Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Ashamu and Gbenga Daniel
Sheriff Balogun, in this report, looks at the fresh crisis rocking the Ogun State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party
Penultimate week, the seemingly intractable crisis rocking Ogun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) re-echoed following accusation and counter accusation over allegation that the factional leader of the party, Chief Buruji Kashamu of fuelling the crisis, just as Kashamu’s camp equally alleged that former president Olusegun Obasanjo was the one fanning the ember of discord within the party in the state.
The faction of the newly elected party chairman in the state, Senator Dipo Odujinrin a loyalist of Obasanjo, alleged that Kashamu is a card carrying member of another political party in one of the wards in Mushin, Lagos State.
The allegation was dismissed as untrue and a figment of the imagination of Odunjinrin by Kashamu who challenged Odunjinrin to show proof of his membership of another party in Lagos State.
Odunjinrin’s allegation came against the backdrop of the call by the Kashamu’s faction of the party urging Obasanjo to play a fatherly role in uniting the party through strict adherence to the rule of law rather than allowing his name to be dragged in the mud by some members of the party who thrives in name’s dropping.
However, Odujinrin on his part noted “that somebody is alleged to carry a card of another political party in another state and is in our own state claiming to be a member of our own party; that shows the kind of person that man is, but it is our own assignment as the party ex-co to manage all shades and manner of people”.
In a swift reaction to Odunjinrin’s allegations, Kashamu said the allegation being peddled by some disgruntled members that he’s a card-carrying member of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) was a lie and complete bunkum.
‘’I am not a member of the ACN, whether in Lagos or elsewhere. This is just the latest lies in their desperate bid to confer legality on illegality. And I will prove this shortly’’ he said.
Explaining, Kashamu hinted that “it is public knowledge that Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun got the ticket to go to the Senate in 2003 under the platform of the PDP through the help of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo when the latter was in office.
“If truly I am a member of the ACN, how come the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC) did not accept the list submitted by the Engr. Adebayo Dayo-led exco which I am supporting? Why did OGSIEC prefer Obasanjo’s illegal list that has now been nullified by an Ogun State High Court? Why is it that while we are at the Election Petitions Tribunal seeking to nullify the exercise, Obasanjo, Dipo Odujinrin, Bode Mustapha and co hobnobs with the same ACN in Ogun State?
Congresses of Crisis
Another major crisis bedevilling PDP in Ogun Statre, is the party’s congresses held recently. The leaders of the party have been at loggerheads as to who is the authentic leader of the party between Obasanjo; former Governor Gbenga Daniel; Buruji Kashamu who is the financier of the party while words were traded over the authenticity of congresses held in the state by two factions of the party.
It is an open secret that the leadership tussle is between the trio of Obasanjo; Daniel and Kashamu occasion by the party’s congresses recently held in the state.
Checks indicated that if the report of the Congress Committee set up by the National Secretariat of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is anything to go by, then the recent state congress organized by a faction of the party in Ogun State may be nullified.
The Mallam Ibrahim Sidi Bamalli-led committee submitted that the congress held on August 4, 2012 by the state PDP faction allegedly loyal to former President Olusegun Obasanjo lacked transparency and representation from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The panel also recommended the inclusion of all the four known factions of Ogun PDP – Obasanjo, Senator Jubril Martins-Kuye, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Prince Buruji Kashamu factions – in the proposed (fresh) state congress in line with the reconciliation agenda of the party.
These were part of the recommendations of the panel in its report submitted to the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) in Abuja. The five-member committee supervised the state congress held recently in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, where Senator Dipo Odujinrin emerged as the new chairman, among other 28 executive members.
According to the committee’s report, the processes leading to the congress that produced Odujinrin and others lacked transparency and INEC representation as well as replete with discrepancies.
“Disenfranchisement of some notable party stalwarts and their followers as JMK, OGD and Kashamu groups were not in the vicinity for the congress. The delegates list could be termed not authentic as there were discrepancies,” the panel added.
The committee members, who stated that they did not see nomination forms for the elective offices, added that they were not involved in the accreditation of the delegates.
