Monday, February 13, 2017

Fayose And The Re-Emergence Of PDP In The South-West

By Sola Adetola
The appointment of Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State as chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum is a good development. First, he earned it as the most senior state governor of the PDP extraction in the present dispensation. Secondly, according to Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, who announced the appointment, Fayose deserved it as a committed party man. No one can fault this claim.
*Gov Fayose 
The position gives Fayose the privilege to coordinate the activities of the Governors Forum and work with other party structures to uplift the party. It is a weighty responsibility thrust upon his shoulders at a time the party is struggling to overcome leadership challenges and the concomitant fractionalization and disorientation the crisis had plunged its members into in most parts of the country.
Fortunately, Fayose himself is not unfamiliar with the leadership tussle that has torn the party apart. He was part of the genesis of the crisis, being one of the principal actors who foisted ex-governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff on the party as acting national chairman, despite the fears raised by notable stakeholders, including the board of trustees of the party. Sadly, he and his collaborators in the scheme were unable to curb the man when he engineered a power play that became volatile. The resultant conflagration has defied political solution and the party now seeks refuge in a judicial resolution. Fayose should learn something from that to guide him in his new call to duty.
Another party issue that Fayose needs to draw lessons from was his alleged role in yet another contrivance to impose a relatively new member of the party and former governorship candidate in Lagos State, Jimi Agbaje, as national chairman of the party in very controversial circumstances, at the botched national convention of the party in Port Harcourt, in August last year.
This move did not go down well with the stakeholders of the party from the South-West as they had already endorsed a consensus candidate at their meeting in Akure, Ondo State, in the person of Chief Olabode George. The subsequent disenfranchisement of most of the delegates from the zone, with the exception of Ekiti State delegates, at the convention ground left members feeling betrayed and convinced that Fayose was pursuing a separate agenda against the collective will of the majority in the zone.
Both of these experiences portray Fayose as a leader comfortable with arbitrary actions in a bid to have his will done irrespective of what the majority thought or felt. This leadership style or attribute will not be helpful to him in the performance of his duties as chairman of the PDP Governors Forum. In simple terms, his mandate is to work with his colleagues and other structures of the party to uphold its core values and promote its electoral fortunes. It involves the stabilization of the party and mobilization of its members and supporters.

Both of these cannot be achieved when a leader is pursuing a personal agenda or promoting the vested interest of a few against the majority. His new leadership role also demands adequate consultations on issues affecting the party, accommodation of diverse views and the distillation of proper, honourable and dignifying courses of action from these views through wise counsel. And of course, all of these must be guided by diligent adherence to the dictates of the constitution of the party. Fayose must ponder over these responsibilities and adjust himself if he does not want the party to disintegrate further.

Charity, they say, begins at home. At the moment, the immediate task at hand is the rebuilding of the party for a rebound to power in 2019. The first test of the ability of Fayose to work with stakeholders across the country to achieve this purpose will be in his immediate constituency, the South-West zone. There is no doubt that he is a fiercely loyal party man running an enviable administration in Ekiti. But he is well aware that the current crisis in the party has taken its toll in the zone and even in his state where he recently became a victim with the sacking of the party executive recognized by him through a litigation.
*Sola Adetola lives in Lagos. ( solatola215@gmail.com)

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