By Dapo Akinrefon
THINGS seem to be falling apart in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Lagos State.
Perhaps, this can be attributed to the party’s dismal performance in the last general elections.
The party seems not to have gotten over it and it has led to the blame game among leaders of the party.
The latest crisis rocking the Lagos PDP is between its candidate in the governorship election, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, and a former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George.
The two are at each other’s throat over defection insinuations.
Though, there have been insinuations making the round that Agbaje had perfected plans to dump the PDP, he has since refuted the claims.
While Agbaje accused George of insinuating his defection from the PDP, George described the former as failed governorship candidate.
Posts that Agbaje had joined APC have featured prominently on social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook in the past few days.
One of the posts sighted recently both on WhatsApp and Facebook read: “Lagos PDP finally emptied as Jimi Agbaje defects to APC”.
Mr. Felix Oboagwina, media aide to Agbaje, had denied reports that his principal had dumped the opposition party.
Agbaje, through the aide, also accused the leadership of the party in Lagos of alleged plans to “give the dog a bad name and chase it away from the party.”
Oboagwina said that social media posts that Agbaje had left the PDP to join the All Progressives Congress, APC, were untrue.
He said: “There is nothing like that, nothing like that at all. He is still in PDP; he has not defected.
“How can people say he has defected on social media? He is too big for that; he is in PDP.”
When asked if there were plans by his principal to dump the PDP for APC, he answered in the negative.
While lampooning the a former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP for insinuating that he has defected to the APC, Agbaje said: “People should please tell Bode George to shut up and leave PDP if he lacks any value to add to the party, instead of being a dog in the manger hampering the progress of the party in Lagos State.
“He should tell the world where he got the news being spreading round.
“These party leaders have 2023 in mind. The game-plan is simple: Give the dog a bad name and chase it away from the party. By 2023, this mudslinging will have scared off credible people from the party, which will leave the whole field to them to continue to operate.
“I am too big to sneak out of one party into another one. And the reality remains that I have not left PDP for any other party, least of all APC.”
Describing Agbaje’s outburst as shameful, Prince Uthman Shodipe, Special Adviser to George, said the PDP candidate has “bitten the hand that fed him.”
George boasted that he gave Agbaje his first break in politics and a platform to actualize his political ambition.
The statement reads: “We have read with disgust an absolute report of idiocy that emanated from one Mr. Jimi Agbaje, who was a failed gubernatorial candidate of the PDP in last general elections in Lagos State, against the leader of the party in the state, Chief Olabode George.
“For the record, it is a public knowledge that Chief Bode George gave Agbaje his break in politics; he gave him the PDP platform without knowing him and also empowered him. It is sad and shameful that Agbaje has bitten the hand that fed him.
“Whether he has gone to APC or wherever, it is none of our business. We don’t know where he concocted this malady about Bode George saying that he has gone to APC.
“Bode George lifted him up in 2015 without knowing him; he secured the party’s ticket but his heart is not with the PDP. “Bode George is a man of dignity and repute, he is a father of figure for the PDP not only in Lagos and South-West, but also across the nation.”
Agbaje’s imposition led to our defeat — Lagos PDP
Lagos PDP also mediated in the matter, but castigated Agbaje over his comments.
The state Chairman of the party, Dr. Dominic Adegbola, threw up a new perspective on how the party lost the 2019 governorship election in Lagos.
He also expressed shock over the Agbaje’s “abusive statement” on George.
Dominic said that Agbaje was never a party candidate for the election.
According to him, Agbaje was not prepared to win the election.
The party chair was also quick to note that their candidate was imposed on them.
He accused a serving governor from the South-South and a former governor from the South-West of imposing Agbaje on the party. Dominic said Agbaje sidelined the party structure. He said: “During the governorship primary, many of the party leaders didn’t want Jimi Agbaje because he only appeared at the party every four years, but with the interference from outside the state, he eventually emerged as the party candidate.”
“But I can sense it from Agbaje’s attitude before, during and after election that he was not prepared to win and the people of Lagos had deserted him.
“He is an unwillingly candidate, uninterested in winning, he did not carry any leader along and did not campaign, he only held town hall meetings which were not well attended. Even when we drew up campaign programmes, he refused to run with it.”
The party chairman also berated Agbaje’s outburst against George, saying, “I am shocked to read such statement from Agbaje but not very surprised because we are not expecting much from him.”