The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is racing against time in restoring peace to its state chapters fractured by the recent governorship primaries ahead of next year’s elections.
Reports from Lagos, Rivers, Oyo, Ogun, Enugu and Adamawa states, among others, indicate that little or no progress has been made by the party leadership in the effort to reconcile the feuding sides and go into the elections as a united party.
Rather, party members and factions have intensified their bickerings, hurling insults at one another.
There is no end in sight yet to the crisis in the Lagos State PDP following the disputed governorship primaries won by Mr. Jimi Agbaje.
The immediate past minister of state for defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, who lost to Agbaje is contesting the result of the primary election in court.
He accused party leaders, Chief Bode George and Chief Adeseye Ogunlewe, of manipulating the primaries in favour of Agbaje.
George was unsparing in his response, dismissing Obanikoro as a “desperate and obsessed man who is apparently incapable of absorbing the reality of his defeat by a well-bred and better man.”
He added: “He is a desperate sinking man, grasping and thrashing in self inflicted chasm.
“What is the pedigree of this young man who has abandoned the typical African deference to elders? We know who sprung from violence and banditry. We know whose antecedents reek in noisome, vagrant, untidy ruffianism.
“Politics is not a do or die affair. No civilized person with impeccable pedigree will seek a tacky refuge in destruction and ruin simply because he has lost in a free and fair contest. Obanikoro should go quietly into that good night if he means well for Lagos.
“Enough of his desperate tantrums and lunacy. Lagos has moved on, far beyond the primitive wretchedness of little, ill-bred hooligans.”
Meanwhile, Obanikoro’s supporters have marched on some streets in Lagos and Badagry, calling for his recognition as the governorship candidate of the party.
The protesters threatened to dump the party and join the All Progressives Congress (APC) if the PDP refused to conduct another governorship primaries.
Wike working round the clock to stop mass defection
In Rivers State, former Minister of State for Education, Mr.Nyesom Wike, who was declared winner of the state’s governorship primaries, has been working round the clock to woo his aggrieved co-contestants and stop them and their supporters from dumping the party for the All Progressives Congress (APC).
It was gathered yesterday in Port Harcourt that the displeased PDP governorship aspirants were talking to an opposition party in protest of their alleged maltreatment by the PDP.
The aggrieved PDP governorship aspirants, under the aegis of the Rivers Mainstream Coalition and led by Prof. Israel Owate, insisted that Wike’s emergence as the party’s governorship candidate was a show of shame.
Spokesman for the Rivers Mainstream Coalition, Sotonye Ijuye-Dagogo, said: “We reject in its entirety the emergence of Wike as the governorship candidate of the PDP in Rivers State. We shall not concede our state to rogue politicians.”
One of the aggrieved aspirants,Tonye Princewill, has already defected to the Labour Party.
Wike, believed to be the candidate of the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, is from the upland of the state whereas the yearning of the people is a governor from the coastal part of the state.
Elder Wole Oyelese, Hashim Gbolarumi, Prof. Soji Adejumo and Dr Azees Adeduntan, who contested against Senator Teslim Folarin, the party’s governorship candidate in Oyo State, are not yet convinced that they should work for his success in the February election, given the controversial manner in which he emerged.
A major stakeholder in the party, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, has already defected to Labour Party (LP) to pick its governorship ticket while another leader, Oluseyi Makinde, joined the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and also picked the governorship ticket.
The national leadership of the PDP is locked in a bitter dispute with the state executive council of the party over who should fly the party’s governorship ticket.
The national leadership is backing former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr.Dimeji Bankole, while the state exco insists that Mr.Gboyega Isiaka, who won the primaries, is the candidate.
Isiaka, who hails from Yewa, the only part of the state which has not produced the governor since the creation of the state in 1976, has the support of prominent PDP members in the state.
Isiaka’s fellow Yewa people, led by Chief Iyabo Apampa, former Deputy Governor Salmot Badru, Chief (Mrs) Ebun Oyagbola and hundreds of members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Ogun West, marched to the party’s state secretariat in Abeokuta, protesting against plot to foist Dimeji Bankole on the party as its governorship candidate.
Mrs. Oyagbola, a former Minister of National Planning, Apampa and Badru said Ogun West has been marginalised enough politically, adding that any attempt to rob their son, Isiaka, in favour Bankole would not be accepted.
They also threatened to resist any attempt by the party’s national leadership to withdraw the mandate already given to Isiaka.
Also, the Ogun West Senatorial Chairman of the PDP, Boye Adesina, rued the fact that a few powerful and undemocratic elements as well as their collaborators within the party were bent on throwing Ogun PDP into another needless crisis as witnessed in 2011.
Adesina said: “It is not in the tradition of the PDP to impose or select candidates for elections but to go through democratic process of open, transparent election as was conducted on Monday December 8, 2014.
“We passionately appeal to the national leadership of our party not to be hoodwinked by these elements to short-circuit the transparent process that has produced Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka as Ogun State PDP governorship standard bearer for the 2015 election.”
National Publicity secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh declared the primaries null and void and of no effect. According to him, a new date will be communicated for the governorship primary in Ogun State. The party is yet to announce a new date for the primary.
The governorship primary that produced former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu as winner has deepened the intra-party crisis in the Adamawa State chapter of the PDP. The national headquarters of the PDP ordered that the congress be held in Abuja without the consent of the state executive.
The state chairman, Joel Madaki, dissociated his executive from the conduct of the “Abuja primary”. He said Adamawa PDP had nothing to do with it.
While the Abuja primary was on, the State Governor, James Ngilari and his supporters held a parallel election in Yola at the same time. The party has two governorship candidates in the state.
Fourteen aggrieved PDP governorship aspirants in Plateau State have described the primaries from which Pwajok emerged as the flag bearer as a show of shame.
The aggrieved aspirants petitioned the national headquarters of the party, calling for the cancellation of the exercise and a new date for fresh primary.
They insisted that the process was flawed and the governor manipulated it to favour his anointed candidate.
Apart from the aspirants, people from the central and southern senatorial zones are bitter about the outcome of the exercise.
A group, Movement for the Creation of South Plateau State. has called on the citizens of the state to vote for a governorship candidate from any other political party as far as he is from the Southern senatorial zone. The reaction of the PDP national secretariat is being awaited.[The Nation]