By Daud Olatunji
Attempts by former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, former Speaker of House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and former Commissioner for Information, Sina Kawonise to run for Senate and governorship seats respectively, has unfortunately hit the brick wall.
Daniel had intended to run for Senate to represent Ogun East Senatorial District, but was denied the opportunity by the Chairman, Mobilisation and Organisation Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party in the South West, Prince Buruji Kashamu.
Kashamu who has the grip of the party structure in the state got the ticket as Daniel reportedly withdrew from the race two days to the primaries. It was however, rumoured that, several attempts were made by the national body of the party to swap Kashamu’s name for Daniel’s, but was futile.
Vanguard gathered that, the national leadership became handicapped due to the several courts injunctions obtained by Kashamu which barred the party from tampering with the party structure in the state and its activities.
Attempts reportedly made by Daniel and Bankole to cause the change of the party structure was resisted and almost led to their imprisonment as Kashamu instituted contempt of court, but, was later withdrawn by the complainant.
Vanguard gathered that there were attempts to tinker with the list till the last minute when the chance to replace candidates was closed by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Perusal of the INEC list of candidates especially for the national assembly indicated that Kashamu had the day as Daniel lost out in the bid to become the Senator representing Ogun East in the Febuary 14 election.
It was also discovered that the former Speaker failed to emerge the governorship candidate of either the PDP or any other political party.
It was reliably gathered that, after Bankole failed to be the flagbearer of the PDP, several attempts were made by Dimeji Bankole Movement, DBM, to convince the leader of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, in the state, former governor Aremo Segun Osoba to replace its governorship candidate, Senator Akin Odunsi. But this met brickwall once again.
A source close to Bankole’s group hinted that a lot of nocturnal secret meetings were held both in Lagos and Ogun states between Osoba and the proponents of Bankole for governor, with a view to convincing the former to have a rethink on the choice of governorship candidate.
While the meetings were still on, the supporters of Bankole flew the kite that, Odunsi had been replaced with Bankole.
This report, it was gathered, rattled the members of the party who stormed the residence of the party leader in Abeokuta to confirm the authenticity of the report.
Expectedly, Osoba denied any move to change the party governorship candidate with Bankole.
True to his words, Osoba handed over the flag to Akin Odunsi as the party’s governorship candidate at its flag-off held recently in Abeokuta.
According to a reliable source, the DBM also proposed to join the Labour Party and grab the governorship ticket, but, the party’s leadership shut the door against the move.
For Kawonise, a deadly blow was dealt at him as he was edged out by the Labour Party, LP, leadership in the bid to become its governorship candidate in the state.
Kawonise who had been parading himself as LP’s candidate long before the ticket was given made several efforts to get the ticket but it was futile.
The party which had submitted the name of its state chairman, Simeon Olabode as the proxy governorship candidate, substituted him with a businessman and greenhorn politician, Comrade Abolaji Sunmola.
Vanguard gathered that, the party decided to deny Kawonise the ticket because of his relationship with the former governor of the state, Otunba Gbenga Daniel .
A member of the National Working Committee, NWC, who craved anonymity because he was not authorised to speak, said at the crucial meeting held in Abuja recently, that a lot of factors were considered which did not favour Kawonise.
According to the source, Kawonise was not trusted by the party’s national leaders, noting that he was not sent by Daniel to hold the brief for him while he was in the PDP.
Daniel had dumped the Labour Party for the PDP on whose platform he became the governor of the state for eight years.
At the time of filing this report, the coast seems to be getting clearer as the prominent political parties unveiled their governorship candidates for the coming election.
The Peoples Democratic Party had announced Gboyega Nasiru Isiaka as its standard-bearer; the All Progressives Congress in the state picked incumbent Governor Ibikunle Amosun; the Labour Party picked Comrade Abolaji Sunmola, even as the Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN picked Rotimi Paseda as its governorship candidate in the governorship election billed to hold in the next 43 days.