The South West Reconciliation Committee has met with former State Chairman of the Lagos PDP, Eng. Adedeji Doherty, on the lingering crisis plaguing the party in the state.
Chairman of the committee, Barrister Eyitayo Jegede, a former PDP governorship candidate in Ondo State, told Doherty that he and his colleagues had been consulting with critical leaders of the party to gather facts on issues causing the dispute within the party, adding that the leadership both in the South West and National were seriously concerned about the situation of the Lagos PDP.
Jegede assured that his committee was committed to bringing peace into the Lagos PDP, saying they will make truthful and fair representation to the National Working Committee (NWC) on issues causing crisis in the state and how to equitably resolve them.
Doherty, who was joined by some of the key leaders of his Unity Freedom Group (UFG) received the committee in his palatial residence at the elite WEMABOD estate in Ikeja.
The UFG leader, who is also a former gubernatorial aspirant in Lagos PDP, applauded the initiative of the National Working Committee (NWC) to look into the crisis in the party, saying that the committee members should see the assignment as a call to service.
He said there was no better time than now for all leaders who genuinely love the Lagos PDP to do well in the forthcoming 2023 general elections to take a critical look at what’s happening in the state and address the issues causing disputes in the party frankly and with a sense of purpose.
Taking the committee through his long story of tribulations from certain leaders of the party since he emerged as state chairman, Doherty said there had been no peace for him in the party even after almost a year that he had left office.
He told the committee that he’s still defending five cases filed against him during his tenure in court, two of which are a contempt charge and the other demanding for his committal to jail.
Doherty availed the committee with related documents on the court cases and botched agreements of previous peace efforts in the state.
Doherty told the committee that all previous peace efforts and agreements, which involved top leaders including Chief Olabode George and the South West leader of the party, Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, were jettisoned soon after the initiatives for rapprochement, making leaders and their individual followers to be at loggerheads without end.
Saying that it was shameful and embarrassing that influential leaders of the party would be using whatever powers they possessed to harass fellow leaders and members of the party, Doherty recalled that some leaders had been killed in the heat of crisis while several others who could not withstand the harassments have had to run away from the party at different times.
He made references to the brutal murder of the late Eng. Funso Williams and former Chairman of Apapa Local Government, Mr. Aborishade. On each of the two instances, several leaders including himself had had to spend time either in police detention or the prison cell.
Doherty said it was such harsh and unrelenting attacks on leaders who had cause to disagree with Chief George that has led to the exit of prominent persons like Dr. Yomi Finnih, Senator Ogunlewe, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro and later Hon Salvador, who is also a former State Chairman, saying that was how the party had continued to be depleted and too weakened to face the opposition in the state.
The UFG leader, however, assured the committee that his group would not exit the party, no matter the intimidation and harassment, saying he is determined to weather the storm as he believes that no situation lasts forever.
Responding, the committee chairman, Eyitayo Jegede, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) assured that his committee would make all possible efforts to bring an end to the crisis in the Lagos PDP.
He said that all leaders were genuinely concerned that Lagos State is the only one among the six states in the South West that PDP has not governed since 1999 and are resolute to work together and break the jinx with the 2023 elections.
Jegede asked for cooperation from all critical leaders of the Lagos PDP on the assignment of his committee.
He said his committee would make efforts to resolve the differences among contending leaders, and wherever they meet a brick wall, the committee will refer the issues to the NWC that sent them on the assignment.