By Leke Adeseri, Regional Editor, South-West, Kolade Larewaju & Ola Ajayi
The South-West continues to be too hot, literally, for the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, to handle especially after the party lost governorship seats in Ekiti and Osun states to the rival Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, through judicial processes.
Effectively, governorship elections will take place only in Oyo and Ogun states of the six South-West states, since it will be near impossible for PDP to beat Fashola in Lagos.
There won’t be gubernatorial polls in Ondo State till 2013, while new governors will not be chosen in Osun and Ekiti states until about four years time.
Meantime, the various factions within the party in Ogun and Oyo states have continued their schemings both at the party headquarters in Abuja and at the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to ensure they gain upper hand in their struggle for dominance
Trouble in Ogun
FOR members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] in Ogun State, their wait with baited breath is far from being over.
The day of reckoning for them is now here as the intractable crisis which has defied all efforts to settle appeared to have finally caught up with them.
For over almost two years, if not more, members of the party had been at daggers drawn with each other over who controls the soul of the party in the state. It has been one week, one trouble for the party since then. On one hand is the Governor Olugbenga Daniel group comprising of Commissioners, Special Advisers, Special Assistants, former Local Government chairmen, one Senator, four House of Representative members and lately the Speaker of the House of Representatives; Mr. Dimeji Bankole. Also in the camp are 11 members of the House of Assembly led by factional Speaker, Mr. Soyemi Coker.
In the other camp believed to be loyal to former President Olusegun Obasanjo led by the Minister of Commerce and Industry; Senator Jubril Martins_Kuye, Senators Iyabo Obasanjo_Bello and Lekan Mustapha, four members of the House of Representatives, 15 members of the house of Assembly led by the Speaker; Mr. Tunji Egbetokun, Chairman of the Elders Forum; Chief Sule Onabiyi, former Secretary to the State Government; Mr. Sarafadeen Tunji Ishola and a host of other prominent members of the party. In this group until a couple of days to the primaries was Speaker Bankole.
INEC recognises Obasanjo factions list
The intrigues associated with Nigerian politics continued today as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) overruled the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with the recognition of candidates that emerged in the primary conducted by a faction of the PDP in Ogun State loyal to former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
The Obasanjo faction which is led by Jubril Martins_Kuye, the Minister of Commerce, had held its congress at the Obasanjo Library where former ECOMOG commander, General Tunji Olorin emerged as Governorship candidate and Dr. Iyabo Obasanjo_Bello emerged as a Ogun Central Senatorial District candidate, while Chief Tunde Fadun emerged as Senatorial candidate for Ogun West.
Recall that the national headquarters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had given backing to the primaries conducted by the faction of the party loyal to Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel and subsequently forwarded the names of the candidates that emerged from it to INEC.
The candidates that emerged from the Daniel faction are: Mr. Gboyega Nasir Isiaka (Governorship candidate); Honourable Lola Abiola_Edewor (Senate candidate, Ogun Central Senatorial District); Mr. Waliu Taiwo (Senate candidate, Ogun West Senatorial District); and Governor Gbenga Daniel (Senate candidate for Ogun East).
Explaining INEC’s decision on the Ogun State, the commission cited a court order, which barred it from accepting candidates that emerged from the primaries conducted by the Chief Joju Fadairo faction, which enjoys the support of Gbenga Daniel.
INEC’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Emmanuel Umenger told journalists at the electoral commission’s headquarters that, “In the interim there is a court order which we have to obey and that is why we are giving recognition to the nominations of the Ogun PDP faction which produced General Olurin and others.
“We are a law_abiding body, we have to obey the order. If there is an appeal over the matter and the court rules otherwise, INEC will have no option, but to reverse it as a law_abiding body set up by an Act of parliament,” Umenger stated.
Isiaka blames ACN for PDP’s woes
Factional Governorship candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] in Ogun State Mr. Gboyega Nasiru Isiaka yesterday blamed the crisis within the party on the Action Congress of Nigeria [ACN] which he said was bent on destroying the PDP through Jubril Martin_Kuye faction.
