There are strong indications that, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun state is likely to face the coming this year’s governorship election as a divided house even after the primary of the party, would have been conducted and the candidate picked.
This is because, the party has three issues to contend with and resolve before and after the primary. The first issue is the ticket of the party which would end after the primary and which could spark off a new crisis that is likely to scatter the party and cause disaffection that could lead to mass defection from the party, if the candidate envisage is not picked
The second issue is that of the Chairmanship and the state executives, as two factions are laying claims to be in control of the party.
At the moment, the Chairmanship palaver has created sharp division within the ranks and files of the party, and this has also extended to the aspirants jostling to take the governorship ticket. Just as members and leaders are divided, the aspirants too are exhibiting anger and hatred among themselves.
The aspirants who were not only in battle of wits, have resorted to campaign of calumny and character associations against themselves.
The third one is the issue of where the governor should come from, as the people of Osun West, are laying claim to the governorship seat, arguing that it should be the turn of the Senatorial District, because it has not produced the governor since 1999 that this Democracy began, with only Osun Central and Osun East, dominating the pace.
Already, the party is parading six aspirants who have been screened and cleared and ready for the primary, to determine who picks the ticket for the governorship next month if there is no changes in the arrangement.
Of all the six aspirants in PDP only one of them appears to be from Osun East, while the rest seem to be from Osun West.
Also the battle is hot, because of the determination of the people from Osun West that their votes would be for the party that picks its candidate from the zone.
Since the incumbent, Governor Gboyega Oyetola from the central is likely to still retain the ticket of his party, APC, the hope of the people in Osun West now, depends on the PDP and this has made the aspirants of the party, to engage in all forms of tactics to win the ticket.
The aspirants in the battle are Alhaji Fatai Akinbade, former Secretary to the the Osun state government, during the tenure of former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Senator Ademola Adeleke, who was the candidate of the party in 2018, and was enmeshed in a controversial educational scandal but was able to wriggle out, to contest the election, which he won on the first ballot but declared inconclusive; Sanya Omirin, from Atakumosa who happens to be the only aspirant from Osun East, Dotun Babayemi a business mogul, Akin Ogunbiyi, who trailed behind Demola Adeleke in the last primary, which he believed he won but rigged out, and the new entrant into the race, is Dele Adeleke, the nephew of Demola Adeleke, whose entry has been controversial.
Dele’s coming in to the race has made the contest very interesting to the people, because he came in surprisingly, and people are still wondering those behind him, as it was glaring that the business mogul in the family, who has been bankrolling Demola is not in his support.
This has made the people to keep pondering, how the Adeleke’s would sort out themselves before the primary. It is believed that if care is not taken, the division in the family could cost them the governorship ticket.
But there is no likelihood that Dele who came in on the picture late, would step down for Demola, his nephew, as he too is determined to govern Osun State, claiming he is a better candidate for the post.
As the power play and intrigues go on, among the aspirants, the party too, is operating with two executives, both claiming to be authentic.
This is rather confusing members, as some of the aspirants too, are queuing behind the executive that they believe would favour them, while they also engaged in campaign of calumny and character assassinations.
All these have been worrisome to the leaders of the party, both at the state and at the national, who have waded into the matter, particularly, the issue of the two executives.
Although, the one led by Hon. Sunday Bisi, which suspended the other group led by Barrister Wale Ojo appears to be the one calling the shots, claiming that it’s the only one recognised by the national body of the party. The Wale Ojo’s factions and members behind them, are not submissive and doing things at variance with Bisi’s directives.
The situation is now very tensed in the party and this made the likes of former governor, Oyinlola, Alhaji Shuaibu Oyedokun, Dr. Olu Alabi, Chief Adeogun and other Board of Trustees(BOT) members of the party, to keep making efforts to settle the rifts, raging amongst the aspirants, factional executives and their various supporters.
As at early part of the this month January 2022, several meetings had been held to put an end to the internal party wrangling but the leaders have not been able to reach an amicable settlements.
All the meetings held at the country homes of Prince Oyinlola in Okuku and that of Alhaji Oyedokun were deadlocked, as the turnout was sort of zigzag. If one of the warring groups with their supporters and aspirants were present at a meeting, the other groups would not attend.
The leaders believed that the matters confronting the party should be resolved to avoid having two primaries.
One of the leaders of the party told Businesshallmark that the main issue giving them so much concern, is the issue of the aspirants doing everything to destroy themselves.
He said “you can’t imagine the supporters of the aspirants using certificate issues to damage themselves.” He made specific reference to the supporters of Demola Adeleke and that of Akin Ogunbiyi.
While Demola’s supporters claimed that Ogunbiyi should not have claimed that he is a PhD holder when, what he had was just honorary and that his Master’s degree too is questionable, those in Ogunbiyi’s group too are saying that Demola is parading fake degree certificates from USA, when he is yet to clear and convince Nigerians in respect of the certificate scandal he was involved in, which dragged
on till when the the 2018 election was held.
Also there is also serious in-fighting in the Adeleke’s family. Dele, who came in to the race at the last minute was said not to be an authentic Adeleķe.
Demola made this disparaging remarks against his nephew, at Ede Day where the core indigenes of the town, gathered for the yearly event.
The statement speaks volumes and was interpreted in so many ways. It also angered some members of the family who felt insulted that if Demola could dissociate himself from Dele, who is the first grand child of Chief Ayoola Adeleke and whose father was far elderly to late Tunji, Deji, the money bag, Dupe and Demola himself because of politics, it means they too were regarded as bastard.
The leaders of the party muffled with the trends of events, pointed out that these are the issues, they have been battling to resolve without success yet.
It would be recalled that Dele while reacting to the accusation on why he came to contest despite the fact that he was aware of Deomola’ interest, said the family is a Democratic one and that had been the foundation laid down by his grandfather, Chief Ayoola Adeleke, who believed that any member of the family, is free to choose the path he wants in life, especially, politically.
He said he has not done anything against his uncle, Demola because he believes that Osun deserves the best.
He said it was the youths in the state that sponsored his candidature to join the race, “to offer Osun a difference.”
He argued ” Osun deserves the the best and a competent hand to saddle her affairs. As such I believed that my experience is enough to take up the task. I will encourage youth empowerment,” he pointed out.
On the allegation that Demola has been endorsed as the sole candidate, which is one of the issues tearing members and aspirants apart, chairman of the conscious group within the party, Kehinde Adesiyan said that there was no where the party sat down to endorse Demola but the group backed Omo Oba Dotun Babayemi, saying that “to avoid crisis of 2018 PDP must present an acceptable candidate to all contending interests, who will make them happy and compensate all citizens of Osun state, for their sufferings of 11years under the APC.”
In his reaction, the Publicity Secretary of the party in the state Areola Ayodeji, said that there is no doubt Hon. Sunday Bisi is the only PDP chairman in Osun state. He said that whatever the case may be, all issues would be resolved before the election.