The emergence of a former member of the Osun State House of Assembly, Hon. Adesoji Adagunodo as the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state has caused divisions in the party, writes Yinka Kolawole
Just last week, the Osun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held its state congress to elect officials of the party and a former member of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Adesoji Adagunodo, emerged as the party chairman.
But at the congress held at the Osogbo Sports Stadium, which was supervised by a committee from the national secretariat of the party led by retired Justice Emmanuel Dodo and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), some stalwarts of the party believed to be loyal to Senator Iyiola Omisore were conspicuously absent.
Some of the notable absentees at the congress were the past Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Jelili Adesiyan; the outgoing Osun Central PDP senatorial leader, Rev. Bunmi Jenyo and the chairmanship candidate of the group, Dr. Bayo Faforiji.
The Congress was however witnessed by the PDP National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo, member of BoT of the party, Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun, Erelu Olusola Obada, Senator Kola Ogunwale, Senator Akinlabi Olasunkanmi, Senator Olu Alabi, Sunday Fajimi and others.
Elected at the congress were; Prince Bola Ajao (Secretary); Chief Sunday Atidade (Vice chairman) and Mr. Sunday Bisi (Publicity Secretary).
When reacting to the election that threw up Adagunodo as the chairman of the party at the state party secretariat located along Osogbo-Gbongan road, the chairmanship candidate of the Omisore group, Dr. Faforiji, described the congress as a “charade”.
He alleged that the committee from the national secretariat was hijacked by Prof. Oladipo and repeated the same mistake that led to the cancellation of the previous congress by preventing his loyalists from getting forms to contest for positions.
According to him, there was a court injunction that restrained the committee set up for the congress from working with the Gani Ola Oluwa-led state executive which he said was ignored.
Faforiji, who claimed that his group converged on the state secretariat to protest the “injustice” being meted to them, said the three senatorial leaders of the party were not part of the congress.-
The contention among some people in the PDP is that the party defied court order by electing the new party chairman in Osun despite the court order restraining the party from conducting congress in Osun State.
While the pro-congress members of the party were holding the congress at the City Stadium, Osogbo, several aggrieved members of the party with Faforiji, gathered at the state secretariat to protest against the conduct of the congress.
Faforiji described the congress as “illegal”, insisting that it will not stand “Because they are many does not mean they are doing the right thing; our party is not a dictatorial party. They are only repeating the same mistake they made last week”.
Meanwhile, Adagunodo said his leadership of the party is prepared to carry every member of the party along in order to assist in the development of the party.
He expressed optimism that working with other members of the party, his executive is capable of ushering in a PDP governor in the next election, saying that he would need the members to rally support for all the newly elected officers in the party for them to deliver at all time.
Adaguodo stressed that he cannot do it alone, but rather, he would want all members to give maximum support for his administration.
According to him, his primary ambition is to take over the mantle of governance from the “people from Lagos,” by which state resources would not be taken to Lagos again.
But as reactions continue to trail the purported congress, a cross section of party stalwarts, who considered the congress as day light coup, have rejected the outcome.
The spokesperson of the group, Hon. Bade Falade, who addressed a press conference in the evening of the congress in Osogbo, condemned the congresses which they said was stage-managed and unacceptable to them.
Falade argued that those in the Faforiji camp, supporting his chairmanship ambition in the party were not represented in the exercise. They therefore referred to it as “charade.”
The party chieftain maintained that it would not stand the test of time because it is the committed party members that are against its conduct. He therefore appealed to the leadership of the party to disregard the exercise as it was conducted in “an unholy manner.”
The sharp division in the party led to the cancellation of the ward, local and state of the Osun State PDP. The congresses were trailed by protest by Faforiji and his supporters who enjoy Omisore’s support.
Following the vehement protest, the national leadership of the party set a new panel set up for the conduct of fresh congresses and new congresses were conducted in the state.
The 10-man panel led by a retired Customary Court judge, Emmanuel Dodo Audu, fixed ward congress for and local government congresses penultimate Thursday and it was re-conducted.
Faforiji had protested non-availability of forms for the conduct of the congresses, claiming that all his supporters were denied the forms and charged the national leadership of the party to cancel the exercise. It was in response to his call that the committee arrived the state at the during the early hours of last week Tuesday and distributed forms and other relevant materials that could aid the success of the exercise to local government electoral officers from the 30 local governments of the state after fulfilling all the regulations of the party.
After the distribution of the items, the committee chairman, while addressing journalists, charged those saddled with the conduct of the exercise to always put on the toga of virtue and have the fear of God in their hearts while performing their duties.
He warned them against any anti-democratic acts that could truncate the exercise, saying there must be no alteration in their forms after the exercise.
THISDAY gathered that the conducts of the congress in some local governments like Osogbo, Olorunda, Ifelodun, Boripe and Boluwaduro were devoid of rancor. The exercise in these councils went orderly and party members conducted themselves peacefully.
One of the newly elected Chairman in ward 05, Ataoja ‘E’ in Osogbo local government, Mr. Taofik Jimoh, said the panel set up for the exercises were “organised ambassadors of the national body of the party.”
To underscore that the battle line has been drawn, last Monday, the new state executive council of the party in the state was inaugurated. They also got a new secretariat. They have abandoned the old secretariat provided for the party by Omisore.