THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the State of Osun, on Tuesday, produced two governorship candidates for the July 16, 2022 governorship election in the state.
A faction loyal to the Adeleke dynasty held its primary election at Osogbo Township stadium where Sen. Ademola Adeleke emerged the flagbearer of the party.
The primary was supervised by national officials of the PDP and representatives of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
However, the Hon. Soji Adagunodo’s faction of the PDP which is populated with elders of the party, held different primary at WOCDIF centre, Osogbo and produced Omooba Dotun Babayemi as the candidate of the party.
Among the PDP leaders at the WOCDIF primary are: former governor of the State of Osun, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former deputy governor, Erelu Olusola Obada, Chiefs Shuaib Oyedokun, Olu Alabi, Tajudeen Oladipo, among others.
Alhaji Fatai Akinbade, Mr. Dele Adeleke and a representative of Mr. Sanya Omirin, Mr. Jide Bakare and the party acting chairman, Barr. Wale Ojo were also part of the primaries.
Investigations by OSUN DEFENDER however revealed that the refusal of the Osun PDP elders to support and adopt Mr. Bamidele Adeleke, a cousin to Ademola Adeleke, as the only governorship aspirant to contest the party’s ticket with his uncle destabilised political calculations in the Adagunodo’s camp.
According to sources in the PDP, some PDP Governors, among who is Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, and other stakeholders in the party had earlier shown interest in bankrolling Bamidele Adeleke’s ambition.
The PDP Governors and stakeholders reportedly rallied PDP elders in Osun to support Bamidele Adeleke because of his intellectual prowess, among other considerations.
But the PDP elders, it was gathered, later opposed Bamidele Adeleke’s adoption on the ground that it was not appropriate to have two serious contenders for the party’s ticket from the same family.
It would be recalled that the PDP elders had on Monday issued a communique where they declared their support for Babayemi, while other governorship aspirants of the party also withdrew from the race for him.
The refusal of the PDP elders to adopt Bamidele Adeleke discouraged those who were ready to sponsor him, making them to withdraw their support for the Adagunodo’s faction.
OSUN DEFENDER learnt that the party elders specifically pleaded with Makinde and urged him to reason along with them on their decision.
However, Makinde and other stakeholders did not rescind their decision as they folded their arms and watched event playing out on the primary.
Some credible top members of the Adagunodo’s faction of the PDP confided in the medium that the faction was ready to participate in the primary election held at stadium until few hours to the exercise.
According to the sources, the Adagunodo’s faction and governorship aspirants were not considering a parallel primary because they were ready to match Ademola Adeleke in ‘buying delegates’ at any amount.
But the faction later resorted to parallel primary when it dawned on its leaders that the financiers would not release fund to prosecute the exercise.
One of the PDP leaders who spoke with OSUN DEFENDER yesterday said: “We were not planning for any parallel primary before, we opted for it to avoid embarrassment.
“You know that Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and other stakeholders were supporting Mr Bamidele Adeleke’s ambition. They were ready to bankroll the primary for him and they told our party leaders in Osun.
“Everything was fine until some days ago that the elders said it was wrong to have two main contenders for the party’s ticket from the same family. The elders said they preferred Omooba Dotun Babayemi to Bamidele Adeleke.
“Their choice did not go down well with Seyi Makinde and others, and as a result they did not release fund for our faction.
“We actually thought they would release money at the later hour but it dawned on us that Makinde in particular had made up his mind.
“So, the elders felt there was no reason to participate in the primary held in Stadium because there was no money to give to delegates. We already had more than 300 delegates out of over 1500. We were ready to match Adeleke in buying delegates but there was no money to do that at the end of the day.
“Our elders who adopted Dotun Babayemi could not raise fund. Some of them did not even spend their personal money in the struggle. That was why we opted for parallel primary.”
However, one of the Media Aides to Governor Makinde absolved his principal from the crisis in Osun PDP, saying the governor was not supporting, nor had a favourite among the governorship aspirants.
The aide who prayed anonymity said: “One thing I can say is that Governor Makinde is not responsible for the crisis in Osun PDP. He wants peace and progress for the party, that is why he tailored whatever he is doing on PDP politics towards the unity of the party.
“For those insinuating that Makinde was sponsoring Dele Adeleke, let them substantiate their claim. Governor Makinde does not have any favourite among the PDP governorship aspirants in Osun. Throughout the campaign period for the primary election, I don’t think anybody ever heard Makinde saying a word on a particular aspirant.
“Makinde is not part of the working committee of the party. He is not one of the party leaders in Abuja that will determine whoever will emerge as the flagbearer of the party. Yes, he is the leader of the party in South-West and what he wants is for PDP to take power in Osun. He cannot be dividing the party that he wishes to take over power in the state. He is forever for peace and the unity of the party.”
Another member of the PDP in Osun attributed the parallel governorship primary to litigation on the legality of the delegates used for the governorship primary election.
It would be recalled that a state High Court had last week Thursday recognized the ward excos produced by the Adagunodo faction of the party as those eligible to participate in the governorship primary.
The judgement of Justice A. Aderibigbe of the High Court in Ijebu-Jesa reads in part: “An order of mandatory interim injunction of this court is granting, recognising the ward executive officers elected on the 25th of September, 2021 in the following wards listed as (a) – (y) on this application as the only authentic and/or authorised elected ward executive officers permitted to vote delegates at the party’s governorship primary scheduled to take place on the 8th of March, 2022, the state congress, state assembly primary, National Assembly primary and presidential primary respectively in full compliance with the judgment of the court delivered on the 22nd of November, 2021 affirming all actions taken by Hon. Olasoji Adagunodo as the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Osun State chapter which include the conduct of the ward executive congress on the 25th of September, 2021, pending the determination of the motion on notice.”
Speaking with OSUN DEFENDER yesterday, the court recognized Chairman of the PDP in the state, Mr. Wale Ojo, described the primary held at stadium as illegal.
Ojo said: “We had a court order that recognizes the congress conducted in September 2021 which was supervised by Hon. Soji Adagunodo, the present South-West Chairman of the party. There was an ealier High Court judgement delivered by Justice A.A Aderibigbe which validates the same congress supervised by Adagunodo.
“So, the party at the national level was running away from court judgements and we don’t want to join others in supporting illegality. Because if the party failed to use the delegates recognized by the court, it will amount to illegality and we don’t want to support illegality.
“The primary we held at WOCDIF was in tandem with the ruling of the High Court and in actual compliance with the provision of our constitution.”
Ask if the national secretariat will accept the candidate produced at the WOCDIF primary, Ojo said: “It is not compulsory for the national secretariat to recognize our primary as long as we are on the side of the law. If the national secretary does not comply with the ruling of the court, then definitely we know what next to do.
“We will try to first exhaust the internal mechanism of the party and if that fails, we will not have any other choice than to approach the court to compel the party to do what is right”.
Meanwhile, the National Secretariat of the party yesterday issued certificate of return to Sen. Ademola Adeleke as the party flagbearer for the July 16 governorship election.