From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has said former governor of Lagos State and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, goofed by saying his party, that took over the reins of power in Nigeria in 2015 would rule the country beyond 2023.
The governor spoke at a well-attended inauguration of the zonal executive of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South West, held at the Government House, Oke-Oyinbo, Agodi, Ibadan, on Wednesday.
Tinubu had on Tuesday after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at Presidential Villa in Abuja, said the APC is loved by Nigerians and the party has bright chances of ruling the country beyond 2023.
However, Makinde, who is the only PDP governor in the South West, noted: “It is time for PDP at the national level to put together a committee to start making zoning of positions for the party nationally. This is end of April and the current National Committee has up till December, and we have the national elections that will come up in less than two years from now. Our party at the national level must show leadership. We must show entire country that we are ready to take power back at the centre.
“I read in the newspaper that the National Leader of APC, said APC will be in power beyond 2023. It is a big lie. Let them hear that from this South West PDP congress, the redemption of Nigeria has started. Nigerians are tired of all the misgovernance of APC at the national level. Is it insecurity? Is it economic meltdown? Is it aloofness of the entire leadership of the government at the national level?” We in the PDP, starting from South West, we are ready to provide leadership for our country.”
Makinde also tasked the newly inaugurated zonal executive under the leadership of the National Vice Chairman, South West, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja, to be focused and ensure that PDP wins the off season governorship elections that will hold in 2022 in Ekiti and Osun States. He added that the zonal executive should also reconcile the aggrieved members of the party.
The governor also noted that the politicking that took place before the zonal congress that produced the Arapaja-led zonal executive was not meant for one party to defeat the other. According to him, the whole process was to produce the best for the party and the best has emerged.
The new National Vice Chairman, South West, Arapaja, a former deputy governor of Oyo State, and former Nigerian Ambassador to Jordan, in his address, promised that the zonal executive would discharge their roles with sincerity of purpose, be guided by the constitution for optimum functioning, and would also ensure justice and fairness.
He also contended that APC administration at the national level had failed Nigerians and PDP is the better alternative. He stated that when PDP that administered Nigeria between 1999 and 2015 left power, the pump price of petrol was N97 per litre, while a dollar to naira was N150. Nowadays under APC, he said, a litre of petroleum is above N160, and a dollar to naira is about N500.
Arapaja continued: “The most important thing, to me, is winning the elections, not just being on the seat as chairman of South West Zone. As such, reconciling and uniting our people and members and making sure that credible and acceptable candidates that can lead the party to victory are presented for elections, shall be my hallmark. We have to go back to the winning days. This time, not five out of six, but the whole six shall be won for PDP.”
He promised to use all weapons at his disposal to justify the confidence reposed in him by Governor Makinde, all leaders and delegates at the congress of April 12, 2021 and the entire members of PDP in the South West Zone.