Echoes from APC, PDP primaries in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo
One of the most interesting governorship contests expected in the 2023 general elections will be between the incumbent governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the flag bearer of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Abdul Azeez Adediran, also known as Jandor.
In Oyo State, the contest between the incumbent governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde of the ruling PDP and Senator Teslim Folarin, who emerged as APC’s flag bearer in the controversial primary held last Friday, is also going to be interesting.
The uniqueness of the two governorship elections stems from the rivalries and supremacy battle between the parties and the manner their candidates emerged. While Jandor, who was a member of Lagos APC with his Lagos4Lagos Movement recently defected to PDP to secure the ticket, Folarin was also a former member of Oyo PDP where he once attained the position of Majority Leader in the Senate before he joined APC.
Expectations are high among party members that both Folarin and Jandor will change the narrative of governance in Oyo and Lagos if they win the election. They are considered the only formidable forces to rally votes against incumbents in their various states.
Pundits said, just as Lagos and Oyo states are crucial to APC, so are they to the PDP because of their economic and political strength in Nigeria.
Recall that all governorship primaries were held between Tuesday and Thursday last week but because of the peculiarity of the Oyo APC, the primary was postponed from Thursday to Friday.
IN Ogun, the 2023 governorship contest might also be tough except that the leading opposition has been enmeshed in crisis resulting in two factional candidates.
Intrigues in Lagos APC primary
GOVERNOR Sanwo-Olu had an easy ride to victory, as his two major opponents, Wale Oluwo, a former Commissioner under erstwhile Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and Abdul-Ahmed Mustapha, an ex-permanent secretary in the state, were reported to have failed the screening and were barred from entering the Mobolaji Johnson Stadium Onikan, venue of the primary.
Oluwo, who was alleged to be playing the cards of his former boss, Ambode, cried foul, saying the primary, was deliberately manipulated to favour the incumbent.
Sanwo-Olu polled 1,170 to win the primary, while Oluwo and Mustapha are still considering the option of challenging their exclusion.
However, Jandor won the PDP ticket following the withdrawal of four other contestants: Olanrewaju Jim-Kamal, Adedeji Doherty, Ade Dosunmu, and Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour from the exercise. But David Kolawole Vaughan, who polled 20 votes at the primary, slugged it out with Jandor, who got 679 votes.
Dr Adetokunbo Pearse and Chief Wale Gomez, who won the party’s Lagos Central senatorial, had earlier withdrawn from the governorship race because they are convinced that Jandor is the best Lagos PDP can use to wrest power from APC.
According to the returning officer, Emmanuel Ogidi, 775 ad-hoc delegates were supposed to participate in the primary. However, 709 of them were accredited.
“The total number of accredited voters is 709 and Olajide Adediran got 679 votes, David Kolawole Vaughan had 20, and we had 10 voided votes,” he said while declaring the result.
But political observers still believe that it would be an uphill task for PDP to unseat the political structure of the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in Lagos State, which Governor Sanwo-Olu represents.
To forge a united front, which has been absent in Lagos PDP since 1999, former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George, organised a conference where he preached peace and harmony, as major factors that will assist the party to win election in Lagos next year.
How soon the party puts its differences behind and works as a team is what observers are waiting to see.
How Folarin emerged at APC controversial primary
Although the lawmaker representing Oyo Central District, Senator Teslim Folarin has been declared the winner of the Oyo State governorship ticket of the APC in a controversial primary, it is not yet Uhuru for him as other members of the party are kicking.
The Secretary of the Primary Committee, who served as the Returning Officer, Dr Abdullahi Abubarkar Kuso, sd Folarin polled 954 votes in a contest that ran late into Friday night at the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, formerly known as Liberty Stadium, Oke Ado, Ibadan. 11 votes were declared void.
However, two aspirants, Chief Adeniyi Akintola and the 2019 APC candidate in Oyo, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, were not at the primary. Three other aspirants, Dr Azeez Adeduntan, Akeem Alao and Akeem Agbaje were present and participated in the exercise. Former Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu was also at the primary.
Chief Akintola had on Thursday when the exercise was postponed after some irreconcilable issues regarding the delegates list staged a parallel primary where he claimed to have emerged as a candidate of the party. He also submitted a petition to the Primary Appeal Committee, claiming that he had emerged the winner at a primary, which held at Trans Amusement Park, Ibadan, on Thursday, which was the day the national secretariat fixed for the election.
Other scores, as announced by Kuso are Akeem Alao, 6 votes; Adebayo Adelabu, 327 votes; Dr Azeez Adeduntan, 2 votes; Akeem Agbaje 15 votes and Adeniyi Akintola nil votes.
The election, which started around 8:45 p.m. lasted barely 45 minutes, as all the Senatorial districts were organised to vote simultaneously.
Officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Security agencies, among other stakeholders, monitored the primary election.
Some of the delegates left the main bowl of the stadium shortly after casting their votes due to the late start of the process, while others waited.
The announcement of the winner by the Chairman of the Committee Senator Tokinbo Afikuyomi, elicited wild jubilation as delegates stormed the field to celebrate and embrace the winner.
The election earlier fixed for Thursday could not hold after the Senator Afikuyomi-led committee pointed out security reasons.
