IN OGUN, PDP, ACN HOLD THE ACE
In spite of the intimidating array of prominent politicians in Ogun State, they are not fairly dispersed in the 63 registered political parties. The ruling Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) commands most of the heavyweights including ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. This has spurned a chilling intractable crisis that dovetailed into a dramatic split into two factions.
Between 1999 and 2003, the state was under the firm grip of the Alliance for Democracy(AD), the forebear of the Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN). When it was disloged in 2003, an unending stream of political bigwigs began to flow into the party. The movement, to some political observers was a distortion of the acclaimed political bent of the state, which has since pre-independent days professed 'Awoism,' the social welfarist thrust of the political teachings of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who hailed from the state.
Soon, the largeness of the PDP became its strength and dictated the pace of the 2007 elections which it won. For now, it seems the glee is over for the party of the umbrella. Strange fellows who yesterday were united in the pursuit of 'mainstream politics' are at each others. The division in the party is so sharp and deep, that falling over the cliff is just a step away. Governor Gbenga Daniel, only a few weeks ago was just on the brink of quitting the party. Although, he agrees that things are no longer at ease, he contends that what is going on in the party are 'mere acts of indiscipline,' which should be punished for the party to regain its strength.
With the party parading two lists of candidates, the obstinacy of the two factions, may have provided a ready menu for other parties. In this regard, the ACN comes handy, which incidentally is having its own harvest of crises, though on a smaller scale.
Alleged imposition of candidates in the party has led to raging violence, confusion, which have greatly weakened its internal cohesion and structure. The party during its primaries held at the state secretariat witnessed pandemonium, with members confronting its leadership decision. Son of the former governor, Mr. Olusegun Osoba, Olumide, emerged the party's consensus candidate for the House of Representatives for Odeda/Abeokuta North/Obafemi Owode federal constitutency against Mr. Jamiu Lekan Abiola, son of the late Chief MKO Abiola. Lekan has since left the party for the Congress for Progressive Change(CPC).
The protest began when the state chairman of the party, Alhaji Tajudeen Bello, announced that the party was not ready for primaries, but instead, a consensus arrangement. The party had earlier reaped from the PDP crisis receiving about 500 defectors including the Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Pelumi Olusola, and two lawmakers, Hon Remi Hazzan, and Adijat Adeleye.
Conversely, the ACN appears to have a tightly kit governorship race. Its standardbearer, Mr. Ibikunle Amosun, was elected a senator on the platform of the PDP in 2003. During the 2003 campaigns, he and Daniel worked together before parting ways. Amosun defected to the All Nigeria Peoples Party(ANPP), where he sought unsuccessfully to dislodge Daniel in the 2007 elections. He joined the ACN last year and grabbed its governorship ticket, leaving the ANPP in dire straits.
While the two governorship candidates produced by two factions, Major-Gen. Tunji Olurin (rtd) and Gboyega Isiaka are creating more confusion in the PDP, the ACN appears to be getting its acts in order and threatening to pull the rug off the PDP feet.
While the PDP and ACN are embroiled in their courage of convictions, they are steadied and encouraged by the fact that the other parties can't pose threats to them. A former lawmaker in the state, Hon. Abiodun Olomo told Daily Sun, that the near absence of these parties in the state has made the two parties recalcitrant. 'They are taking the people for granted. Is it not shameful that with only a few weeks to the elections, they are not doing much to woo the electorate.
Instead, they are fighting within their parties.'
Conventionally, the PDP candidates are from Ogun West senatorial district, which has never produced a governor while Amosun of the ACN is from Ogun Central. In the words of Yinka Adegbenro, a political analyst, 'Honestly, I don't envy the PDP because they are going into the race with a divided house. I pity them.'