- Category: Politics
- Published on Thursday, 03 February 2011 08:36
- Written by The Nation
- Hits: 2089
THEIR political future hanging in the balance, House of Representatives Speaker Dimeji Bankole and Ogun Governor Gbenga Daniel are begging their party’s leadership to save them.
The faction, whose primaries are recognised by INEC, is the one loyal to former President Olusegun Obasanjo. It has former military Administrator Gen. Tunji Olurin as governorship candidate. Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, Obasanjo’s daughter, is the group’s senatorial candidate for Ogun central.
The Daniel faction has Gbenga Isiaka as governorship candidate. The daughter of the late Chief Moshood Abiola, Lola Abiola-Edewor, is the faction’s senatorial candidate. Daniel plans to run in the senatorial race – a dream that has been dampened by the INEC hammer, following a court order.
His deputy, Salmot Badru, plans to run for a House of Representatives seat.
By implication, the Speaker has technically lost his nomination to return to the House and Daniel will not be able to vie for the Ogun East Senatorial District seat.
But Bankole and Daniel have rushed to the national leadership of the PDP to save their political careers.
Sources close to the Speaker and the governor said they were jolted by the INEC decision.
Although their faction was considering going to the Court of Appeal last night, there were fears that their application might not be disposed of before the April general elections.
It was gathered that the development forced all the affected parties to reach out to President Goodluck Jonathan and the party’s acting National Chairman, Dr. Mohammed Haliru Bello.
A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: "The Speaker and the governor are in a very serious trouble because they are technically no longer PDP candidates for April general elections.
"The only option they have is to approach the Court of Appeal to save them. And given court records in Nigeria, their appeal may be decided after the general elections.
"This twist led to a series of discussions between the Speaker, Daniel and the PDP leadership yesterday."
The source added that the party leadership had already reached out to the President in Turkey, where he is on a three-day official visit.
It was gathered that the President, who is sticking to the rule of law, however, asked the PDP leadership to explore a political solution to the thorny matter.
Another stalwart of the PDP, who spoke in confidence, said that a political solution was being worked out.
He said: "We are working out a political option. Some of our leaders have agreed to prevail on the Speaker and Daniel to accept those fielded by Obasanjo’s faction, including Gen. Olurin as Ogun governorship candidate and the retention of a senatorial slot for Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello.
"As part of the peace deal, the Speaker and Daniel will retain their tickets to go to the National Assembly.
"If the Speaker and the governor accept the new formula, the PDP will be left with no option than to modify the list of candidates submitted to INEC, based on an earlier court order mandating the party to withdraw the previous list."
Asked how the governor received news of the INEC action, the source said he was devastated.
A source in the Speaker’s camp said: "Either way, Bankole’s mandate cannot be affected because all those who showed interest in his seat had withdrawn from the race.
"So, as far as the party is concerned, whether from Obasanjo or Daniel’s camp, Bankole is the sole candidate of the PDP for his constituency."
The two factions of the PDP in Ogun State yesterday continued to trade blames over the crisis of the candidates’ list.
While the Daniel faction blamed the Obasanjo faction of working in tandem with the opposition to sabotage the PDP at the elections, the Obasanjo faction described the allegation as baseless.
"The allegation does not hold water. It is akin to a lazy worker who is blaming his tools for poor harvest. Is budding politician Gboyega Isiaka also alleging that the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) that issued a letter dissolving the Joju Fadairo-led executive is also being manipulated by the ACN?", Mr. Tunde Oladunjoye, spokesman of the Obasanjo faction, led by Chief Dayo Soremi, said yesterday
He added: "Was it the ACN that issued the order of the Federal High Court, Lagos restraining Fadairo from parading himself as the chairman of the party and organising primaries and congresses? Was it the ACN that issued the order of the Federal High Court, Abuja, invalidating the kangaroo primaries that produced Isiaka?"
Isiaka, in a statement by his media assistant, Bolaji Adeniji, said: "It is sufficiently clear that the Dayo Soremi group and their sponsors are agents of the ACN left in the PDP to reduce its fortune."
Gen. Olurin, whose name has been submitted by the PDP to INEC as the candidate of the party in the election, said yesterday that he owed his emergence to the rule of law.
"Right from the word go, the harmonised executive to which I belong followed the law and we have achieved what many thought was impossible.
"INEC’s action of rejecting the illegal list clearly marks an end to illegality in Ogun State PDP. It is victory for democracy and the rule of law," Olurin said on the telephone yesterday.