashidi Ladoja and Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, had begun moves to return to the Peoples Democratic Party.
The two former governors sent their representatives to the reconciliatory meeting convened by the national leadership of the party with its Oyo State chapter at the party’s national headquarters.
Ladoja and Alao-Akala, after serving single term each as governors of the state at different times, defected to the Accord Party and the All Progressives Congress, respectively.
While Senator Femi Lanlehin was one of those who announced appearance for Ladoja, Mr. Tajudeen Kareem was one of the representatives of Alao-Akala at the meeting.
Speaking at the meeting, the Chairman of the PDP National Caretaker Committee, Ahmed Makarfi, who regretted that the party lost Oyo State, noted that nobody could gain from internal acrimony.
He assured participants that an inclusive caretaker committee would be set up soon in the state after the forthcoming non-elective convention of the party.
Makarfi, who also met with party leaders from Osun State, urged them to close ranks and worked together to reclaim the state.
While he commended them for forging a common front in the recent Osun West senatorial election, he urged them to sheathe their sword and work together for the good of the party.
Reacting to conflicting court judgments over party leadership in the state, he said, “If you wait for the conflicting judgments to be settled, it will get to the Supreme Court and it won’t guarantee victory.
“The problem is not as big as it is made to look like. All we need in our opinion is to resolve to accommodate and have a state committee that is all inclusive.”
A member of the House of Representatives from the state, Chief Wole Oke, told journalists after the meeting that the two factions of the party from the state had been asked to go and harmonise.
He said the harmonisation would be done before the convention and that its outcome would be conveyed to the national leadership of the party.
Efforts by one of our correspondents in Ibadan to speak with Ladoja and Alao-Akala, were not successful but a source in Ladoja’s camp said there had been meetings between the PDP and several parties that have defected PDP members, saying that it was likely that a representative of the Accord Party was at the meeting.
He said, “I cannot confirm if Ladoja sent a representative to the meeting in Abuja as a person but it is likely that the person represented the AP. I cannot also deny the fact that the party has been approached by some PDP representatives on the need to work together ahead of the 2019 poll. This is because as you are aware, Ladoja was in the PDP before he formed the AP.
“However, that approach by the PDP is not limited to Ladoja alone. There are many members of the PDP that are being wooed to return to the party. In Oyo State, many strong members who are now in other parties are being wooed to return to the PDP and I think positive response is emanating from the meeting.”
Asked if Ladoja authorised the AP to send a representative to the meeting to represent his interest, the source said it was not impossible.
“Ladoja is a big name in politics and he will rather deal with a situation like this smartly. He will try to be transparent on an issue like this and carry his party along. So, it is not impossible that he knew about the meeting and the representative that attended it,” he said.