By BEN AGANDE & HENRY UMORU
ABUJA—THE political fight in Ogun State between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Governor Gbenga Daniel got to an apparent climax, yesterday, as the National Secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, waived aside a court order to issue the party’s nomination forms to members of the Daniel faction.
The seeming political setback for the Obasanjo faction brought stern rebuke from Senator Iyabo Obasanjo_Bello who warned that the Acting National Chairman Dr. Haliru Bello and National Secretary Alhaji Kawu Baraje were falling in the same landmines that cost the immediate past national chairman, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo his job.
The Olurin faction of the party had secured an injunction restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Peoples Democratic Party from accepting or acting upon the results of the primaries conducted by the Governor Gbenga Daniel faction of the party pending the determination of the substantive suit filled by the former on the matter.
The Daniel and Olurin factions had conducted parallel gubernatorial and National Assembly primaries that led to the emergence of different winners. While the faction led by the Minister of Commerce, Jubril Martins_Kuye believed to be loyal to the former president held its primaries at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, the pro_Daniel group held its election at the MKO Stadium Complex, also in the state capital.
A former military administrator of Oyo State and erstwhile ECOMOG Commander, Maj._Gen. Adetunji Olurin, emerged at the pro_Obasanjo primaries while a former Group Managing Director of Gateways Holdings, Alhaji Gboyega Isiaka, emerged as governorship candidate in the primaries conducted by the pro_Daniel group.
Despite the court order obtained by the Obasanjo/Olurin faction, the party yesterday delivered the nomination form to Isiaka.
Isiaka arrived the Wadata Plaza, National Secretariat of the PDP in an ash coloured Mercedes Benz Jeep and was quickly ushered to the first floor office of the National Organising Secretary by protocol officers where he picked the INEC nomination form reserved for only accredited winners of the party primaries.
It was also gathered that Isiaka also collected the nomination form for the Ogun State Commissioner for Works, Prince Adesegun Adekoya who won the PDP primaries for Ijebu North/Ijebu South/Ogun Waterside federal constituency.
The development spelt bad omen for Senator Obasanjo_Bello’s bid to return to the Senate and paves way for the first daughter of the late Bashorun Moshood Abiola, Mrs. Lola Abiola_Edewor to contest for the seat presently occupied by Iyabo.
The group loyal to Obasanjo had served the party’s National Legal Adviser, Chief Olusola Oke a restraining order against giving the forms to the Daniel faction.
In a motion filed by Chief Adetunji Olurin, Chief Babatunde Fadun, Hon Dave Salako, Mr. Tunde Oladunjoye, Mr. Wale Solaja and Seun Adesanya, as applicants and the independent National Electoral Commission and the Peoples Democratic Party as respondents, at the Abuja Federal High court, INEC and the PDP were similarly restrained “from announcing or making any pronouncement validating the result of the primaries/congresses conducted in the Ogun State pending the hearing of the originating summons” in the case.
The court also ordered that the commission and the party also “approve, accept, compile, announce and use as its responsibilities require, the results of the primaries/congresses of the 2nd Respondent, PDP, conducted by its harmonized Executive Committee from which the Applicants emerged as the candidates of the 2nd Respondent in Ogun state for the general election and delegate to its national convention/presidential primaries pending the hearing of the originating summons.”
In the prayers before the court, General Olurin and the five others asked the court to restrain the 1st and 2nd Respondents from “accepting, compiling, announcing, using, validating and/or otherwise acting upon the results of primaries and/or congresses conducted in Ogun State by the Respondents in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1139/10 consisting of members of the dissolved Ogun State Executive Committee led by Mr. Joju Fadairo, which were done on their own or in conjunction or corporation with the Electoral panel sent to Ogun State by the 2nd respondents for the purposes of the congresses and primaries pursuant to its electoral Guidelines 2010, pending the hearing and determination of the originating Summons.
Validating results of primaries
•An order of interim injunction restraining the 1st and 2nd Defendants from announcing or making any pronouncement validating the results of the primaries/congresses conducted in Ogun State by the dissolved Ogun State Executive Committee of the 2nd Respondent which they conducted on their own or in conjunction or cooperation with the Electoral Panels sent by the 2nd Respondent to Ogun state pending the hearing and determination of the Originating Summons.
