Osun Apc, Pdp: Coping With Post-Primary Crises

Filed in Politics by on July 30, 2018

The All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other opposition parties are warming up for the governorship election in Osun State. But, their shadow polls generated controversies. Correspondent SOJI ADENIYI examines how the parties are coping with their post-primary crises

There is no single political party in Osun State that is insulated from post-primary crisis. Intrigues, drama, struggle and controversy dogged the process from the beginning to the end. What worsen the matter was the high number of aspirants signifying interest in the exalted position. Many of them had started underground campaign before the release of guidlines by the party leadership. The political parties, including the All Progressives Congress (APC), the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the Accord Party (AC), the Alliance For Democracy (AD), and the Action Democratic Party (ADP) had concluded their primary poll by last Monday July 23 as directed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The APC went for a direct primary on Friday July 20 after two earlier postponements. The PDP primary was ttended by over 3,000 delegates from 332 wards of the state on Saturday July 21. The SDP had two parallel primaries on Wednesday July 18 while the AC, AD and ADP had their own on Saturday July 21, Sunday July 22 and Monday July 23 respectively.

What was peculiar to these parties was outcry and allegation of manipulation of the process. But, political watchers said there was nothing wrong with this because such is the mood during the electioneering period. More so, that there are bound to be divergent views and positions on issues. To analysts, what is important is the capacity of using party machinery to reconcile aggrieved members and harmonise interests before going into the election scheduled to hold on September 22. It is believed that, going into election with divided house could spell doom for the parties, hence, the need for every loyal party member to negotiate and reach compromise.

APC:

The APC leadership did not zone the governorship to any particular senatorial district, though there was a sustained clamor for zoning to  Osun West “because it is the only zone that only had a shot at the exalted position for less than two years in the history of the state.”  Persuasion, protest and media war were employed by the proponents and advocates of zoning, but they failed as the leadership held on to “tenets and principles of democracy” that allow equal participation from all sections of the state, more so that the party’s constitution makes no provision for zoning. Again, to political analysts, the best for the position could come from any part of the state in a fair, free and transparent process.

Another issue that really generated tension among aspirants and their supporters was the method to be adopted for the primary. In the wisdom of the party leadership, direct primary was adopted. But, this was met by stiff resistance by some members while others supported it. Those opposing direct primary alleged plans to manipulate the process. But those in support insisted that the method “is participatory, democratic, transparent and cheap, adding that it will “discourage the use of money to buy over few delegates.” A day before the primary, a meeting chaired by the senator representing Delta Central District, Ovie Omo-Agege, was held with the aspirants. This was designed to douse tension and make the aspirants pledge to work within the principles of the party. The aspirants were Benedict O Alabi, Babatunde Adedotun Taiwo, Lasun Yusuff Sulaiman, Oyetola Isiaq Gboyega, Adeyinka Ajayi, Adeoti Moshood, Peter Babalola, Saka Layonu, Oyemomi Ezekiel, Oriolowo Adelere, Amere Gafar, Najeem Salam, Mumini Rafiu, Alamu Bisi, Dayo Oyebamiji, Kunle Adegoke and Babajide Omoworare. But some of aspirants, including the Commissioner for Finance, Prince Bola Oyebamiji, the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti former Chief of Staff to former  Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Elder Peter Babalola, Senator representing Osun East in the Senate, Babajide Omoworare, withdrew from the race before the commencement of the poll.

After the poll, the five-man panel headed by Zamfara State Governor Abdul’Aziz Yari announced the Chief of Staff to Osun State Governor, Alhaji Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola, the winner and the candidate for the party. Oyetola won with 127,017 votes. Trailing him the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Lasun Yusuff, with 21,975 votes. Also, the Speaker, Osun State House of Assembly, Hon. Najeem Salaam, came third with 17,958 votes. Others are: Adelere Oriolowo, 5,373 votes; Saka-Layonu, 2,369 votes.

Following the announcement of the result, some aspirants, including Saka-Layonu, Benedict Alabi, Bola Oyebamiji and Ayoade Lawal, congratulated the winner and promised to support him. But,  Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, who alleged manipulation of the process, resigned his appointment as the Secretary to Osun State Government (SSG) and defected to the Action Democratic Party (APD) to become its governorship candidate. By affirmation, Adeoti scored 13,324 votes out of 13,367 party’s total votes. Some APC members are exercising the fear that Adeoti’s defection may affect the fortunes of the party at the  election. Also, it is believed that the former SSG is out to play a spoiler’s job, knowing that he could not make it as the candidate of the new party. Many even say that he is facing a “political waterloo” with his defection. They say he should learn from the former deputy governor, whom they maintained had failed to exercise patience but still unable to actualise his life long ambition despite changing political platform. For the APC to win the governorship election, analysts said, its candidate must be able to assure the people he would address workers and pensioners’ welfare, assuage the feeling that some zones would be left out of development, and surpass the present pace of development.

