Indications suggest that a faction of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State led by Hon. Ladi Adebutu may have decided to collapse its structure into the All Progressives Congress (APC).
But an aide of Adebutu, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, insisted that the leaders, who defected to the APC on Wednesday were on their own as their action was not sanctioned by the man endorsed by the PDP national secretariat as its gubernatorial candidate.
Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, had on Wednesday received some key leaders of the Adebutu faction of the Ogun State PDP, who pledged their allegiance to APC, in a move perceived by observers as a mortal blow to the structure of the opposition party in Ogun Central Senatorial District. They include, Chief Lekan Salako, Chief Amodemaja Isiaka, Alhaji Ismael Odejimi, Chief Dapo Adeyemi, Hon. Owolabi Kola Balogun, and Alhaji Mukaila Adekunle.
The move to join APC, according to an impeccable source, may not be unconnected with the recognition accorded by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to the Senator Buruji Kashamu-led faction, which the electoral body has agreed to produce the party’s gubernatorial candidate in accordance with a court order.
The source told Uhuru Times that, “The decision to align with APC was a very painful one for us, and was taken about two weeks ago after several deliberations on how to move forward. But don’t forget there are also two factions of APC in Ogun State; they have the one led by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. But the one being led by the Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, is our choice. That’s the one we have decided to team up with.
“Osinbajo is the one backing Buruji Kashamu, and we are determined that his candidate will not fly. We’ll do everything to ensure the emergence of Adekunle Akinlade, who is Senator Amosun’s choice as the next governor of Ogun State. They are using the judiciary against us, and we are prepared to use our superior number to let them know we have the people of Ogun State behind us.”
When reminded that Akinlade is of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), the source was not perturbed, saying, “We know that. That is just a name, because all of them are APC, the only difference is the governorship and a few House of Assembly candidates. Once the election is over, everybody will return to APC including Akinlade himself. That is what we know. But somebody cannot just come from Lagos and be dictating what should happen in Ogun State to us. It is not possible.”
Adebutu’s aide on his part confirmed that those who defected were indeed leaders of their faction of PDP. “But you need to know that they are all from Ogun Central, and that should tell you another story. They are impatient, and wants to be where the action is. We will not be disturbed by what they have done. Lado’s project to become the next governor of Ogun State was ordained by God. We will wait on Him,” he said.
The aide confirmed Adebutu’s allegation of judicial interference, saying, “You were at our press conference in Lagos a few weeks ago, when Lado himself confirmed Osinbajo is the force behind Buruji Kashamu and Dapo Abiodun. But we are determined to remain in PDP so that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar can become the next President of Nigeria.”