When will peace return to Osun PDP?

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Peace has eluded the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State, following the election of a new chairman, Soji Adagunodo. A faction, led by Senator Iyiola Omisore, is threatening to pull out. Correspondent ADESOJI ADENIYI examines the effects of the crisis on the party as the governorship election draws near.

There is no end in sight to the crisis rocking the  Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State. The party became more divided, following its recent congress.

Since 2015, the troubled chapter has been factionalised. The struggle for  the control of the platform by its gladiators has been counter-productive.

The leadership battle at the national level between Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff and Senator Ahmed Markafi took its toll on the Osun chapter. Its dust is yet to settle. Peace has left the fold and members, who are practically stranded and have pitched their tents with two major groups, led by Soji Adagunodo and Bayo Faforiji, now lick their wounds. It is not  the best of time for the leaders, including  former deputy governor and former Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman, Senator Iyiola Omisore, former National Deputy Chairman Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun, former Deputy Governor Olusola Obada, former Minister of Youths Development Senator Olasunkanmi Akinlabi and former Speaker of the House of Assembly Adejare Bello.

Last month ward and local government congresses exposed the division and irreconcilable differences in the party.

Members of the faction loyal to Omisore boycotted the.exercise. They complained that the national leadership had taken sides with the other faction.

At the congress, Soji Adagunodo emerged as chairman of the party. Omisore was  infuriated by the outcome of the intra-party election. Two weeks ago, members of the faction  dumped the party. Supporters of the Ile-Ife-born politician burnt the party flags and tore their membership cards at their factional party secretariat along Gbongan road to drive home their point.  Omisore was asked to apologise or face disciplinary action. He was also asked to retrace his steps. He has ignored the advice.

One of the party leaders, who is the Coordinator of the group, Ex-PDP political office holders, Tajudeen Adeyemi, expressed dissatisfaction with the behaviour of Omisore’s supporters. He condemned the burning of the party flag. According to him, PDP would win the September 22 governorship election in the state without the participation of Omisore. He said: “The PDP belongs to the people and not any individual. You all must have realised that the PDP has been doing well since we left the secretariat at Ogo Oluwa.

“I can assure you that the PDP is going to win the Osun governorship election this year with or without the participation of Senator Iyiola Omisore. But, we still leave a room for reconciliation. Whether he leaves the party or works with us, we will win the election.”

The recent crisis has its root in the outcome of the 2014 poll where Omisore was the standard bearer of the party. The former deputy governor was accused of collecting a huge sum of money to prosecute the poll. But, according to his critics, Omisore could not account for the money. A committee set up to investigate him after the election allegedly discovered that he did not use the funds meant to provide logistics for the election judiciously. A source disclosed that “attempts to ask him questions about this led to so many unpalatable reactions from him.”

With Omisore out of the way, the coast is clear for a new set of aspirants to try their luck.    They include include an Osogbo-born  Adeolu Durotoye, a professor of Political Science and Provost of Social and Management Sciences College, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, a journalist, Rasheed Olawale, who is  from Iwo, and Senator Segun Bamigbetan from Ile-Ife among others. Those who have shown interest in the past and likely to contest again include former candidate of the PDP in 2015 election for Boripe/OdoOtin/Ifelodun Federal Constiuency, Mr Kayode Oduoye, who is from Ikirun; Hon.  Bello, who hails from Ede, former Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC) in Osun Chief Lere Oyewumi, who is from Ikire; former Secretary to  Government Alhaji Fatai Akinbade from Ogbagba, former Minister of Youth Development  Senator Akinlabi from Gbongan, and a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Oluwole Oke, who is representing Obokun/Oriade Constituency.   According to observers, the PDP can bounce back, if it presents a good candidate for the election.

The flag beraer must appeal to voters. He  must also fulfill the criterion of zoning.  how far this can be achieved depends largely on the electorate and vital factors like zoning.

The general belief is that Osun West Senatorial District should produce the next governor. Many believe that Osun East and Central have produced the governors before.

Also, the monumental and massive infrastructural development of the state and other programmes of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)  governmet of Rauf Aregbesola are the obstacles to the the PDP’s bid for the State House.

Can the PDP spring a surprise? Can it put its house in order? Will the war of attriction not be its albatross? How will the party overcome the hurdles in Osun?

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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