The Southwest Zone of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP), on Wednesday, held a Unification Rally in Mapo Hall, Ibadan, where it welcomed returnees to the Party and wooed others to join its fold.
The Rally which took place despite the efforts of the Federal Government to curtail the spread of Corona virus by discouraging large public gatherings, attracted party leaders from the six Southwest states of Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Ogun, Ekiti and Lagos. The rally also witnessed the return of some prominent politicians from the Zone and their supporters back to the PDP.
The attendees wore the green, white and red colours of the PDP with numerous cluster groups singing and jubilating in solidarity with the party leaders.
Notable figures among the returnees includes the former National Secretary of the PDP, who doubles as a former Governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola; former Secretary to the Osun state Government, Mr Fatai Akinbade; former Nigerian Ambassador to Jordan, Taofik Arapaja (Oyo); Senator Gbenga Babalola; Mr Olalere Gbadamosi (Lagos ADP Governorship candidate); Mr Oladipupo Adetutu Kensington (Ogun); Remi Oseni (Oyo) and Wale Adegoke (Oyo), among others.
The returnees are from the All Progressive Congress (APC), Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Social Democratic Party (SDP) and African Democratic Congress (ADC).
Addressing the returnees, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State said, “This rally is important to us, it is the beginning of our unity in the Party and the region as a whole. If the Southwest is peaceful, the entire country will be peaceful. We now use this opportunity to welcome our brothers and sisters.”
Makinde reiterated that despite the demonstrations and protests in Lagos and Ekiti against the establishment of the Western Nigeria Security Network, codenamed Amotekun, the Amotekun has come to stay.
He stated, “We want Amotekun and Amotekun has come to stay in this State and in this region. Let us show love to those who have come to join and rejoined us and all our leaders who have returned to the Party. We welcome them all.”
Towing the same line of thought, the former Deputy National Chairman of the Party, Chief Olabode George, said the PDP is open to everybody because it is working at harmonizing its home ahead of the next election.
A new rebirth for PDP
The former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Erelu Olushola Obasa in her brief remarks said, “We are indeed very grateful and happy for today’s Unification Rally. It is the beginning of a new rebirth for the Party in the region. But the next election, PDP will reclaim all its lost territories in the entire region. We are reclaiming the Southwest back with the return of the big wigs into the Party across the region.”
The National leadership of the Party, Elder Yemi Akinwonmi, while receiving the defectors said the return of Oyinlola and other former leaders to the fold was a good omen for the Party in the State.
He urged them to start working for the Party so that it would have good outing during the next general elections in the Zone and the Country at large.
Speaking earlier, the Southwest Chairman, Mr Eddy Olafeso, while welcoming the delegates to the Rally, said the gathering was an attestation to the efforts of the Party leaders at ensuring their house was in order ahead of the forthcoming elections in the selected states of the region and the 2023 general elections in the Country.
The list of the dignitaries include, Governor Duoye Diri of Bayelsa State, PDP National Chairman; Prince Uche Secondus, who was represented by Gen S. A Akopondu; Atiku Abubarkar who was represented by his son Adamu Atiku Abubakar, and the Adamawa State PDP chairman, Mr A. T. Shehu.
Others are former Deputy National Chairman Southwest, Shuaib Oyedokun; former National Vice Chairman Southwest, Chief Tajudeen Oladipupo; Alhaja Mutual Ladoja, wife of Ex-Governor Rashidi Ladoja; Mrs Bosede Adedibu, wife of late Ibadan political strongman, Lamidi Adedibu and Speaker Oyo State House of Assembly, Adebo Ogundoyin
The list also includes members of the Party National Working Committee, Zonal Working Committee and State Executives from the six Southwest states of Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti and Lagos.