Tunde Olanrewaju, Abeokuta
Feuding factions of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State appeared to be closing ranks ahead of next year general elections as speculations persist that former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole, is being positioned to fly the party’s flag during the gubernatorial race.
There are at least four factions of the PDP in Ogun State. But the officially recognized one is led by party financier, Prince Buruji Kashamu. A side led by former Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has dissolved into the Labour Party, while remnants of those on President Olusegun Obasanjo side of the divide remain on the fringes as a number of them have joined the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) with those loyal to former Minister of State for Finance, Senator Jubril Martins-Kuye (JMK), still waiting in the wings.
An authoritative source confirmed to Uhuru Times that remnants of Obasanjo’s loyalists, who refused to join the APC, had a brainstorming session with representatives from Daniel, Kashamu and Senator Jubril Martins-Kuye factionss at the Iperu, Remo country home of former House of Representatives member, Hon. Dave Salako with a resolve that Bankole be pushed forward for the 2015 gubernatorial race as a rallying point for Ogun State PDP.
At the Iperu meeting were, the host, Bankole, Senator Lekan Mustapha, Hon.Wale Ogunbanjo, Chief Wale Egunleti, Chief Sina Adejobi, Hon.Abeeb Ajayi and three members of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Messrs Job Akintan, Abiodun Akovoyon and Michael Fasinu. Others include Mr. Tunji Akinosi, Chief Dele Ajayi and Chief Yinka Sosinde. The meeting was said to have expressed confidence in the person of Bankole, who it believes is well positioned to wrest power from the incumbent Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
Leader of the JMK group, Salako, confirmed the meeting and explained that the PDP is currently in search of a credible material that would contest against any candidate presented by the ruling party. “It took us a lot of stress to get Rt. Hon. Dimeji Bankole to attend the meeting. But he agreed in the larger interest of the PDP.
“We are not only canvassing, we desire and we are looking for him (Bankole) to take the flag of PDP come the 2015 gubernatorial election. We are giving him all the support that he will need for 2015 and we are confident he is the man that will lead us to victory. If you leave here, go to Abeokuta, Ijebu, Yewa and Remo, the name you’ll find on their lips is Dimeji Bankole.
“In Ogun State, we still believe that we have peculiarity in our state, but we are going to make sure that everybody comes back to the PDP regardless of what has been happening over the days or weeks. People are defecting to APC or whatever. It is not so totally in Ogun State. Most PDP members in Ogun State are still steadfast and loyal to the party. I make bold to tell you that 90 to 95 per cent of PDP members are still there and we are ready to move, God helping us, to make sure that our candidate emerges by 2015 as governor.
“We dissociate ourselves from the (Obasanjo) Abeokuta meeting. We’ll remain in the PDP and we are ready to give the new national chairman all the support he requires. We commend his efforts at reorganizing and reinvigorating the party. We also support his reconciliation exercise and harmonization, especially in the South West and particularly Ogun State.”
Obasanjo had recently convened a meeting in Abeokuta subtly informing those present he might support a political party different from the PDP in the next elections. But a counter-move by PDP stakeholders last Friday in Abeokuta kicked against the defection of members to the APC, which many believed Obasanjo favours.