Concerns are rife within the Peoples Democratic Party as the seven-day ultimatum issued by former Oyo State governor, Rasheed Ladoja, expires on Thursday.
Mr Ladoja and his supporters gave the party’s National Working Committee an ultimatum to correct the “unfairness” in the constitution of the state executive committee of the Oyo State chapter of the party.
It was gathered that the expiration of the ultimatum has the likely implication of the exit of Mr Ladoja along with the retinue of his followers, should the party fail to attend to his demands.
However, indications are that there are deft moves by the PDP leadership to persuade the former governor to change his mind.
Mr Ladoja rejoined the PDP from the Accord Party last year after receiving assurances that his political interest would be protected within the party.
However a conflict broke out when at the constitution of the state executive, most of his nominees were excluded, a development attributed to a frosty relationship with the NWC.
Mr Ladoja had threatened to leave the party if the NWC failed to address his concerns.
His threats further received a boost on Tuesday when former governors of Osun and Ondo states, Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Olusegun Mimiko, visited him at his residence apparently to woo him to their coalition.
While Mr Oyinlola had dumped the All Progressives Congress for the African Democratic Congress, Mr Mimiko just last week, left the PDP for the Labour Party.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt on good authority that the meeting was to explore possible options beyond the expiration of the seven-day ultimatum.
Olufemi Lanlehin, a former senator, who defected to the PDP along with Mr Ladoja, told PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday that “nothing concrete” had been reached in the discussions with Messrs Oyinlola and Mimiko.
He said his group was awaiting a reaction from the PDP NWC, before driving further in the direction of the discussions had with the two former governors.
“The meeting is just exploratory, nothing concrete has been decided,” said Mr Lanlehin, who is also a former Secretary to the Oyo State Government.
“We have a committee that is looking at things: what had happened, where we are and where we should be.
“After the seven-day ultimatum which expires tomorrow (Thursday), we will get together and review the whole situation again.”
Meanwhile, the National Secretariat of the PDP says it is not considering the demand by Mr Ladoja and others as an ultimatum.
Spokesman of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview on Wednesday that no state branch of the party had the powers to issue an ultimatum to the national secretariat.
He however said the issues in Oyo PDP had become a focal point for the NWC, which would soon reach an accord with the aggrieved parties.
“Be that as it may, Baba Ladoja is very important to us, if there are issues or conflicts-party politics is all about conflicts and resolving them whenever they arise,” said Mr Ologbondiyan.
“We are working very hard at the national level to find a peaceful resolution to the Oyo State conflict.”
Asked if the party was not concerned that Mr Ladoja and other agrived members of the party are being wooed to leave the party, Mr Ologbondiyan said there was no need for concerns, as the PDP was not experiencing any crisis.
He said other parties could successfully woo PDP members if there was a crisis situation.
“What has happened is just a conflict; it now depends on us to manage the conflict,” the PDP spokesman said.
“Those who are trying to poach, are just making the efforts to see whether they can get some of our members to join them.”
According to him, the PDP is the only party that Nigerians are relying on to remove the “incompetent government” of President Buhari and Mr Ladoja, as an experienced politician, knows where best to pitch his tent.
“I believed strongly that in a matter of few days, these issues will be put behind us,” Mr Ologbondiyan added.
The PDP recently demonstrated its strength in Oyo when it defeated the ruling APC in a legislative by-election in the state. Many attributed that victory to Mr Ladoja, who is being prosecuted by the EFCC for alleged corruption while in office as Oyo governor