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Ogun PDP’s endless crisis: No resolution in sight

By Charles Coffie Gyamfi, Abeokuta
04 December 2016   |   3:10 am
“I believe the situation is now getting clearer, I’m saying this because genuine PDP members and stalwarts will fall in and those who are being used will either go to their sponsors or find another party to go.”

• Kashamu Is A Dual Personality, No Integrity – Ogundele Faction
• Ogundele Faction Is Imaginary – Bayo Dayo Faction
• We Are The Authentic Faction – Ogunbiyi

The crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ogun State chapter, which began about eight years ago, has failed to abate despite efforts by well-meaning Nigerians, including respected monarchs to forge peace between the contending actors and factions.

The crisis began in 2008, when then-Speaker of the 26-member State House of Assembly, Chief Titi Oseni, was impeached. The face-off has lingered since then. In fact, that dispute divided the Legislature into two in 2011 for six months, at a time party had majority in the Assembly.

As at now, there are three factional chairmen tearing at the party. They are; Bayo Dayo who is the chairman of Senator Buruji Kashamu’s faction, while Hon. Sikirulai Ogundele leads the Hon. Ladi Adebutu faction. The chairman of Hon. Dimeji Bankole’s faction is Chief Wale Egunleti. Former Governor Otunba Gbenga Daniel’s faction, Ogundele told The Guardian has fused into the Adebutu group.

The crisis initially was between former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s faction and that of Daniel over the latter’s bid to run for second term. It was carefully managed and Daniel picked the ticket. In 2011, while Obasanjo wanted Gen. Adetunji Olurin to be the party’s candidate, Daniel, then as outgoing governor preferred Gboyega Nasir Isiaka.
Obasanjo has since left the party, but instead of his exit healing the wound, it seemed to have sown endless seeds of discord.

During the Local government/Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) election in October, the three factions struggled to be recognised by the State Electoral body, the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC), but eventually it was Adebutu’s faction that was recognised. They participated in the election but won only one councillorship seat out the 249 and 57 Chairmanship.

The Guardian spoke to the three factions and each blamed the other for being responsible for the protracted fight.

Ogundele specifically accused Senator Buruji Kashamu’s of greed and quest to “sell the party’s tickets to aspirants” as being responsible for the crisis.

Kashamu’s factional chairman, Bayo Dayo on the other hand, blamed the inordinate ambition of Adebutu for fueling the crisis.

The latest confrontation became a public matter on Friday, November 25, when Adebutu’s faction announced the suspension of seven members of the Bayo Dayo faction, including Kashamu.

The following day, Bayo Dayo at a press briefing announced the expulsion of Daniel and three others from Adebutu’s faction.

A chieftain of the Bankole faction, Chief Biodun Ogunbiyi told The Guardian: “I agree with Sikiru Ogundele 100 percent that Senator Buruji Kashamu is the one causing all the confusion in the party. Kashamu has not just started, he has been at it for years and that is what has led PDP to where we are today as a party.”

Bayo Dayo on the other hand, said: “The above mentioned (those expelled) have in the last few weeks been negotiating with the APC and AD at the same time, where they have reached an understanding to revamp at the appropriate time. What they are currently doing is to weaken the PDP and cause deep disaffection within it before moving again to their next preferred party. We shall no longer condone this gross misconduct and anti-party activities.”

Here is what Ogundele’s faction told The Guardian

“THERE was a congress that authenticated us as the original PDP Executives. The tenure of Mr. Bayo Dayo expired in February and we even went to court to get judgment to that effect, that they have got no power to extend their tenure and also to embark on, or supervise a congress; we got a judgment to that effect.

“The constitution of the party allows the stakeholders of the party to set up a committee of leaders that will do the supervision of that congress. After we got judgment from the High Court, we went ahead to organise that Committee, the Committee supervised all our congresses from the Ward, Local and State levels, that certified us and authenticated us as the original executive members of PDP. But we still took a step further; we went to court, got a ruling and order at the State High Court here in Abeokuta, under Justice Ojo, certifying that congress.

“We even took a step further by getting an injunction, stopping Bayo Dayo from parading himself as the chairman, all these documents are intact. Makarfi is our own person. At the national convention, we were the ones that was recognised by those that organised it based on the judgment we got from the State High Court. They also went to court in Lagos, which is outside the jurisdiction of this state. They got ruling there that they are also the authentic executives. We appealed against the judgment and also a stay of execution on that judgment and that stopped certifying them as authentic executives.”

