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Convention: PDP govs, stakeholders head for showdown over Oyinlola

Hours to the commencement of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Convention, party leaders and governors are worried over the breakdown of the plan to pick officers through consensus.

A former Governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, has refused to step down for Alhaji Taofeek Arapaja in the race for deputy national chairman (South).

Oyinlola is being supported by some founding fathers of the party while Arapaja, the National Vice-Chairman (Southwest), is the candidate Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State.

He is supported by other governors.

Because of this situation, governors on the platform of the party met last night.

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At the session, it was learnt that the governors also considered options before the party after today’s Court of Appeal judgment.

Also, PDP governors — Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) and Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto) —visited Ondo to woo the leader of the Zenith Labour Pary (ZLP), a former Ondo State Governor Olusgun Mimiko.

In Benin, the Edo State judiciary said there was no court order barring the PDP Vice Chairman (South South), Dan Orbih, and 10 others from participating at the convention.

A top source, who spoke in confidence, said plans to have a hitch-free convention and build consensus have failed.

The source said, “Apart from the case before the Court of Appeal, the governors met to think of alternatives if the appellate court gives an unfavourable judgment.

“The governors also considered contingecies in case the court asks PDP to go ahead with its convention.

“But more importantly, the governors were worried that they have not arrived at the consensus candidate for office of the Deputy National Chairman (South).

“This post is an issue that can cause confusion at the Convention. Our consensus has failed on this. Some governors, who hitherto supported Oyinlola, have backed out to support Governor Makinde’s favourite.

“The same Makinde, who persuaded Oyinlola to vie for the office, dumped him for Arapaja.

“But some founding fathers of PDP, ex-governors, former national chairmanship aspirants and some leaders of the party are insisting on Oyinlola.

“Oyinlola has insisted on contesting for the position. He was quoted as saying:” Even if I will vote for myself, I will contest.

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“There are fears that the founding fathers may raise some dust at the convention. Those behind Oyinlola are heavyweights in the party. They have drawn the battle line against the governors. That is why they are opposed to consensus option.”

It was gathered that the governors were working on contingecies in case the party will go ahead with the convention.

“The court case has really affected plans for our convention. We need to have some contingecies in place.

“We are preparing for the ruling of the Court of Appeal. Either way, the governors felt the party must be prepared, a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party said. (The Nation)