Multiple Crises Rock Ogun PDP | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Multiple Crises Rock Ogun PDP

Posted: May 6, 2016 at 3:30 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Ogun PDP And Tale Of Parallel Congresses

Laide Raheem

Abeokuta When the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lost out in the 2015 general elections , which led  to the emergence of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the ruling party, many  Nigerians believe that the party, as a formidable organisation  will quickly smart up from its failure and put its house in order.

But the reverse is the case, as the party has continued to enmesh in one crisis or another – both at national and state levels.

The centre appeared not to be able to hold any longer for the party since the departure of the then national chairman, Adamu Mua’zu. His departure, no doubt, left a lacuna which led to the scrambling for the post of the acting national chairman.

Still wallowing in the defeat of the election,  the then national vice chairman, (South) of PDP, Uche Secondus, stepped in as the national chairman. This drew the ire from some quarters within the party forcing a former political adviser to ex- President Goodluck Jonathan to approach the courts. Later, former governor of Borno State and erstwhile chieftain of the defunct ANPP, Senator Alli Modu-Sheriff emerged as the acting national chairman. Though his emergence was not totally accepted by the party stakeholders, political watchers felt that, because of his antecedents, Modu-Sheriff would be able to steer the ship of the party and solidify it in readiness for 2019 polls.

His first assignment, however, was to organise congresses in the states, to be crowned later with the party’s national convention. To achieve this, Saturday, April 30, was set for congresses to take place at the ward levels all over the country. In Ogun state, however, the party failed to put its house in order weeks before the set date for the congresses. Though the current state exco led by Engineer Bayo Dayo ‘enthroned’ by Senator Buruji Kashamu, always pointed out that PDP in Ogun remained under one umbrella, but the group of the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, had few months ago, threatened brimstone and fire that it would not condone any form of imposition during the congresses.

Apart from that, another group within the state chapter of the party led by the House of Reps member representing Remo Federal Constituency, Hon. Ladi Adebutu, who was hitherto an ally of Kashamu, decided not to pitch its tent with Bayo Dayo led exco in Ogun state PDP.

While it was thought that all was set for the congresses to be held at the wards as scheduled for Saturday, 9 of out of the 14 exco members of the party, on Friday addressed the press to distance themselves from the congress. Prior to that, a court order was obtained by these nine members to stop the congress from holding on Saturday, but Kashamu group, in a swift reaction, did an advertorial that the congress would hold despite the court order.

Addressing journalists on Friday in Abeokuta, however, the nine members, consisting of the deputy state chairman, Elder Sunday Soledolu,  Publicity Secretary, Waliu Oladipupo, Youth Leader, Taofeek Osundara,  Women Leader, Nike Odutola,  Treasurer, Aibinuola Adegoke, Vice-state Chairman, Amusa Isiaka, Organising Secretary, Folasade Filani, state Auditor, Chief Ibukun Ojosipe and State Legal Adviser, Barrister Boladale Sanni, told journalists that Bayo Dayo led state exco had sidelined them as members of the state working committee.

Speaking on behalf the nine, the state Publicity Secretary, Waliu Oladipupo, said they were expected to be involved in the day-to-day running of the party.

He said, “Nine out of the 14 members of state working committee of the PDP which are empowered to carry out day-to-day activities of the party have been excluded from the running of the party.

“Our tenure has expired on February 28, 2016, but with the pronouncement of the National Working Committee we are still functioning as the State Working Committee.

“However, we are not being allowed to function as members of the State Working Committee”.

Oladipupo, declared the nine members had disassociated themselves from the congresses slated for Saturday (30th April) due to be conducted by Bayo Dayo-led faction stressing that their own group would also conduct ward congresses.

“We are the authentic group, following the rules and regulations of the party. We have 100 per cent power to conduct the ward congresses, and we will do just that, Oladipupo insisted.

But reacting to the allegation him and the chairman, the state Secretary of the party, Semiu Sodipo, said he was not aware of the allegation against him and the chairman.

Sodipo denied sidelining other members of the state executive saying “no member of the executive is given any role to play in the ward congresses”.

Parallel Elections

Meanwhile, it was confusion galore on Saturday, 30th of April, the day of the ward congresses of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ogun State as three different factions of the party conducted parallel congress in the 236 wards across the state.

Members of the party in the state belonging to the three factions loyal to the Senator representing Ogun East, Buruji Kashamu/Chief Bayo Dayo-led state exco; those loyal to former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and others in the group led by a member of the House of Representatives for Remo Federal Constituency, Ladi Adebutu, respectively, participated in the parallel congresses.
In Abeokuta, Sagamu and Ikenne local government areas, members of the different factions were seen at different spots within the same ward conducting their separate elections.