“During the local government election, we went through the procedural processes of getting recognised. We took the judgment we got to the Constitutionally backed Ogun State Independent Electoral body, they (Dayo’s faction) also took their documents there too, we got letter from our party’ National Executive, while they got their own letter from Ali Modu Sheriff. The first judgment that was given to Markarfi, which our faction is loyal to made the OGSIEC to recognise us and also that was the reason why OGSIEC allowed us to participate in the local government election.”

“Then the crisis between Markafi and Sheriff became prominent, court rulings, counter court rulings and at the end of the day, just about last week, before the Ondo election, there was the ruling in favour of the Markarfi executive as the most authentic leadership of the PDP.”

“Immediately after last week’s judgment when we saw some of their steps and when we noticed they were being used by the APC to disorganise the PDP, we came to the conclusion that, if truly we want to get back to government, it would be in the interest of the party to remove the bad ones among us and concentrate on the flexible ones within the party. Buruji Kashamu, we all know his antecedents and that he is of dual personality. This person is also known as Esho Jinadu, he has about two or three names. Such a man cannot lead a respectable party like the PDP in any position. Kashamu joined the party with the sole aim of using us to do business.”

“Why we suspended them is that, immediately after the party’s State Convention in June, we received petitions that money running to about N300 to N400 million was being misappropriated by Kashamu and his cohorts. We have documents to that effect. We got all these petitions and the party’s constitution says if you got anything against anybody, a panel should be set up and we set up a committee headed by Chief Akinhunmi so they invited them (Kashamu and others). But they refused to appear before the Committee despite several reminders to them. The Committee therefore, had no choice but to make recommendations, including their suspension.”

“Markarfi extended hands of fellowship and goodwill to them, but unfortunately they didn’t play along, they have their intention, simply because they have collected money from APC, they have turned themselves to mercenaries of the APC, to disrupt the Ondo election, they wanted to do the same thing in Edo, but the Markafi group were faster than them.”

“We suspended them for financial misappropriation, anti-party activities, the number three is that their actions and inactions brought disrepute to the party. These are the three points upon which we based our decision on. They are not only suspended from the offices they claim to hold, even they cease to be members of the party pending the time that their suspension is going to be lifted.

“Bayo Dayo is a surrogate, he is the stooge to Buruji Kashamu, he has got no mind of his own, he has got no backbone; so I can’t be talking to such a person. Their camp is full of deceit, full of fraud and we can’t afford to be in their midst because light and darkness can’t be together”.

“They said they have expelled me, OGD (Daniel), Adebutu; let us just put it to them which part of the party’s constitution gives them the power to expel, you can only suspend after you might have given fair hearing to the accused person. We went through due process for getting them suspended, we have got letters, samples of the letters that we wrote to them to prove that we followed the due process. They are just ignorant, they cannot expel even an ordinary member of the party.”

What Kashamu Faction Had To Say

Dayo Bayo’s faction had this to say at a press conference he addressed on Saturday November 26.
“YOU (journalists) all are aware of the challenges we have contended with since our executive was elected and inaugurated in March this year. Chief among this challenges have been the division caused by the emergence of an imaginary parallel state executive being championed by Sikirulai Ogundele and some other misguided people.

“These charlatans that have now become an embarrassment and huge nuisance to the party are not acting solo, they are being promoted and sponsored by Hon. Ladi Adebutu, whose inordinate and desperate desire to contest for the office of Governor in 2019 have made him go berserk and reckless in the pursuit of that asinine mission, even when the time for such is not ripe. Ladi Adebutu has ignored the voice of reason and is sliding irredeemably down the valley of dishonor.

“Ladi Adebutu is also not acting alone as he clearly does not have the capacity to orchestrate the degree of political subterfuge he has soaked himself in, but he is being aided and guided by the big masquerade in Sagamu, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, whose dwindling political relevance and desire to grab from the wealth of Chief Adebutu Kessignton has made him surrender leadership to the little Ladi. What a travesty!

