Osun PDP will never stop amazing one with the drama of absurd playing out in different camps. It is no longer news that Osun PDP has been balkanised into two factions each laying claims to the leadership of the party in the state. The two dramatis personae at the centre of the war of attrition are, Olusoji Adagunodo and Bayo Faforiji.
While Adagunodo had his offshoot from mainly those who are opposed to the domineering politics of Senator Iyiola Omisore within the PDP, Bayo Faforiji was practically a contraption of Iyiola Omisore and all those who subscribed to his hegemonic tendencies within the party structure.
The loss of the party at the centre in the last presidential election brought to the fore, the deep seated animosity against Iyiola Omisore who is perceived by the majority stakeholders to have wielded so much power with the attendant consequences of control of more resources which would have hitherto permeate the strata of the party. It is a known fact then that any appointment from the centre must have the imprimatur of Apesin or else such appointment is doomed to fail. No wonder most of the party men had to bend to his directives while he held the ace.
He practically handpicked the Gani Olaoluwa excos of the party despite reservations by the likes of Omo Oba Olagunsoye Oyinlola and other notable PDP members to the emergence of the not too educated chairman of the party. Omisore’s word was law within the party and no one dare challenge him or his decisions on any matter. No wonder, when the time to throw his hat into the Governorship context, no one dare challenge him. Senator Isiaka Adeleke had a bad story to tell for having the courage to be a contestant at the party’s primary.
However, the loss of Senator Iyiola Omisore in the 2014 Governorship election, demystified the awe in which the trepidated PDP members held him. They came to the reality that after all, Omisore could be beaten blue black despite his closeness to the Federal Government. They reasoned that if they come together they can free themselves from the perpetual bondage they all found themselves in the hands of Chrisore.
Meanwhile, there has been mutual distrust between Omisore and his once upon beloved chairman. Asejere as he is fondly called by His admirer, has had his ego bruised by chrisore on different occassion, particularly during 2014 Governorship campaign. Unconfirmed report has it that Gani Ola Oluwa was slapped by Chrisore for having the audacity to demand for his share of the funds made available for the campaign by the presidency. Diran Odeyemi, the spoke person for PDP in Osun was loud in the allegation of graft against Gani Olaoluwa. Asejere was accused of siphoning several millions of naira meant for the party. This and many other embarrassing attitude made the party excos to begin to look for succor outside Chrisore’s camp.
An opportunity presented itself when a nod was given to the PDP across the state to begin preparation for congress. The camp of disgruntled element against Omisore had grown in leaps and bounds. Those who hitherto are his die – hards pitched their tent in other camp. The National Secretary of the PDP, Professor Wale Oladipo had fell out with Chrisore and teamed up with the “disgruntled element” within the party.
The first blow to the Omisore’s camp, using the secretariat power residing in Professor Wale Oladipo, was non availability of nomination forms for those seen to be loyal to him. They ensured that at ward and local government level his supporters were either disqualified or prevented from voting. The Adagunodo camp had the whole ward and Local Government excos in their kitty !
Bayo Faforiji on the other hand cried fowl of the process and made strenous appeal to the centre to no avail. Eventually, a state congress was held at Osogbo City stadium and Adagunodo was declared the winner. The other camp led by Bayo Faforiji rejected the outcome of the congress and claimed there was no congress. They went to court to challenge a non-existing congress which suit they failed to pursue till date.
Having failed to legally challenge the congress that produced Adagunodo as the Chairman, Bayo Faforiji also declared himself as the Chairman of the party and hold forth at the Ogo Oluwa end of the secretariat, after all, his benefactor is the sole financier of the structure. There was no known congress till date where one can safely say Bayo Faforiji was elected. The only validity to his claim as the Chairman of the party was the tag given to him in Portharcourt as representing the party in Osun State.
Faforiji because of the manner of his emergence has enjoyed patronage from those particularly opposed to the continued stay of Sheriff as the National Chairman. Chief Raymond Dokpesi came to Osogbo for campaign and declared Faforiji as the authentic PDP. In appreciation of that gesture, Dokpesi was adopted as a candidate that would have the osun delegates votes.
Despite the promise of support given to the candidature of Raymond Dokpesi, the entire Faforiji camp in one fell swoop ferried themselves to Lagos for Chief Bode George campaign and declaration as the national chairman of the party. The latest action of Faforiji to my mind is a desperate attempt to cling to anything that will continue to project him as the true representative of the party in Osun even when no mandate was given to him. It is also smacks of a dishonourable conduct to romance another aspirant when you have declared for a particular one.
What is clear however is the fact that the pretence to cling to a mandate not freely given will indeed have serious effect on the performance of the party in the future elections in the state. Going by the array of personality in Adagunodo’s camp, they won’t go down without a fight.
We are set for an interesting times within the PDP family in Osun as it is a season film without end.
*Lawal, a legal practitioner, writes from Ibadan, Oyo State.