*Warring factions refuse to bury the hatchet

Kolade Larewaju, Abeokuta

POLITICS in Ogun State to the ordinary eyes appear to be an easy one to be fought only on issues and popularity, but to the discerning mind it is murky, sometimes intriguing and very bitter. For those who think that it would be simpler in 2011 than it was in 2007 as a result of the drastic reduction in the number of “existing” parties in the state, they would be shocked as events play themselves out between the two strong political parties in the state.

Forces in contention within the two parties – Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, are not only impressive but also formidable. Within the PDP is the former President Olusegun Obasanjo camp on one hand and the Governor Olugbenga Daniel on the other. While every member is trying to cue-in into the camps to secure the future, a pocket of other camps appear to be in existence trying to negotiate their ways without actually coming out to be part of the two camps. Within the Obasanjo camp are said to be major players like the Minister of Commerce, Senator Jubril Martins-Kuye, Chief Sule Onabiyi, former Secretary to the State Government; Alhaji Sarafa Tunji Ishola, Senators Iyabo Obasanjo Bello and Senator Lekan Mustapha, no fewer than five members of the House of Representatives and the Group of 15 members of the House of Assembly led by Speaker Tunji Egbetokun who are at logger heads with Daniel over his administration of the state.

On the Daniel side are most of the political appointees in the state, Senator Felix Kola Bajomo, four members of the House of Representatives, Group of 11 lawmakers led by factional Speaker Emmanuel Soyemi Coker, Local Government Chairmen and a host of others who though appear not formidable on paper but could only be ignored at ones’ peril.

Compounding the problem locally is the issue of the Presidential candidate of the party which has cut across the camps with some in both camps accepting to work for President Goodluck Jonathan. Notable members of the Daniel camp are however working for other aspirants with his Commissioner for Education Elder Yemi Akinwonmi coordinating for Ibrahim Babangida and another notable member of the group, Chief Bode Mustapha coordinating for Alhaji Abubakar Atiku.

Thus membership of the camp is spread across all the aspirants. Meanwhile, Governor Daniel is the zonal co-ordinator for President Jonathan.

However the one expected to shake the party to its roots is the issue of who emerges as the gubernatorial candidate of the party to succeed Governor Olugbenga Daniel. Here the duo of Obasanjo and Daniel part ways again. The schism within the party on this issue is very deep.

While Obasanjo as the leader of the party is insistent on nominating the next governor, having been the one who backed Daniel in 2003 and 2007, Daniel is insisting on getting somebody within the system to take over and continue. Obasanjo in this regard has nominated Gen. Adetunji Idowu Olurin, a former Military Governor of Oyo State and former Administrator of Ekiti State during emergency rule as his candidate.

But in the Daniel camp are a couple of aspirants with Gboyega Nasir Isiaka and Dr. Isiaq Salako being the most prominent.

In the ACN things are a little better as the battle is only about who wins the party primaries to fly the party governorship flag in 2011. Fortunately for the party being led by former Governor Olusegun Osoba in the state, there has really not been any issue of who becomes the Presidential flag bearer.

Moreover it is certain that rooting for Jonathan in another party can not be part of the agenda as members of the party would not touch anything that has to do with Obasanjo with a ten-foot pole. Obasanjo, to them is a pariah. But then the decision of the 2007 candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party [ANPP] Senator Ibikunle Amosun to join the ACN has heated up things in the party. Amosun recently dumped the ANPP which practically killed the party which came second in the 2007 governorship election in the state.

In the race for the party ticket are a financier of the party of long standing; Remilekun Bakare a Chattered Accountant and Stock Broker who contested the 2007 Central Senatorial elections against Senator Iyabo Obasanjo Bello. Senator Ibikunle Amosun; also a Chartered Accountant, who lost 2007 governorship election to Daniel, Yomi Odusanya-Elegbede, a telecoms expert and Gbenga Obadara also a telecoms expert who was also a Senatorial aspirant in 2007, are the other prominent ones. Their battle is expected to be a fierce one but some observers believe that it would be a straight contest between Bakare and Amosu, both of whom are believed to be wealthy enough to finance their campaigns and already have enough foot soldiers that they had nurtured over time.

To provide fillip to the ACN is the return of former Deputy Governor in the State; Alhaji Adegbenga Kaka to the party having left to join Democratic Peoples Alliance, DPA, where he contested the 2007 elections but lost to Daniel. His return has effectively killed DPA in the state.

The recent emergence of Governor Kayode Fayemi has also buoyed the spirit of members of the party who are now more confident that any rigging by the PDP would be redressed in court, no matter how long it would take. To ardent members of the party; PDP is not invisible.

Osun: PDP House Divided Against Itself

By Gbenga Olarinoye, Osogbo

Why ACN may capture Osun State .The race to Osun State Government House, Oke-Fia, Osogbo, is going to be straight contest between the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, and the opposition parties led by the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN.

The opposition parties, symbolized by ACN, already has its governorship candidate in the person of Engr. Rauf Aregbesola who was ACN flag bearer in the 2007 general elections in the state.

Without prejudice to the victory of Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola of the PDP who was declared the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and twice by two different tribunals that entertained the ACN governorship candidate petition, today, things are certainly not the same in the camp of the ruling PDP unless certain urgent steps are taken to control the damage before next year’s elections.

Even in the 2007 elections, the ACN with relatively unknown opposition and without any bigwig politician in its midst went on to surprise the whole nation with the result it got at the governorship and house of assembly elections and only lost narrowly to PDP going by the result announced by INEC. That was before the ACN members were chased out of the state as some of its leaders were declared wanted by the police following the aftermath of violence that greeted the announcement of Governor Oyinlola as the winner of the election.

