Palpable fears now pervade the ranks and file of members of the People’s Democratic Party PDP across Oyo State as the crisis that marred the state congress of the party on Saturday may deal a devastating blow to its avowed determination to reclaim the state from All Progressive Congress APC at the 2015 general elections if not properly managed.
The Street Journal findings revealed that the intra-party crisis amongst the frontline contenders for the governorship election in the state more than ever before had been brought to the fore by the Saturday congress. The congress that was marred by irregularities remained inconclusive as the time of filling this report as former governor of the State, Adebayo Alao-Akala, former Senate Leader, Senator Tesilim Folarin and Seyi Makinde all lay claim to victory at the end of the congress.
The confusion that trailed the congress became more damning sequel to the conspiracy of silence by the party Exco the state.
It was gathered that the distribution of materials was disrupted at the PDP secretariat after materials had been distributed to 21 out of the 33 councils in the state.
However,it was gathered that the congress was peacefully conducted in Saki, Ibarapa, Ogbomoso and Oyo areas of the state.
The leading aspirants had accused each other of disrupting the distribution of materials at the party’s secretariat.
Dr Kola Balogun, a close associate of Alao-Akala, said that there was no basis for his boss to have disrupted the distribution of materials when he was already winning.
Also, Alhaji Akeem Azeez, the Media Aide to Makinde, said that the disruption was unknown to them, adding that his principal was winning from reports gathered.
He said that supporters of Folarin were absent at the various voting centres, adding that they had video clips of the congress.
However, Mr Sunday Babalola, the Coordinator of the Folarin Campaign group said that his principal won the congress, alleging that the distribution of materials was disrupted by the Alao-Akala group.
However, all the telephone calls made to the State Chairman, Alhaji Yinka Taiwo and Mr Kehinde Salawu, the Public Relations Officer were unanswered as at the time of filing this report.
It was however, learnt that some governorship aspirants of the PDP in the State who felt the results of the ward congress held across the 33 local government council areas of the state may not favour them tried to disrupt the voting process.
Though the state Publicity Secretary of the party, Kehinde Salawu, avoided blaming any of the aspirants, he confirmed that some of the aspirants tried to create problems.
While assuring that the leadership of the party would ensure that things went well, it was gathered that the ward congress was dogged by controversy with the three leading governorship aspirants claiming victory.
At the time of filling this report, results of the congress from across the wards were yet to be released.
Other governorship aspirants, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, Azeem Gbolarumi, Prof. Soji Adejumo, Mr. Kehinde Olaosebikan, said the exercise was peaceful in their respective wards.
Team Akala, a support group for the re-election of former Gov. Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State in 2015, has said that its principal is not jittery over the exercise.
The group said this in a statement signed by its Coordinator, Mr Niran Adeyoju, and made available to the Street Journal on Sunday.
The group said a statement being circulated that Alao-Akala was jittery over 2015 was untrue.
The group also condemned the reports that its principal disrupted the distribution of voting materials for the ward congress of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) held across the state on Saturday .
“The former governor did not in any way disrupt the congress when it is obvious that he was already leading in virtually all the wards.
“There is no basis for him or any of his political aides to have led thugs to the party secretariat to disrupt the process of distribution of materials, when we are already aware that the congress was already in our favour,’’ it said.
The group said the report was one orchestrated by bad losers to smear its principal’s name, adding that it was the stock-in trade of those desperate politicians to cause confusion.
“We are aware of the desperate moves of some politicians who are bent on tarnishing the image and credibility of Alao-Akala by giving false information to the public.
“This, we hear, they are doing through their agents in the media and social media just because they have been mobilised to join forces with the opposition against the return of Akala in 2015.
“To us 2015 is not a do-or-die affair but a call to service. Alao-Akala has only yielded to the calls by the members of the public to return as governor in 2015.’’
It called on members of the public to always disregard any damaging information emanating from the camp of the opposition both within and outside the PDP, urging media practitioners to be balanced in their reports.
Meanwhile, fifteen gubernatorial aspirants on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State have called for the cancellation of the ward delegates congresses held in the state last Saturday.
In a joint petition to the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Ahmadu Mu’azu, the aspirants said the processes leading to the congresses were flawed and could not produce an acceptable outcome.
The 15 aspirants listed on the petition include Beks Dagogo-Jack, Hon. Bernard Mikko, Prof. Don Baridam, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, Hon. Gabriel Pidomson, Major Lancelot Anyanya (Rtd.), Senator Lee Maeba, and Nimi Walson-Jack.
Others include Capt. Sunday Nwanko, Hon. Oseleya Ojuka, Chief Pawariso Horsfall, Sampson Ngeregbara, Dr. Silva Opusunju, Hon. Tamunosisi Jaja, Prince Tonye Princewill
The aspirants, who spoke through Mr Sotonye Ijuye-Dagogo, called for the cancellation of the congress, saying Mrs Jonathan had endorsed one of the aspirants.
“We want to put it on record that the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, has publicity (not in her house but in the house of one of the aspirants) endorsed an aspirant, former Minister of State for Education, Wike.
The First Lady has also approached some of the aspirants to step down and even invited them to a dinner/meeting in the Presidential Villa,” Ijaye-Dagogo said.
The governorship aspirants said the leadership of the party in the state had failed to exhaust the processes that should lead to a credible ward congress, adding that they include “open registration of members, authentication of the party registers at ward levels and display of party register as enshrined in the party’s constitution.”
“We note that the process leading up to the ward delegate elections, which is the foundation of all subsequent primaries, is clearly convoluted and flawed and cannot therefore produce an acceptable outcome.”