By EMMANUEL AZIKEN, Political Editor & KOLADE OLAREWAJU
LAGOS — SENATOR Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, yesterday, gave reasons for her political fight against Governor Gbenga Daniel which she put as a battle of principles aimed at entrenching good governance denied Ogun State by the “forces of retrogression.”
Obasanjo-Bello stated her case even as the two sides in the Ogun State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, crisis were, yesterday, locked in a battle of wits to outsmart each other in the battle to represent the party in the coming general elections.
Party elders at the same time were, however, engaged in pursuit of a political solution to save the party from self implosion that could herald a defeat against the rejuvenated Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN in the State.
The search for a political solution nonetheless, Hon. Lola Abiola-Edewor who is locked in battle with Obasanjo_Bello for the Ogun Central senatorial ticket vowed not to surrender her ticket on the platform of a political solution. She said that the primary election where she emerged was the one observed by PDP and Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, officials adding that she was the only one with a valid election certificate.
Vanguard sources explained, yesterday, that party elders determined not to allow the party lose out in the general elections through the internal battles were seeking a trade off between both groups. Under the arrangement, it was being proposed that the gubernatorial ticket would be ceded to the Obasanjo group who would be expected to surrender the Ogun Central senatorial seat to the Daniel group.
Speaker Dimeji Bankole Vanguard learnt is one of the major figures seeking to find a political solution to the crisis. Speaker Bankole who represents Abeokuta South Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives it was learnt received a presidential nudge to reconcile the two factions and is well positioned to discuss with both groups.
Advances made in the talks allegedly going on were not forthcoming, but the prospects were, last night, said to be far_fetched.
Senator Obasanjo_Bello is linked in the same group with associates of her father, President Olusegun Obasanjo, putatively led by the Minister of Commerce, Senator Jibril Martins_Kuye.
The gubernatorial primaries of the Martins_Kuye faction was held in the premises of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential library in Abeokuta and produced Gen. Tunji Olurin as candidate while that of the Daniel faction took place in the Moshood Abiola stadium and produced Gboyega Nasiru Isiaka as gubernatorial candidate. PDP and Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC officials were, however, represented only at the primaries conducted by the Daniel faction.
The Martins_Kuye faction had, however, obtained an injunction from a Federal High Court in Abuja stopping the PDP and INEC from recognizing the candidates produced at the primaries conducted by the Daniel faction and upon which INEC albeit temporarily gave recognition to the Martins-Kuye faction.
Fight against Gov Daniel
Explaining the basis of her fight against Governor Daniel under whom she served as a Commissioner for Health between 2003 and 2006 in a statement yesterday, Senator Obasanjo-Bello said: “Our struggle within PDP is a principled one; it is not about mere jostling for the Senate seat or any other position.
“I joined politics for only one reason, to contribute to making my country a better place for all to live, in which case, there is no reason to flee from injustice and oppression but to face it bravely. As an unwavering believer in the rule of law, we have taken recourse to legal action and we are glad of the plausible results even in the face of unwarranted attacks. Let me assure our teeming supporters once again that we will remain steadfast and focused.
“I want to assure our party that our disagreement with PDP has to do with seeking redress to the facts contained in our legal documents before the court. As loyal members of the Party we feel the party unequivocally took sides and flagrantly disobeyed a court order. We are willing to resolve amicably to ensure overwhelming success of our party in the coming elections.”
Lauding INEC for upholding the rule of law by not giving recognition to the Governor Daniel faction, she said: “We thank INEC for following the rule of law; we thank and congratulate our steadfast teeming supporters. Your prayers have been our refuge during these trying times. Whatever the future holds, I hope to remain true to my calling of assisting and helping people in continuation of my service to mankind.”
Mrs. Lola Abiola_Edewor, on her part, welcomed the resort to the courts by the other faction as she said that it would help to expose the hypocrisy in the claim by the other group. She said: “It is a welcome development, maybe it is about time that we all go and seek a judicial interpretation of the whole matter and get it over once and for all. Really there are two parties to this issue and the court should be able to decide which party has a legal footing, end of story.”
Saying she had no fears about the court action, she added: “Absolutely no fears because the truth of the matter is that we held an election and the election that we held was observed and conducted by constitutionally recognized bodies. Our election was organised by the party, supervised by INEC and everybody who was supposed to be there was there unlike the other election that they are talking about.
“So, all of these things we have been able to put in proper perspectives. There is nothing to be worried about because right now, I have the Certificate of Return that was given to me by INEC as the winner of the senatorial and I know that I was the only one that was given that certificate as far as Ogun Central PDP is concerned, so what are we talking about?”
Mrs. Abiola_Edewor a former member of the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2007, equally flayed calls for a political solution noting that it was too late in the day to seek a political solution.
She said: “That is too late in the day, you do not begin to make new rules at the middle of the game. In fact, in this instance it is even at the end of the game. We have gone beyond political solutions, we are going for legal solution. There was plenty of time before the primary that the political solution should have been sought. After a proper election has been held you cannot come up with a political solution. I am ready to submit myself to a legal solution, I am not going to be a party to a legal solution.”