To prevent a repeat of Thursday’s situation where the stadium was invaded by a mob, the committee in collaboration with the aspirants and party leadership earlier held an accreditation exercise for the delegates at Jogor Event Centre, a few minutes’ drive from the stadium.
Earlier on Thursday, there were controversies about the authenticity of the delegates list to be used for the primary when the members of the Committee met the aspirants in a closed-door meeting at Premier Hotel, Ibadan.
Addressing delegates and other stakeholders before commencement, Senator Afikuyomi thanked them including, delegates, aspirants, security operatives, media, and national leadership of the party for the overwhelming support that made the process go as planned.
In his victory speech, Folarin commended the delegates for their efforts, saying, his main task is to get the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Governor Seyi Makjnde out of office in 2023.
He enjoined other aspirants to stay in the party, so as to work with him in the interest of APC and the people of Oyo, who are yearning for change.
He expressed readiness to visit other aspirants, who may be aggrieved over the outcome of the primary, noting that the party must remain united to defeat PDP in 2023.
However, there are strong indications that some members of the Progressive Camp in Oyo APC are likely to defect to another platform following Folarin’s victory.
One of them disclosed to The Guardian that the national leadership of APC has a lot to do to pacify the aggrieved members; otherwise, those who might decide to remain are likely going to work against Folarin’s victory at the polls.
Folarin will now face the incumbent governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde, who defeated his only opponent and former Deputy Governor of Oyo, Azeem Gbolarunmi, in the PDP governorship primary.
Most observers in Oyo believe that Folarin is the only politician that can challenge Makinde, in terms of capacity to mobilise voters and resources for the election.
But as it is, the incumbent appears to still have an edge due to the infighting in Oyo APC.
An aide to Folarin told The Guardian that his principal is doing everything possible to appease the aggrieved, saying, “The process of reconciliation has started almost immediately.”
Ogun PDP parallel primaries strengthen Abiodun’s chances
AMID renewed crises, the Ogun State chapter of PDP has produced two factional governorship candidates for the 2023 general elections.
A former House of Representatives member, Hon. Oladipupo Adebutu was elected in the primary conducted by a faction, while another faction elected a former spokesman to the Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign, Chief Segun Sowunmi, as the party’s flag bearer.
The parallel primaries inevitably set the stage for another round of legal tussle, which is likely to haunt the party in the run-up to the governorship contest in the state.
It was the primary that produced Sowunmi as a candidate that was first held at the NUJ secretariat, Oke-Ilewo, Abeokuta.
Chairman of the electoral committee, Abayomi Daniel, who announced Sowunmi as the winner, declared that he polled 554 votes to defeat his closest rival, Otunba Jimi Lawal, who scored 30 votes, while Adebutu polled 15 votes.
According to Daniel, a total number of 778 delegates were accredited; of which 702 cast their votes, and three votes were voided.
He said, “By the power conferred on me by the national leadership of our great party as the chairman electoral committee of the PDP governorship primary election in Ogun State, I hereby declare Hon. Segun Sowunmi as the winner of the election, having polled the highest number of votes and he is hereby returned and elected.”
In his acceptance speech, Sowunmi said his victory was the beginning of a new dawn in the PDP and a sure step towards a defining moment in the state.
He called on other aspirants to work with him towards securing victory for the party in the 2023 polls.
Sowunmi said, “I humbly accept the nomination as a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ogun State. I thank all the delegates; I thank all relevant authorities and the security agencies for their efforts. I am particularly impressed by the orderly manner of the primaries. I wish to extend an olive branch of peace and camaraderie to my brothers’ fellow aspirants.”
But in the other primary election held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, the PDP electoral panel headed by Prof Akase Sorkaa declared Adebutu as the governorship candidate.
According to him, Adebutu polled 714 votes to defeat Lawal, Sowunmi and Abodunrin John Abimbola, all of whom did not record any votes.
Sorkaa disclosed that a total of 715 delegates were accredited for the exercise, 714 votes were cast while one vote was voided.
However, the exercise, which started at 5:00 p.m. and ended at about 11:30 p.m., was marred by disagreement over the delegate’s list to be adopted for election.
Sporadic gunshots also rented the air outside the designated hall, as loyalists of two leading gubernatorial aspirants, Adebutu and Lawal, engaged one another in a shouting match, which disrupted the exercise.
In the ensuing disagreement over the use of the delegates list from the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, it was gathered that some loyalists of Lawal raised an objection, claiming the list was fake.
One of Lawal aides, Austin Oniyokor, who brought some documents that claimed were certified by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), insisted that the primary election must not take place unless the said document is adopted.
This development led to shouting matches between rival supporters, who also engaged in pushing and shoving.
The drama lasted for over 30 minutes, with INEC officials temporarily relocated from the hall while security operatives battled to restore order.
For the APC primary, a group, Civil Society Organisation led by Ayodele Oludiran, had petitioned the national body of the party, seeking the disqualification of the incumbent governor, Dapo Abiodun.
In a swift reaction, the Ogun State chapter of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), dismissed the petition as spurious, not genuine and a calculated attempt to disparage the person of the governor.