“We noticed that only one faction of the known four factions was dominantly represented. The JMK, OGD and Kashamu factions were conspicuously absent. Only the Obasanjo faction was ably represented. Other members of the committee included Alhaji Umar Mohammed Tambuawal Falke, Alhaji Samaila Dankasa, Hajia Hauwa Gogo Minna while Mr. Basil Ikpenwa, who was appointed as Secretary, was absent at the congress’’ it averred.
On the state congress, members of the committee were said to have been led to the venue of the congress without proper briefing by either the caretaker committee member or any party official.
In its observations in the report submitted, the committee said “members of the congress committee did not get to see nomination forms for the elective offices hence could not ascertain whether prescribed forms were used and fees duly paid.
“Accreditation was mid-way when we arrived and were therefore not part of the process hence could not vouch the transparency of same. The list of Ward and local government delegates that got accreditation is not totally the same with the list given to us by the PDP national secretariat. It was indeed difficult to authenticate.
“But, he was reminded by the congress chairman of a court case he read seeking to commit some national and state officers of the party to prison on Ogun congresses to which he replied that the court case concerns the local government elections. There were no INEC representatives and when same was pointed out, the response was that the congress exercise is to be ratified by INEC in Abuja.
“A ready arranged and neatly typed list of all contestants was made available to the congress committee a member to which was called for both nominations and secondments for each position after which elections were held for the offices and results declared returning all the contestants as presented. As a result of above, the result sheet was not filled and is hereby returned unutilised.”
However, in its recommendations: “in line with the recommendation agenda of the party and in tune with the reality of the four factions in Ogun, we strongly advice a revisit of the state congress which held on Saturday August 4, 2012 because of the following:
“Lack of transparency of the processes leading to the congress; No INEC representation: Disenfranchisement of some notable party stalwarts and their followers as JMK, OGD, and Kashamu groups were not in the vicinity for the congress; The delegates list could be termed not authentic as there were discrepancies; Uncertainty of the delegates accredited for the exercise as a result of above and specifically that the congress committee members were not involved in the accreditation exercise.”
Reacting, the factional State Publicity Secretary of PDP, Hon. Bidemi Osunbiyi, said the recent state congress was transparent, insisting that the party accommodated all the contending groups but blamed a former House of Representatives member, Dave Salako, for allegedly influencing the boycott of the August 4 congress by some delegates.
He said, “I want to tell you authoritatively that it was transparent. We opened doors for everybody to come in but they (other factions) refused to come in. They were insisting that the party offices must be shared before the congress and we said there must be proper congress.
“At the ward and local government levels, the JMK faction and others were accommodated but on the day of the state congress, Hon. Dave Salako allegedly influenced some delegates who belonged to other factions to shun the congress. Instead of the delegates to attend the congress, Salako (allegedly) hosted them in his house to cause confusion.”
Chairman of the state chapter of the party, Engr. Adebayo Dayo, has faulted claims that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party has recognised the phantom congresses purportedly held by a faction loyal to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, as he said it was laughable that the National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola could constitute himself into the NWC.
In a statement issued in Abeokuta, “this is one of Oyinlola’s several desperate attempts to hijack the structure of the Ogun State PDP for his master in order to achieve some invidious plot ahead of the 2015 general elections. It is laughable, to say the least, for one single individual to constitute himself into the NWC and claim that it has endorsed the congresses when the body has not met since the contemptuous exercises were purportedly held.”
“It is common knowledge that the NWC meets every Wednesday, yet Oyinlola wrote a letter on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 to the Police and SSS where he claimed that a new State Executive Committee of the PDP has just been inaugurated in spite of the subsistence of my exco.
‘’Besides, it is public knowledge that the two congress monitoring committees that were sent by the NWC had in their reports said there were no congresses in Ogun State on August 4, 2012. Up till now, they have not been able to dispute the reports. “The questions begging for answers are: when were they elected? Who elected them? Can you build something on nothing?” Dayo asked.
He urged the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar and the Director-General of the State Security Service (SSS), Ita Ekpeyong, to ignore Oyinlola’s claims and avail themselves of the various correspondences and court judgements that he had sent to them, affirming his (Dayo’s) exco as the only authentic management body for the party in the state.
As the crisis in Ogun PDP persists, it may be a tall order to reclaim the state from ACN if it fails to put its house in proper order before the next election.