The ACN before the tribunal verdict that was set up to entertain various petitions arising from the election in the state was declared winner in 11 state house of assembly constituencies as against the PDP’s 15. That was when the party was cohesive and solid. Today, the story is not the same as PDP has been badly battered as a result of individual interests, bent on taking over from Governor Oyinlola next year.

As at the last count no fewer than 19 members of the party have collected letters of intention and nomination forms to contest the 2011 Governorship seat of the state of the Living Spring.

Following the alleged endorsement of a leading aspirant of the party, Senator Iyiola Omisore, from Osun East senatorial district and chairman appropriation committee of the Senate by the Alhaji Ademola Rasaq led executive of the party, the remaining aspirants except Prince Diran Odeyemi mobilized their supporters to reject the endorsement of Omisore and even went further to form a parallel exco with a new functional secretariat.

The aggrieved aspirants including the immediate Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Fatai Akinbade, and the Chief of Staff to Governor Oyinlola, Elder Peter Babalola, also petitioned the national secretariat of the party to dissolve the state exco members of which they have accused of partisanship.

There is no doubting the fact that if the PDP conducts its congresses today in the state, Senator Omisore will certainly emerge the winner because the state exco and Governor Oyinlola are solidly behind him.

The crisis came to a head when the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade and the leadership of the party in the south west waded in with a view to finding a truce but could not make any headway.

Even if Omisore is out of the race today, Governor Oyinlola will still be faced with the same dilemma of who to support between Akinbade and Peter Babalola, aka Peter Power, both of whom were his close confidants and were said to have received Oyinlola’s endorsement before embarking on the political journey.

The scenario that is playing itself out in the Osun State chapter of the PDP today is a replica of what the country witnessed during the last gubernatorial election in Anambra State where the PDP failed to win the election as the leadership of the party woefully failed to resolve the crisis before going into the race. The question now is will the party allow the story to repeat itself in Osun State or an amicable solution will be found to the problem before going into the election.

Something is however certain that a PDP with all its arsenals and which found it difficult to convincingly defeat ACN in 2007 election is now going into the battle field with a less cohesive party against a more formidable opposition. Any discerning mind may as well guess the outcome of that election as the handwriting is already on the wall.

All that needs to be done is add the incremental ascendancy of the ACN to the picture.

Ekiti: ACN’s victory not by accident

Gbenga Ariyibi, Ado-Ekiti

THE emergence of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, administrations in three states of Nigeria’s South West is not by accident. It follows the political pattern that dates back to the First Republic in the old Western Region when the region was under the control of the Action Group, AG, led by late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

With the present dispensation, it is the belief of the people of the South West that there has been nothing to show for the incursion of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the zone.

It is the general belief of the people that even when their son, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, was the President, for the whole eight years he served there was nothing to point to in terms of physical development that was brought to the area as their gain.

They argue that the South West zone has one of the terrible road networks in the country. In his own reaction, a PDP lawmaker representing Ikole1 in the state house of assembly, Hon Adebayo Morakinyo, said there was nothing wrong if other parties are in control of any state, saying in a multi-ethnic state like Nigeria that one party system was not acceptable.

Morakinyo said the PDP is still in control in three other states in the South West and assured that the party would bounce back during the next gubernatorial election and win some of the states it had lost to the opposition.

The chairman of ACN in the state, Chief Jide Awe said the control of more states by his party was a welcome development, saying it was the wish of the progressives in the country to come together until they achieve the objective of installing an acceptable government for the whole federation.

The state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC, Comrade Joseph Arogundade said what the labour was after was a good government, saying any party that was out to change the life of the members of the union, be it state or federal would be supported by the union.

Meanwhile, the members and supporters of the PDP in Ekiti State are still sulking.

PDP’s incursion into S/West a curse – Labour Party

Dayo Johnson, Akure

THE Court of Appeal verdict that ousted the Ekiti State governor Chief Segun Oni came as a rude shock to the Peoples Democratic Party PDP across the country. Report of the verdict elicited jubilation in Ondo State as the people trooped to the streets of Akure metropolis to celebrate the victory of Dr Kayode Fayemi the candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN.

The camp of the PDP which is just finding its voice in Ondo State after the immediate past Governor Dr Olusegun Agagu was equally kicked out via same Court of Appeal judgment was jolted, while the entire state was engulfed in jubilation galore in solidarity with Fayemi and the hosting of the new governor by the Labour Party governor in Ondo State Dr Olusegun Mimiko in the Ondo State government House, in Akure , together with Fayemi ‘s wife and Deputy Governor Mrs. Funmilayo Olayinka .

While the PDP described the development in the South West as a midnight that will soon be over the ruling party in Ondo State Labour Party says the PDP would be swept off completely within a short time since the region is traditionally the stronghold of the progressives. The take over of the South West states by the PDP has been a curse rather than been a blessing for the people.

Speaking with Sunday Vanguard on the development which signaled that an end is gradually coming to the domineering posture of the ruling PDP in the country and especially in the South West part of the country, the leadership of both parties reacted. Chief Adeyemi Adedipe, the Publicity Secretary of the PDP said that “the PDP is not upset by the verdict of the court of Appeal in respect of the Ekiti governorship election as avowed believer in the rule of law, we abide with the verdict. “We however wish to state that we have put the matter behind us. We are forging ahead believing in the Supreme authority pf the Almighty God that the PDP will bounce back and reclaim Ondo and Ekiti states again. We shall be back.

“The victory of those opposed to PDP is a Pyrrhic one. The majority of the voters will stand by the PDP any day and we have no doubt whatsoever in our minds that the midnight will soon be over and the sun will shine again.

The Director of Publicly of the Labour Party in Ondo State Seyi James in his comment said “Dr Fayemi’s victory is the proclamation of the people’s voice. The South West, Edo and Delta traditionally belong to the progressives.”

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