•An order directing the 1st and 2nd Respondents to approve, accept, compile, announce and use its responsibilities require, the results of the primaries and congresses of the 2nd respondent conducted by its harmonized Executive Committee from which the applicants emerged as the candidates of the 2nd Respondent in Ogun State for the general elections and delegates to its National convention/presidential primaries as contained in the returns of those primaries and congresses sent to the 2nd Respondent and attached to the affidavit in support of the Originating Summons as annexures WS 15 to 19 pending the hearing and determination of the originating summons.
The case has been adjourned to February 8, 2011 for the hearing of the Originating Summons.
Responding to the issuance of the nomination forms to the Daniel faction, Senator Obasanjo_Bello said:
“Doing so would be flouting a court order and we all know that the former chairman, Dr. Nwodo was removed for flouting a court order. The acting chairman and the secretary are on their way to being removed for flouting a court order if they indeed issued the nomination forms for Ogun state.”
Meanwhile, the PDP is, today, set to conduct fresh senatorial primaries in ten constituencies. The National Organising Secretary, Prince Uche Secondus, listed the affected constituencies as Delta Central, Oyo Central, the three Senatorial Districts in Kogi, Bauchi North, Taraba Central, Adamawa North, and Adamawa South.
The Party, it was learnt, will also conduct fresh primaries in fourteen Federal Constituencies in the country. They are Bama/Ngalla/Kalbalge Federal Constituency of Borno State, Dala, Kumbotso and Gwale in Kano State; Adavi/Okehi Federal Constituency and Dekina/Bassa in Kogi State, Uyo and Eket/Ibeno in Akwa Ibom, and in Bauchi Central in Ideato North/Ideato South Federal Constituencies in Bauchi and Imo States respectively.
Others are Gashaka Kurmi/Sarduana in Taraba State, Bida/Gbako/Katchia in Niger State; Borife/Ifelodun/Odo Otin in Osun State and Sagbama/Ekeremo in Bayelsa State.
Iyabo, Lola: The battle of their fathers
IT is not just a political showdown of two famous political families, it is also a contest that is awaiting the electorate of Ogun Central. Iyabo Obasanjo_Bello and Lola Abiola_Edewor the two home girls turned political amazons that are now in battle for the senatorial ticket of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, make an adventurous twosome!
Iyabo and Lola, though bearing their married names, have clung on to their maiden names upon which they are mounting the unfolding epic battle. It is easy for some to say that the two ladies would be nothing without their names. However, such assertion is easily rebutted by a close examination of the legislative strides of the duo in the National Assembly.
As a two time member of the House of Representatives, Lola proactively flowed with the progressive bent of politics as espoused by the Alliance for Democracy, AD, the platform upon which she won her elections to the House.
At every opportunity on the floor and in caucus meetings she was able to hold her own and showcase her laudable pedigree.
But how she migrated from the progressive tendency of Yoruba politics as symbolized by AD and questionably, by the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, to the conservative bent of the PDP may reflect her own personal proclivities. Her movement to the PDP, some would say do not reflect the worthy and courageous inclination of her paternal progenitor with the popular side.
Lola it seemed had put a safe bet on getting the PDP ticket with her strategic alliance with Otunba Gbenga Daniel. She was almost successful until Iyabo’s comeuppance, yesterday.
Iyabo on her part made no pretence about her inclination with the conservative streak when she moved from being a useful hand in OGD’s successful campaign in 2003 to a cabinet member after the election.
Her legislative endeavours in the Senate have been largely strident. Friends and foes of Senator Obasanjo agree that she is a purposeful lawmaker. Her diligence and dedication was helpful in the passage of the National Health Bill. Senators acknowledge her humility and deference to seniors. However, senators who cross her path have had great stories to tell as she has been known to fight back sometimes mobilizing against their bills.
Her seriousness is, in the eyes of some undermined by her chattiness even during Senate proceedings. Obasanjo_Bello would hardly stay on her seat for more than 20 minutes at a stretch when she is not contributing.
The court injunction obtained by the Martins-Kuye faction of the PDP restraining the PDP from accepting nominations from the Gbenga Daniel led faction is a last and perhaps potent internal cut for the Ogun PDP.
Though the national party went ahead to issue the nomination forms to the OGD led camp, the resulting legal implication could cause an internal hemorrhage that may well upturn the popular mantra that when two elephants fight the grass suffers.
In this case, the two elephants fighting may well make way for the Ogun electorate to choose from outside the behemouth PDP!