Intrigues, factions dim Ogun PDP’s hopes ahead of LG polls
By October 8, political parties in Ogun would take to the polls to determine who governs the third tier of government in the state.
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is deep in campaigns and mobilisation of the electorate to vote for its candidates as well as other minor parties, which are jostling for space.
However, PDP that is the main opposition party expected to present a formidable challenge to the APC is engrossed with infighting, bickering and fractionalisation.
To date, three factions of the party have emerged and each is battling to take control of the party structure in the state.
Observers argued that the lingering crisis bedeviling PDP in Ogun was rooted in the squabbles that culminated in the impeachment of the former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mrs. Titi Oseni in 2008.
Ever since, they noted that the once strong, united and popular party that held sway in the state had known no peace.
That singular act sharply divided the party, leading to defection of a faction to form the People’s Party of Nigeria (PPN) which contested the 2011 general election but it lost to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). The other faction also contested that election on the platform of the PDP.
Senator Buruji Kashamu, now representing Ogun East Senatorial District seized the opportunity of the feud within the party to muscle his way into a position of relevance and subsequently took over the structure.
He had virtually been in control until after the 2015 general elections when formidable oppositions mounted from the likes of Mr. Ladipupo Adebutu and former Speaker of the House of Representatives; Mr.Dimeji Bankole began to emerge.
The result is the three factions of Kashamu, Adebutu and Bankole with each of them having its own party chairman.
Dayo Bayo is the Kashamu’s faction chairman while Sikirulai Ogundele is leading the Adebutu’s faction. Wale Egunleti chairs the Bankole’s faction.
It would be recalled that the factions held separate State Congresses in May this year to elect their leaders and each independently submitted list of candidates for the October l Councils’ election in the State.
Interestingly, Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC), which is charged with the responsibility of conducting the Councils’ election, last week, recognised the list of candidates submitted by the Ogundele’s faction.
The Chairman of the OGSIEC screening Committee, Mr. Mutiu Agboke, disclosed in Abeokuta that the “decision is hinged on an injunction from an Abeokuta High Court delivered by Justice Mobolaji Ojo”.
According to him, the court specifically addressed the “issue of giving recognition to Ogundele’s faction as against conflicting judgments of Federal High Courts of Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt on the leadership crisis.”
But sooner after the OGSIEC decision was made public, the Kashamu faction cried foul, accusing OGSIEC of being biased. They hinted to go to court to seek redress.
After a stakeholders meeting in Ijebu-Igbo, hometown of Kashamu, the faction through its chairman vowed, “We will fight till justice is done.”
He said the party was familiar with what he described as “OGSIEC’s antics”, adding, “It was not the first time OGSIEC would be involved in this kind of illegality and injustice. It happened in 2012 and we dealt with them.”
Furthermore, he said: “OGSIEC’s action is a clear travesty of justice that won’t stand the test of time. We have submitted all the genuine, legally binding documents in our possession to OGSIEC. A final judgment concerning the Ogun State Exco that has also been registered in the Ogun State High Court and automatically becomes a binding court judgment in the state has been served on OGSIEC.”
He added that all the INEC reports on the congresses, including the cover letter from INEC was served on them; a letter from the caretaker committee that allegedly gave some percentage of the delegates to those parading themselves as the parallel group which was also submitted to OGSIEC.
“What is more, OGSIEC on its own wrote to INEC asking it to clarify which is the authentic Ogun State PDP Exco and INEC in a letter dated 9th August, 2016 replied, saying it recognises and relates ONLY with the Engr. Adebayo Dayo-led Exco,” the Kashamu faction claimed.
Nonetheless, Ogundele in his reaction to the publication of the list by OGSIEC, reiterated the need for the party members to be united in order to achieve victory at the polls.
Speaking through the party’s State Publicity Secretary, Mr. Malik Olamilekan Ibitoye, Ogundele said that the PDP has a lot of work to do to take over the governance of the state from the All Progressives Congress (APC), which he claimed has mismanaged the local councils in the state over the years.
According to the state’s PDP chairman, “All members and leaders of the party across the length and breadth of the state should rise up now more than ever before, and move out enmasse to campaign for all the candidates of the party and ensure their resounding victory at the local government polls”
He said that the list finally put to rest the controversy surrounding the exercise and calmed anxieties about the internal rancour among members of the party.
He maintained that the people of Ogun State are already tired of the APC government, which he said is masquerading as “change agents” and have been clamoring for alternatives only to falter when given the opportunity to offer the change.
Ogundele called on all stakeholders in the party to join hands with him to steer the ship of the party to victory in future elections. In particular, he urged Senator Kasamu, Adebutu, Adesegun Adekoya; all elected past and current members of the Houses of Assembly, Representatives and the Senate; former Speaker Bankole and former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel to rally round the present party executives in the state in order to deliver electoral victory for the party.
He assured all party members of a level playing field to exercise their mandate and express their full political aspirations and potentials.
Ogundele commend OGSIEC ‘for being on the side of justice and peace,’ and enjoined all former state executives of the party, especially the immediate past State chairman (Engineer Dayo) and members of his State Working Committee (SWC) to join hands with him to rescue the state from what he called “directionless and visionless leadership.”
Ogundele hinted in an interview with The Guardian that his faction was making all efforts to bring the other two factions together so that: “we can go to the coming elections united. I am glad to inform you that so far, only the Dayo faction is outside the party, the other faction is now with us.”
“I thank God we are not physically fighting each other. It is their right to go to court but would that serve the interest of the party? My appeal to them (Dayo faction) is that they should sacrifice their personal interest for that of the party. My appeal to them is that they should join us because due to the insensitivity of the present administration to the plight of the citizens, majority of the people are waiting for us to bring a positive change,” he added.
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