Less than 24 hours to the National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja, former governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and his supporters on Thursday joined the party.
The dumping of the ZLP by Mimiko was announced in a communique issued by the member of the party after a stakeholder meeting in the aftermath of the visit of four PDP governors to the former Ondo governor.
Earlier, four serving governors of PDP which include Governors Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia as well as other political leaders of the opposition party held a closed-door meeting with Mimiko and other stakeholders of the ZLP.
Speaking after the less than 45 minutes closed-door meeting, the leader of PDP Governors Forum. Tambuwal said the meeting with Mimiko was part of the steps towards the party’s mission to rescue Nigeria saying it becomes necessary to woo Mimiko into the PDP fold to join hands with the progressives towards building a new Nigeria.
Tambuwal said, “we are here in Ondo town, the resident of our leader, Olusegun Mimiko to re-invite him back to his political family, PDP and as you can see we have governors from Rivers, Oyo and Abia states and we have had a robust engagement with him.
We are very hopeful that we are going to have a positive response from him soonest. Our message is simple, let us come back together to reposition the PDP towards rescuing Nigeria now.
On the 2023 general elections, Tambuwal said, “we are to reposition the country and to ensure that PDP is back to power in 2023.”
Addressing the ZLP stakeholders, Governor Wike also urged the Zenith Labour Party member to support Mimiko to return to the PDP.
“We are here because we know the importance of Iroko. We need everybody in the country to work together to rescue the country. It is everybody’s business to rescue this country. Tell him to join us so that we can move the country forward.” Wike said
Speaking before taking the decision to rejoin PDP, Mimiko said the meeting was part of the series of meetings held over two months ago with various political leaders from different parties
He said “this is one of the series of interactions we had over two months ago and they have come at least to convince us why we should come back to join forces with them in PDP.
“We have listened to them, we will go back to our stakeholders’ meeting because it is them, stakeholders, that will decide before we will make our decision on it.”
“It is the stakeholders that will decide. I will give the stakeholders my opinion and they will decide if we should move.”
However, the stakeholders after serious deliberation unanimously agreed to rejoin the PDP.
The communique signed by the State Chairman of ZLP, Chief Joseph Akinlaja, said members of the ZLP across the 18 local government areas in the state decided to join PDP after a thorough appraisal of the development in the country.
Akinlaja said in the communique that: “The meeting followed an earlier visit by four PDP governors led by the chairman of their forum, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Okezie Ikpeazu, Nyesom Wike and Seyi Makinde.
The governors had told the press after their meeting with Mimiko that they are in Ondo to invite Mimiko and his teeming supporters in the ZLP to the PDP.
“The stakeholders meeting was called to discuss the meeting with the PDP governors and intimate members with the outcomes of a series of interactions with PDP leaders on the invitation extended to him.
“Mimiko told the stakeholders that the ZLP is being invited to join the PDP to rescue the country from the brink of insecurity.
“The stakeholders appraised developments across the nation and agreed that the PDP is the most viable platform to work with to be able to work towards winning future elections in the State and in the country as a whole.
“Mimiko had earlier told members that leaders of the PDP have shown demonstrable commitment to fully integrate all willing joiners from the ZLP and accord them full membership rights in what promises to be a win for PDP members and Nigerians alike.
“After detailed deliberations by leaders across Local Government Areas, a motion moved for members of the ZLP in Ondo State to join the PDP was put to vote to which all present voted yes by popular acclamation.
“It was resolved after deliberations that members of ZLP decided to pitch their tent with the Peoples Democratic Party to rescue the country from the misrule of the APC and set her on a path of peace and progress for the benefit of all.”
The ZLP stakeholders meeting was attended by Mimiko, former deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi, his running mate, Gboye Adegbenro, former speaker, Jumoke Akindele, the state chairman of the party, Hon. Joseph Akinlaja among other leaders.