Isiaka in a statement by his campaign organization said that majority of the people causing the crisis within the party were already members of the ACN and that they were only waiting for the collapse of the PDP through their actions before dumping the party.
The statement signed by Mr. Bolaji Adeniji said “these detractors are out to destroy the PDP and then proceed to their chosen party [ACN]. Majority of these people are already in ACN and have a few of their comrades in the PDP to play a spoiler role.
“It is sufficiently clear that the Dayo Soremi group and their sponsors are agents of ACN left in the PDP to reduce its fortunes. Their sponsors are from the ACN and they have reserved positions for them once the current problem they are creating destroys the PDP.
If not so, why did they take the National Secretariat of the party to court? What this means is that, instead of them losing out in their evil plot, they better destroy the party and everyone loses but they go to the ACN”
The statement explained that the National Secretariat of the party had stated that it recognized the Joju Fadairo executive and had always related to it and that the illegal harmonization pronouncement by the former National Chairman, Chief Nwodo was reversed at the NEC meeting.
Position in Oyo remains unclear
The governor described as false the report that Akala’s ambition had been truncated by INEC.
He sees the report as a continuation of the serial desperation of the opponents to plant confusion when they could not succeed through legitimate means.
Akala said, the national headquarters of the PDP had successfully submitted the list of PDP candidates whose names were submitted by the national headquarters of the party.
According to him, “As a matter of fact, INEC has issued acknowledgement receipt to all our candidates whose names were submitted by the headquarters of the party”, urging his numerous supporters who had been thrown into confusion as a result of the publication to discountenance it.
He promised after the swearing in of 14 permanent secretaries yesterday that he and other chieftains of the party were prepared to make sure that INEC accepted the list.
The state congress of the party that was held between Dec 29 and Dec 31, 2010 , was a controversial one with two factions within the party having parallel congresses, but the national secretariat of the party recognised the faction of the state governor.
The aspirants challenging the results of the state congress in the suit marked FHC/IB/CS/2/2011 are the former Deputy Governor in the 11 months illegal reign, Mr. Hazeem Gbalorumi, Elder Wole Oyelese, former Minister of Power and Steel and Yekeen Adeojo, the former National Deputy Chairman of the party in the South West, and 34 others including Senator Lekan Balogun.
The respondents are INEC, the PDP, the party state chairman, Chief Dejo Afolabi and the state governor, Adebayo Alao_Akala. Mr. Folorunso Lana, a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice who was removed in controversial circumstances is holding brief for the plaintiffs.
The court nullified results for the state House of Assembly, the House of Representative, and the three senatorial seats and the governorship primary election pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice before it.
Justice Johnson Shakarho restrained the party and the state governor, Adebayo Alao_Akala from presenting any candidate of the party to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) based on the results of the congress.
But the court struck out the prayer by the aggrieved chieftains of the PDP which prayed the court to restrain INEC from receiving, accepting or in any way acting upon any nomination of any person or persons for any election purportedly elected at the congress. He said this had been overtaken by event.
The matter has been adjourned to Feb. 10 for hearing on the substantive matter.
But responding to the ruling, Governor Adebayo Alao_Akala said through his Special Adviser on Public Communication, Prince Dotun Oyelade that it would be an exercise in futility.
On the court order, he expressed suspicion that his political foes were trying to play some funny games. He did not believe that they had actually got any injuction as they claimed.
Describing it as a mere speculation, he challenged anyone with such order to produce it adding that politicians could go to any length especially when failure stares them in the face.
Akala said, “there is time for everything. Have you seen the court order with your eyes? We politicians can say a lot of things. It is just a speculation. And if it is true, it is not uncommon. It is expected from the opposition most especially when they fail.
Governor Akala who looked unruffled by the reports is not undermining his enemies. He has made many overtures to them.