By Shina Abubakar
The seeming leadership crisis in the State of Osun chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has taken a new dimension, as the party’s chance of achieving peaceful resolution seems impossible, just as the sacked Ali Modu Sheriff faction is hell-bent on holding on to leadership structure in the state.
The recent pronouncement of the Supreme Court on the legal status of the National leadership of the party was expected to put to rest, all issues regarding the crises confronting the opposition party, but the situation further deteriorated in some of the states where Sheriff’s faction hold sway, especially in the SouthWest.
Prior to the court’s pronouncement, the Osun situation was a bit different as the Soji Adagunodo faction has the majority of members of the party which is made up of the young generation of party followers while the Bayo Faforiji faction was in the minority and only enjoyed the support of Senator Iyiola Omisore before the judgment gave them acceptability.
It would be recalled that the Osun PDP crisis was not without the ambition of Senator Omisore to be the Governor of the state while the young breed and some elders in the party strictly opposed, giving room for division in the party prior to the crisis at the national level.
With the acceptability of Makarfi faction, the National leadership of the party recognised Bayo Faforiji as the party chairman in the state at the detriment of the majority members of the party, who were not favourably disposed to the arrangement.
To persuade the majority faction, a committee was set up to resolve the issue, with a view to maintaining unity in the party, in line with the spirit of the efforts to win the recently concluded Osun West Senatorial bye-election, but the National leadership has always given recognition to Dr. Bayo Faforiji as the chairman.
This situation did not go down well with the Adagunodo faction who believed it has the majority of party members and irrespective of the court judgment should enjoy priority in resolving the party crisis.
However, some of the factors working against the faction is the allegation of receiving N150 million from the Adeleke Family to prosecute the last senatorial bye-election, but a close associate of Adagunodo described the allegation as a figment of the imagination of those spreading it.
Another critical issue the faction is contending with is the role played by the former General Secretary of the party, Professor Wale Oladapo in relegating Senator Iyiola Omisore, as the other faction believed that he would have to pay for it now that the court had sacked him from the post.
But the Adagunodo faction also has strong bargaining power at its disposal, especially as the faction enjoyed the support of many of the young breed of the party and also many of the elders who were against the pseudo dominance of the party and is working towards making statement that the party belongs to the members not an individual.
Another stumbling block on the path of the Faforiji faction is the emergence of Senator Buruji Kashamu and others who rose against the leadership of Governor Ayodele Fayose in the region and would stop at nothing to make sure the arrangement never stand.
OSUN DEFENDER however gathered that the PDP in the state, no matter the compromise may not retain a united house, as a faction in the party is looking forward to move to another party ahead of the 2018 governorship election before it is too late to prepare for campaign.
Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has been urged to as a matter of urgency conduct Local Government elections by August 2017.
This was contained in a release issued by the opposition party in the state, Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) signed by one of its Factional Chairman Hon. Soji Adagunodo where the Party issued a 21- day ultimatum to Aregbesola to initiate actions towards holding local government elections in accordance with recent judgments of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Recall the Supreme Court had last week cleared the way for the governor to initiate local government elections, after it gave judgment in favour of Osun State Independent Electoral Commission’s former leadership which had been using legal cases to bar the governor from conducting local government polls.
In the statement, the Party hailed the decision of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on the judgement it delivered in the case SC/102/2013 between the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission and Governor Rauf Aregbesola last week.
The party in the release said, with the judgement of the apex court of the land on this matter, the state governor was duty bound to immediately conduct elections into Local Governments in the State.
As the crisis in the political camp of the opposition in the State of Osun heightens, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is preparing the stage for a battle of wits as Soji Adagunodo and members of his caucus are poised on contesting the chairmanship of the party.
Prior to the decision to go to the field to contest for the post, Senator Iyiola Omisore had attempted to impose one of his followers on the party to prepare ground for his 2018 ambition, but a new forum within the party decided to counter the move, believing the party needed fresh ideas.
At a meeting held in Ikire in Irewole Local Government Council Area of the state, it was gathered that the stakeholders at the gathering could not reach a compromise, as the former senator and defeated governorship candidate of the party was told to hands off the chairmanship of the party and allow every aspirant equal access to the post.
Report gathered revealed that a young man from Adagunodo’d camp pointed at Omisore and accused him of impropriety in the ways the affairs of the party was handled when he was contesting for the governorship seat of the state, especially, the manner with which fund was handled.
The young man was said to have told the senator and other chieftains of the party at the gathering that it was time to allow fresh ideas to thrive in the party and sell it to the state electorate ahead of the 2018 gubernatorial election.
It was gathered that the meeting was dismissed without a concrete decision, hence, the platform was set for campaign among the teeming party loyalists.
As at last week, the Adagunodo group had started moving around to keep its members alerted and seek the support of party caucuses towards winning and becoming the party’s number one man in the state.
According to findings, the group enjoyed the slight support of a member of the House of Representatives in the state, whose end game was to seek the ticket of the party in future elections in the state.
Checks further revealed that the other camps have started strategizing for ways to tackle Adagunodo group and their sponsors and it was believed that the group was made up of young members of the party, whose sole slogan is to allow the party have a fresh breadth.
It was also learnt that the Adagunodo group is working towards bringing the Gani-Olaoluwa group into its core operation against the supporters of Omisore, as a means of strengthening their grip on the party members ahead of the polls.
However, some loyalists of the outgoing chairman were said not to be favourably disposed to the idea of joining the new group, saying most of the caucus members are new hands, who might not enjoy the support of the party’s founding fathers in the state.