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The Oyo state chapter of the People’s Democratic Party is a beacon in the Southwest, and indeed the whole of Nigeria.
Its success at the last general election to produce the only governor and legislative majority for the party in the Southwest was no easy feat.
This is given the fact that it not only managed to defeat an incumbent but also record-breaking governor’s anointed candidate.
This has ever since placed the state’s chapter of the party in a leadership position in the southwest and the country at large.
To defeat the APC in the last election, the PDP had to adopt all possible strategies at its disposal. One particular strategy that proved to be decisive was the amalgamation of several political structures in a coalition that worked together to achieve the victory.
Getting these structures to work together was not easy, as each one of them had considerable individual standing and strong presence at the grassroots. Nonetheless, the ability of the PDP, under the leadership of its adopted candidate, Engineer Seyi Makinde, to engineer that coalition proved decisive in wining them the victory at the polls.
However, this winning strategy came with attendant challenges. After obtaining their objective of taking over the state government from the APC, they must find a way to satisfy the interests of the different individual structures that came together to work for the victory. This in itself can prove to be as difficult as winning the election, if not more difficult. It would be remembered that the winning coalition was formed alongside parties like the ADC, ZLP, and SDP.
It is on record that candidates of these other parties have voiced their displeasure with the way they have been sidelined in the appointments made by the governor.
Apart from the disgruntled gestures of other parties in the coalition, it seems there are a number of dissatisfied elements within the PDP itself. Earlier in February this year, a bigwig of the party, Bisi Olopoenia had pointed fingers to some unnamed persons he claimed are close to the governor for an alleged attempt on his life.
He would later be reported to have accused the governor of poorly managing the internal affairs of the party. These are not signs of a healthy political party.
What would further confirm these symptoms of strained relationship within the party and its coalition is the move by Governor Seyi Makinde in June to inaugurate a committee for reconciliation.
Although the publicity secretary of the party in the state, Mr. Akeem Olatunji has come out yesterday to debunk all speculations that party members are disgruntled and claimed the committee was set up to reposition the party for future elections, few people would be fooled. Nobody sets up a reconciliation committee if there are no differences to be reconciled. What is not known is the extent to which the party is presently divided and how well the committee are working to settle the differences.
For one, the current lack of leadership in the Oyo state APC is availing Makinde and PDP a big opportunity to put their house in order before any real challenge comes up at the polls. To strengthen their position, they must also put in serious consideration the happiness and satisfaction of other parties in their coalition. By the virtue of their impact on PDP’s victory, their fall out can cause a serious damage to the chances of PDP in the next polls.
It does not matter what the PDP tells itself and whoever it blames for the speculations about the break among its ranks, it must recognize the challenges ahead of it and strategize on ways to surmount them.