The National Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Makarfi, yesterday visited former governors of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja and Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, as well as the Social Democratic Party (SDP) governorship candidate in the last general election, Seyi Makinde and former Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Oloye Jumoke Akinjide, among others.
Markarfi, who first visited the Bodija homes of the former governors, also met other key individuals.
The former Kaduna State governor said the visit was part of the reconciliation effort of the party’s national leadership to bring back aggrieved members into the PDP.
Some of the notable leaders on the entourage of the PDP chairman included a former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel; a former member of the House of Representatives, Mulikat Adeola; Chairman of the party in the Southwest, Eddy Olafeso; Senator Hosea Agboola; Senator Femi Lanlehin and former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana.
Ladoja and Makinde gave conditions for their return to the PDP.
They sought the assurance of the party’s leadership that there would be internal democracy and a level-playing field for all.
Makinde said he was 99 per cent back into the party, adding that he would complete his return when other conditions he gave were fulfilled.
Although Alao-Akala was out of the country at the time of the visit, hundreds of his supporters were on ground to welcome and receive the reconciliation team.
Makarfi said a lot of problems contributed to the crisis that threatened the PDP, which he said was the reason the party, instead of going forward, went backwards.
He regretted that the crisis affected Nigeria as a nation, saying the party needed to get its acts together for the good of the people.
Makarfi said: “The only way forward politically in Nigeria is for the only party with national widespread, the PDP, to come back to its basis and bring all its members back, create a level-playing field and entrench internal party democracy so that the slogan of ‘power to the people’ will become real.
“Ladoja is a great observer of things in Nigeria. He loves the country, the people of the state and he always speaks for them, either in power or when out of power. We are here to take you back to where you belong because the party needs you as well as the people of Oyo State and Nigeria. I have the mandate of everybody in the party to bring you back.”
The PDP caretaker committee chairman also said he was aware of the contributions of Makinde to the party, adding that he was amazed by the reception his team received from Makinde’s supporters.
The party chief thanked Makinde for being patient and loving the party.
Ladoja said he and his followers left the PDP because of the lack of internal democracy and respect for members.
The former governor said it was important for the party to learn from the crisis as it failed to manage the success it recorded as a political party.
He insisted that for him to return to the party, he needed the assurance that there would be a level-playing field for everyone, including those who would return.
Ladoja said: “It was only in the PDP that its governors were impeached wrongly. What is the essence of being in a group that cannot protect you? That is why I said we got it wrong in the party. I have no problem with anybody in the party.
“We need the assurance that we will be equal in the party so that it will be known that we formed the party together in 1998. We are not asking for anything special. These are the areas we must look at.”
Makarfi said at the November election convention of the party, there would be constitution amendment to address issues that Ladoja and Makinde raised.
He added that there were injustices that must be corrected for the party to become stronger and meet the aspirations of the electorate.