The State secretary of the PDP, Alhaii Semiu Sodipo told journalists that the congresses were conducted by a committee approved by the National Working Committee of the party, adding that the State Working Committee of party had no role to play in the conduct of the exercise.
Sodipo who assured that other factional congresses would not be recognised by the committee, alleged that all the other nine aggrieved members of the exco had left for either the Social Democratic Party (SDP) or the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the build-up to the last general elections.
“I don’t think it will be possible for anyone to conduct parallel congress or will be necessary because we have provided enough for everybody and regulations and the guidelines, the constitution will not allow that. The process is very simple and very clear.
A committee has come from Abuja and they are moving round and I don’t think they will recognise that or attend to any other congresses except the one they are conducting. Anything of such will just be a pocket of small small thing here and there and might not worth talking about.
“You know build up to the last election, many of our officers left the party and left for SDP, some of them left for APC and we are not happy with what happened but they left. If you leave the party and you want to come back there’s a process laid down by the constitution.
“All the nine executive members left for APC and SDP, if they want to come back, there’s a process through their wards. It is easier to join PDP but wanting to come back after leaving PDP is cumbersome and they must be ready to follow the process.”
Reacting, however, Folasade Filani who claimed to be the party’s Organising Secretary, explained that the congresses conducted by the Dayo-led exco was in contempt of a court order.

She also accused the national leadership of the party of bias, arguing that despite the court order, the National Secretary of the party refused to release forms already paid for to her faction.

She said, “Despite the pronouncement of the court order regarding the congresses to be held today, the Bayo-led exco still continued with the congresses which I believe is totally in contempt of the court.
“I want the world to know that the National headquarters has refused our people from receiving their forms which they have paid for, we have receipts to show that they have paid for these forms and by barring us, it’s a way of saying they are siding with Dayo-led exco which I believe is totally wrong for the party of our nature to be doing something like that.

“We have conducted a valid congress, the result will be out together as is being collated now and will be submitted to the national headquarters despite the fact that the national secretary has refused to give us the forms we have paid for.” Filani said.

While responding to claims that she had long abandoned the party, Filani said, “I think the imagination of whosoever is saying that is running wild, I am a full time PDP member, I have always been PDP and I have remained in PDP and I have not for one day left for PDP.

“In the last election, we participated fully and if you go and check the returning officer for Remo North, I was the returning officer for Prince Buruji Kashamu and Hon Ladi Adebutu and even for the state assembly; I don’t know how I would go to another party after the elections.”

State Chairman Suspended

However, the crisis rocking the Ogun State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), took a  new dimensionon Monday as the aggrieved nine members of the state working committee out of 14, suspended the State chairman, Adebayo Dayo, and secretary, Semiu Sodipo indefinitely for alleged gross misconduct.

The nine officers accused Dayo and Sodipo of allegedly misappropriating  N250 million money realised from sale of state expression of interest forms and returns from the national expression of interest forms , indiscriminate imposition of candidates and exclusion of party officials from the ongoing PDP congresses.

Addressing newsmen in Abeokuta, the PDP Organising Secretary, Dr Folasade Filani, who spoke on behalf of the nine officers, said the suspension was in accordance with section 21 (5) of the party’s constitution.

Other members of the state working committee include Elder Sunday Soledolu (Deputy State Chairman); Elder Isiaka Amusa (Vice Chairman, Central); Muritala Adegoke (Treasurer), Waliu Oladipupo (Publicity Secretary)?; Alhaja Nike Odutola (State Woman Leader); Taofik Osundara (Youth Leader); Bola Sanni (Legal Adviser) and Chief Ibukunolu Ojosipe (Auditor).

The nine members, however, unanimously elected Chief Ibukunolu Ojosipe and Muritala Adegoke as interim chairman and secretary respectively.

Filani declared that the chairman and secretary would remain suspended pending the time their cases would be determined by the appropriate organ of the party.

She said, “Without any hold of breath, we pass a vote of no confidence on the state chairman, Engr. Bayo Dayo and the State Secretary, Alhaji Semiu Sodipo and further suspen?d the duo respectively from the party with immediate effect having formed the quorum of over one-third as prescribed by section 21 (5) of the party constitution pending the time their cases will be determined by the appropriate organ of the party.”

Filani? stated further that the PDP national secretariat would be duly informed about the development, urging party faithful to cooperate with the new interim officers.

In his reaction,  the embattled chairman, Chief Adebayo Dayo, said the action of the nine officers was illegal and in clear breach of the party constitution.

He maintained the aggrieved officers are those who had defected to either the All Progressives Congress (APC) or Social Democratic Party (SDP) ahead of the last general elections.

He said, “The constitution does not allow anybody to do that. So, their action is illegal. The constitution is very explicit.

“Anybody who is a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) cannot be dealt with in that manner, except by the National Executive Committee itself in accordance with Article 29 (1) of our party constitution.? So, they don’t know what they are doing.

“They are not members of our party, they have defected to SDP or APC before the last election. They only want to stage a comeback and aligned with a group that cannot win at the congresses. They want to return to PDP through the backdoor. That won’t happen.

“The tenure of the ward executive expired last Saturday. The tenure of the local government executive expired on Thursday; the tenure of State Executive Committee will expire next week. If they are interested in the position, let them go and take nomination forms in Abuja and contest.?”

As at now, PDP in Ogun state is polarised and with accusations and counter-accusations, the desired peace, needed to build a formidable party in preparation for 2019 is still elusive.