“Let me also at this junction state inter alia that there are no two state executives in Ogun state as all relevant reports, statutory agencies, judicial pronouncements and PDP national secretariat recognition – have all resolved the authenticity of Ogun State executive and affirmatively in our favour. Consequently, it follows to say that Sikirulai and his cohorts are interlopers and impostors seeking to grab what does not belong to them. Sikirulai in particular, is still on trial for criminal burglary and stealing of party register and should by now be cooling his heels in jail had the process been accelerated.

“These people elevated their shenanigans two days ago when they met at their hotel and issued a statement purportedly suspending respected leaders of the party, which includes myself, a senator and a member of the state legislature among others. We consider this action as highly unacceptable, ridiculous, preposterous and an affront on constituted authority of the party in Ogun State. They have indeed bitten more than they can chew and they must pay dearly for this high indiscretion.

“However, it is again important we state a few facts to appropriately anchor our resolution. In the first instance, Sikirulai and his friends lack the locus to suspend any one because they have no authority or legal basis to act. An illusory, imaginary and non-existent executive cannot repudiate a constitutionally elected executive. We do not even need to remind them that Section 57, sub-section 7 of our constitution does not grant a state executive committee the power to discipline any member of NEC, which the senator and myself are members of. So they are again ignorant and uninformed.

“We must also report that Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Ladi Adebutu, Sikirulai Ogundele and their collaborators have been in and out of the party since 2011. They were in PPN at some point and later journeyed into Labour Party, before we granted them waiver to come into the PDP on the eve of the 2015 elections.  Pray therefore, how can these people that are less than two years in the party seek to control it and even attempt to sack their landlords?

“On the contrary, the above mentioned have, in the last few weeks been negotiating with the APC and AD at the same time, where they have reached an understanding to revamp at the appropriate time. What they are currently doing is to weaken the PDP and cause deep disaffection within it before moving again to their next preferred party. We shall no longer condone this gross misconduct and anti-party activity.

“Consequently, the State Executive Committee have examined their actions and concluded that it is continually inimical to the sustenance and progress of the PDP in Ogun state. We shall not allow them destroy our party before migrating to another one.”

Bankole’s Faction Tells Own Story to The Guardian

Chief Biodun Ogunbiyi, who spoke to The Guardian said, “It is now clear and obvious that the only sane Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) group in Ogun State is the Dimeji Bankole group. Not only is the group sane, it is the most organised and the most populous of all the three groups or factions.

“You can imagine the spate of the crisis engulfing the other groups, the suspension battle that has been going on between the Bayo Dayo and Adebutu’s factions. It is unfortunate that the major problem is the desire of a particular group to believe that they can hold on to the structure of the party, either through the back door or whatever means, using the party structure or even using the judiciary as an avenue to achieve their aim.

“The basis of politics is to show your number, if we want to go to congress and you bring your people, the other group also bring their people, whoever emerges in a clear contest shows the group that is most popular. But a situation where you believe that you must just hold on to the structure is like milking the cow and asking some other people to hold the horn for you. And that is exactly what is manifesting now within the PDP in Ogun State and people are getting to know which is authentic.

“What these groups are fighting for is the soul of the party in the state and that is not the way to go about it. There are clear-cut procedures and protocols in getting the control and installing an executive of the party at whatever level.

“I agree with Sikiru Ogundele 100 percent that Senator Buruji Kashamu is the one causing all the confusion in the party. Kashamu has not just started he done so over the years and that has led PDP to where we are today. In anything you do, there is always a policy of give and take, but a situation where you believe you must have everything you want 100 percent and leaving the people in other groups to having nothing is never done. Even in life it is not like that, you should weigh the options and reconcile to give peace a chance.”

“I share the view that Kashamu is being sponsored by the opposition to bring confusion in the party. I have said it a number of times even at the inception of Senator Ibikunle Amosun’s administration, it was established and was never controverted that Kashamu had a very juicy contract of supplying vehicles to the government, the legislature and some other arms of government. What other evidence do we need to prove that people are encouraging him or assisting him or financing him to cause trouble within his own party?

“Some of our people who probably didn’t see clearly a few years back, are now getting to know. Even without prompting them they know where to go and they know where to pitch their tents. Very soon, the situation will be finally resolved and the national executive too are not closing their eyes, they are watching events and they know exactly what is happening and that the political option is the only way to solve the problem.

“I believe the situation is now getting clearer, I’m saying this because genuine PDP members and stalwarts will fall in and those who are being used will either go to their sponsors or find another party to go.”