By Kunle Adekoya
THIS rainy season, it is raining endlessly for the Lagos chapter of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which just lost the governorship elections in Lagos to the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, by a very wide margin. One party faithful, who declined to be named, described the party’s performance in the governorship elections as “the worst outing of the party in Lagos since return to democratic rule.”
However, the fresh tempest brewing in the party’s state chapter has to do with nominees for ministerial considerations. Shortly after winning the presidential polls, President Goodluck Jonathan directed each state chapter, through the party’s National Working Committee, to nominate 10 persons worthy of consideration as ministers. It is the President’s first major step towards forming a new government after May 29, when he would have been sworn in.
Vanguard’s probes revealed that on the Lagos list, which is generating furore, are the current Finance Minister, Dr Olusegun Aganga, the party’s gubernatorial candidate in the April elections, Dr Ade Dosunmu, a former aide to ex-president Obasanjo, Bode Oladele, a senatorial candidate (Lagos Central), Tolagbe Animasaun, and Mr Moshood Salvador another senatorial contestant (Lagos West).
Others on the list include state party chairman, Setonji Koshoedo, former health commissioner in the state, Dr Segun Ogundimu, a governorship aspirant, Barrister Owolabi Salis, Hon Shelle, and Chief Abaniwonnda. Salis is believed to have made the list because of his popularity, hard work and contributions to the development of the party.
Lagos PDP comprises four major groups — Network Group (led by Chief Bode George), Harmony Group, led by Dr Abayomi Finnih, Global Mandate Group, led by Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, and LSF group, whose chief promoters are Dr Wahab Dosunmu, Ms Bola Sasore, and Ambassador Musiliu Obanikoro.
The brewing storm is over the allegation that most of the nominees are members of Chief Bode George’s Network Group. Indeed, Dr Ade Dosunmu, Tolagbe Animasaun, Bode Oladele, Moshood Salvador, Setonji Koshoedo, Hon Shelle, and Chief Abaniwonnda – seven of the ten nominees on the Lagos list are Network Group members.
The rest on the list are Dr Olusegun Aganga and Barrister Owolabi Salis, who do not belong to any group, and Dr Ogundimu, who is of the Harmony Group. Leading lights of the party from these groups are bracing for war and pointing accusing fingers at Chief Bode George, alleging he is plotting to have only his nominees appointed minister from Lagos.
“His calculations are clear,” alleges an aggrieved party member who spoke under strict anonymity. “If he has seven of his people in a list of ten, the odds are that it is his men that will be picked. It is too much.”
Thus, the other groups, unhappy with the list submitted by Chief George are not just sulking; it was gathered that they have submitted parallel lists to the national secretariat, details of which could not be obtained at press time. Network is the largest group and the majority of the party members have accused them of not taking everybody along and that was responsible for the woeful failure in the last election which was the worst in the history of Lagos State.
The candidates were also being accused of not campaigning enough. Some were even accused of taking money from ACN leader, Senator Bola Tinubu.
“In our party, there are lots of disloyal candidates who were actually working for ACN and who have been paid to work against their ticket,” said a member from Mainland, who spoke under anonymity.
“It is better to give it to someone without a group than give it to someone with a group because grouping is responsible for polarizing the party,” lamented another member of the party from Alimosho.
“If Network gets it, then the party has lost 2015 elections from day one,” he further said.
A reliable source from Lagos Island disclosed that the 2011 candidates for House of Assembly election have held meetings to play a role on who is appointed as Minister from Lagos. They have also met with Dr. Ade Dosunmu, Musiliu Obanikoro and Barrister Owolabi Salis.. They also met with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta. A member of the group called us that the odds favor Barrister (Dr.) Owolabi Salis because of his popularity with everyone.
“If our interest is to appoint a minister to unite the party, with wide exposure, diverse in knowledge, humble to the grassroots people, I think I will prefer Barrister Owolabi Salis.
However, another member opined: “Since Dr. Ade Dosunmu was the 2011 guber candidate, I believe he should get the position to compensate him”
Some members of the state executives are also arguing for Dr. Aganga Williams. This argument has annoyed wide members of the party particularly the indigenes and the women at the grassroots who vowed to protest his nomination for Lagos.
“I think he should be nominated for his State- Edo. We have qualified politicians from Lagos who can handle Finance ministry” said one of the members.
“Enough is enough. It is because we do not have a grassroots politician as minister from Lagos, who is also popular that we lost Lagos,” he further lamented.