PDP:

For the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the outcome of the primary has continued to generate tension among members alleging fraud in the process that produced Senator Ademola Adeleke as the candidate. The late Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke’s younger brother, picked the PDP governorship ticket with 1,569 votes. He beat his closest rival, Dr. Akin Ogunbiyi, who scored 1,562 votes, with seven votes. Coming third was the former Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Fatai Akinbade with 56 votes. A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Barr. Nathaniel Oke, scored 3 votes while 56 votes were voided. Before the commencement of the primary, seven governorship aspirants of the party, who withdrew from the race were former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Adejare Bello; a lawyer, Dr. Ayoade Adewopo; a university don, Prof. Adeolu Durotoye; former chairman, Irewole Local Government Area, Chief Lere Oyewumi; former chairman, Federal Road Maintenance Agency, Jide Adeniji; former Minister of Youths Development, Senator Olasunkanmi Akinlabi; and former Senator representing Osun Central, Chief Felix Ogunwale. The PDP chairman, Hon. Soji Adagunodo, had made it abundantly cleared to the aspirants as they came to the party secretariat to signify intention that there would be no zoning. The declaration encouraged contenders from all the three zones just like the APC. Initially, the figure stood at 23 before it was reduced to 11 from the party’s national secretariat.

But, since Adeleke was declared winner of the primary by the electoral panel led by Bayelsa State Governor Sierake Dickson, protests have trailed the results of the poll. Ogunbiyi alleged manipulation of the primary in favour if Adeleke. He rejected verdict of the panel. His supporters in continued protest insisted in reclaiming their mandate. With this development, the agenda of the party to kick out the ruling APC from government is under threat. The PDP, to political watchers are just starting out of serious crises, including factionalization and must not resume another round of crisis, if it wants to win the election in the state. Though the PDP candidate is from the Osun West, the zone that belies it must produce the next governor, there is an issue of mistrust between some section of the zone that believe that Ede zone could not always acquire all available positions all the time. In the last Osun West bye election for the Senate, Ede was said to have been lowed to get the slot with the agreement and understanding that it must not interfere or participate in the governorship poll but today this is not so and this may negatively affect fortune of the PDP with Adeleke coming from Ede.

SDP:

This is another party that had been riddled with crisis lately, particularly with the defection of Senator Iyiola Omisore to the party from the PDP. The SDP through its state chairman, Chief Ademola Ishola, denounced membership of Omisore, describing him as a stranger to the party. Bun in a drastic turn, Ishola was later expelled while Omisore went ahead with a congress where his ally, Dr. Bayo Faforiji, became the party’s chairman.

At its parallel primary held by the Ishola faction, Mr. Munirudeen Kehinde Atanda emerged as the flag bearer of the party, polling 271 votes to defeat Otunba Yemisi Oladeji, and Senator Iyiola Omisore, who scored 13 and 8 votes respectively. Also, the Faforiji group held its own primary and gave the party governorship ticket to Omiosre and gave the second position to Atanda. With the “hide and seek” game going on in the SDP people don’t expect much from the party at the poll. No significant votes, apart from Ife axis of the Osun East senatorial district, are the only prospects for Omisore. The in-fighting within the SDP allegedly orchestrated by his ambition will, no doubt, affect him adversely at the poll.

AD and AC:

These are two parties could only have relevance only when they work in alliance with the big players. For the AD, its governorship candidate, Olugbenga Akintola, got the ticket through an affirmative process. But a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Olapade Julius Okunola, picked the governorship ticket of the Accord Party with 141 votes. He defeated Mr. Babatunde Loye and Pastor Bunmi Ibiloye, who polled 58 votes and 12 votes respectively. There was no crisis before and during the process for the party, proving to be a party to look up to in future elections, only if it could mobilise support from more people.

ADP:

The platform came into reckoning with the endorsement and adoption of former SSG, who defected from the ruling APC. It is believed that the party candidate is enjoying sponsorship from those, who want to take their own pound of flesh from the Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola believed to have rock their boats at critical election times in their own states. The party’s  purpose may not be more than that and will end with the election, no more no less, so many believed.

For the two big parties, the APC and the PDP, working in alliance with parties with reasonable vote prospects could improve their performances in the September 22 governorship poll. They both must continue to mend fences and bring back aggrieved members. Also, where the two parties’ candidates pick their deputy could increase their mileage at poll. For the two, it could in a reverse form. While the APC will be wise to pick its deputy from the Osun West to pacify the zone and get their bloc votes, the PDP may go to Osun Central for its deputy and get their votes too.

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