The Peoples Democratic Party is locked in crisis over the choice party’s candidate for 2019 election in Osun West senatorial district, currently represented in the National Assembly by Ademola Adeleke.
The contest is between a former PDP governorship aspirant, Akin Ogunbiyi, and the director of the PDP Ademola Adeleke campaign in the last Osun Guber election, Oyewumi Lere.
It should be recalled that Mr Ogunbiyi lost to Mr Adeleke in the Osun state governorship primaries. Mr Adeleke came second in the governorship poll held in September while Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressive Congress won.
This newspaper reported how Messrs Adeleke and Ogunbiyi, in a meeting facilitated by Senate President Bukola Saraki, signed a peace agreement to put an end to the rivalry between the duo so as to combine forces to defeat the APC candidate in the Osun State election.
In an interview with our correspondent on Wednesday, the press secretary to Mr Ogunbiyi, Ismail Afolabi, stated that the PDP national executive council had given his principal an automatic senatorial ticket following a deal struck to work with Mr Adeleke in the last election but Mr Lere has insisted on a primary election.
“The state and national leadership of the party steered clear of the exercise on the premise that the ticket has been conceded to Dr Akin Ogunbiyi, the first runner-up in the party governorship primaries,” the spokesperson said.
He continued: “In a Memorandum of Understanding, the national leadership of the party had ceded the senatorial ticket to Ogunbiyi after his fallout with Senator Ademola Adeleke, the governorship candidate of the party at the just concluded election in Osun. We were just waiting for the affirmation on Wednesday.”
We gathered that hoodlums, armed with guns, machetes and charms, disrupted the senatorial primaries scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday before the arrival of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC).
The faction that sponsored the hoodlums is yet unknown as both parties (Messrs Lere and Ogunbiyi) are pointing accusing fingers at each other.
Meanwhile, Mr Lere, who spoke with our correspondent, said Mr Ogunbiyi is afraid to slug it out at the primaries because he is unpopular.
“Let us see who has more delegates,” said Mr Ogunbiyi. “He is afraid because he knew he would not win in the primaries. That is why Ogunbiyi is seeking an automatic ticket.”
Allegations of breach of the agreement
However, both Messrs. Lere and Ogunbiyi have raised allegations of breach of agreement against each other.
According to Mr Lere, in the pact signed by Mr Adeleke and Mr Ogunbiyi, the latter was promised an automatic senatorial ticket if he was able to deliver his local government for the governorship candidate in the September 22 election.
“Instead, he worked against us,” said Mr Ogunbiyi. “Throughout the whole governorship campaign, he didn’t follow us to any of the places we visited. All we needed from him was his local government, which will attract the automatic ticket.”
Mr Lere added that he wouldn’t have contested if Mr Ogunbiyi had fulfilled his part of the agreement. “I would not have contested if he had ‘delivered’ his home for us. What will I be looking for after being the Director-General for Adeleke’s campaign organization?
“Immediately we lost the election, he travelled out of the country. Now, he has been frequent in Abuja to solicit an automatic ticket. Those in Abuja too are not idiots. They said he has reneged on his promise, ” Mr Lere said.
Meanwhile, this newspaper reported that PDP lost to APC in Ayedaade local government as 9836 votes were recorded by PDP while APC had 10861 votes.
On the other hand, Mr Ogunbiyi alleged Mr Lere and the Adeleke’s campaign organization of breaking the pact signed, by secretly obtaining the form to contest for the senatorial ticket in the first place.
His spokesperson said: “This is one of the reasons why Omisore refused to work with the Adelekes because they can’t be trusted. They wanted a win-win and that made them obtain the form without our knowledge. They betrayed the agreement.”
Speaking on the inability of Mr Ogunbiyi to deliver his constituency,Ilè-Ogbo in Ayedaade local government, for PDP, Mr Afolabi said: “What happened in Ilè-Ogbo was a protest voting against PDP. Dr Ogunbiyi himself didn’t want it that way. Unlike the usual practice, he spent his own money on the election.
“More so, the people were aware of the insincerity behind the senatorial ticket and weren’t really pleased to remain in PDP. I was at the collation centre till about 2:30 am on the Sunday after the election on Saturday. It’s not our fault.”
National and Osun state PDP executives keep mum
The national and Osun state PDP executives have remained silent over the promise of an automatic ticket and the conduct of the Osun west senatorial district primaries.
In a telephone conversation with our correspondent, the PDP National Organizing Secretary, Augustine Akobundu, said that he could not speak on the issue as they were yet to get a report from the NWC.
“We’ve set up a committee to see to the conduct of the primaries in all the states and we are yet to get a report from Osun state,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Osun state PDP publicity secretary, Bamidele Salaam, when contacted, told CAMPUS REPORTER on Wednesday evening, that he’s not in the best position to comment on the issue but a higher authority.
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