Ogun 2019: PDP crisis turns nasty as party bigwigs abandon Kashamu for Akinlade, Dapo Abiodun
London, March 8, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Crisis engulfing PDP in Ogun state took an an embarrassing note on Thursday after bigwigs of Party initiated divergent endorsements of opposition governorship candidates ahead of Saturday’s election.
The development, coming less than 24 hours to the governorship and state assembly elections is a big blow to Senator Kashamu Buruji and his loyalists who was duly recognised by the court as the party’s governorship flag bearer in the state
Moments after Gbenga Daniel, a former governor of the state and strong PDP henchman, announced his endorsement of his kinsman, Dapo Abiodun, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ladi Adebutu, a federal lawmaker who nearly picked the PDP’s governorship ticket, said he had endorsed Abiodun Akinlade of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM).
But supporters of the PDP in the state said the reasons cited by both of their leaders left them more dumbfounded than their endorsement of opposition parties against a factional body.
Mr Daniel said he endorsed Mr Abiodun because Mr Adebutu did not get the PDP ticket, and since the three of them are of the Remo extraction in Ogun East, supporting one of their own would better guarantee the advancement of their tribe.
Mr Adebutu, however, disagreed in his own endorsement of Mr Akinlade, who is from Yewa geopolitical zone in Ogun West, saying only the APM candidate could be trusted to continue the policies of incumbent Governor Ibikunle Amosun.
The factional Chairman of the PDP, Sikirulahi Ogundele, announced Akinlade’s adoption shortly after the meeting between the leaders of the APM and the PDP faction.
The meeting, which was attended by the Director-General of the APM, Sarafa Ishola; Akinlade, Ogundele and Adebutu, was held in a hotel in Abeokuta.
Adebutu, who is a factional governorship candidate of the PDP in the state, had accused the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, of sponsoring Senator Buruji Kashamu.
Kashamu, the senator representing Ogun East, has been recognised by the Independent National Electoral Commission as the governorship candidate of the PDP in Ogun State.
After the meeting between the PDP and the APM leaders, Ogundele told journalists that the faction remained intact and that it only adopted Akinlade as the governorship candidate for the poll on Saturday.
The adoption came 24 hours after the Federal High court in Abeokuta affirmed Kashamu as the PDP governorship candidate.
Ogundele said members of the faction would mobilise support for Akinlade in all the local government areas of the state.
He said, “Politics is all about responsiveness. Politics is about being upright. So, we found all these qualities in Akinlade, and as I speak with you, all the state executive members, local government executive members and ward executive members have graciously adopted the candidature of Abdulkabir Akinlade.”
When asked whether his faction got the permission of the National Working Committee of the PDP before the adoption of Akinlade, Ogundele said his faction did not need the approval of any organ of the party.
Mr Daniel strongly backed Mr Adebutu at the PDP governorship primaries in the state, against Buruji Kashamu, a controversial politician and the senator representing Ogun East Senatorial District.
Mr Adebutu was recognised by the PDP’s national leadership and was given the party’s ticket over Mr Kashamu.
Mr Kashamu was backed by the state’s chapter of the party for the governorship.
But a series of judicial pronouncements, including at least one by the Supreme Court, over the ticket, was in favour of Mr Kashamu.
Mr Kashamu had challenged the PDP’s decision to give Mr Adebutu the ticket, arguing successfully that his own executive committee of the party was authentic and its decisions were valid.
Mr Amosun, who won a senatorial seat on APC platform on February 23, backs Mr Akinlade of APM against Mr Abiodun of the APC.
The last-minute moves by Messrs Daniel and Adebutu stemmed from yet another judicial affirmation of Buruji Kashamu as the state’s bona fide governorship candidate on Wednesday at the Federal High Court in Abeokuta, the state capital.
“Going forward, I have directed all our structures statewide to cast all their votes on Saturday” for Mr Abiodun,” Mr Daniel said after lamenting the failure of Mr Adebutu to be the PDP’s candidate.
But Mr Daniel told his supporters who were present at the endorsement at his country home in Shagamu, a major commercial centre in Ogun State, that the support came “despite current party differences” with Mr Abiodun, whom he described as a bona fide son of Remo.
Mr Abiodun was present at Mr Daniel’s residence during the endorsement Thursday afternoon, and the politicians’ offices circulated pictures of a jubilant atmosphere that prevailed throughout.