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DEFEATED OSUN PDP ASPIRANTS ACCUSE PARTY LEADERS OF FAVOURITISM

By NBF News
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PROTESTS and complaints against party leadership have continued to trail the primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State as two Senatorial aspirants blamed the party's structure for their defeat.

The aspirants, a serving senator, Simeon Olasunkanmi Oduoye and a retired Assistant Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Prince Francis Fadahunsi, said they lost last weekend's primaries in Osun Central and East senatorial districts respectively, due to alleged favouritism showed to some candidates by party leaders in the state.

While reacting to the outcome of the primaries held in Osogbo and Ilesa centres, the duo described the exercise as a sham and a mockery of democracy.

Oduoye lost to former governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola while Fadahunsi lost to the Senate Committee Chairman on Appropriation, Senator Iyiola Omisore. Senator Isiaka Adetunji representing Osun West Senatorial District was given the ticket unopposed.

Although the election was held under a peaceful atmosphere, the aggrieved aspirants faulted the role played by the party's leadership, saying they gave tacit support and preference to Oyinlola and Omisore.

Oduoye said the primaries conducted in Osun Central were a sham, which would not help the party in 2011 general elections.

On his part, Fadahunsi said he contested against all odds, including the state party executive, which was in firm control of some 'anointed' candidates.

'I did not contest the Osun East Senatorial seat with Senator Omisore. I contested against the party's structure, which was used to favour some candidates. The party leaders in the state were dishing out instructions to delegates on who to vote for even while we were on the field,' he said.

He noted that contrary to the rule, no proper screening of delegates was carried out, thus allowing all manner of people to infiltrate.

'The arrangement made it difficult for aspirants to identify the delegates as anybody can answer any name in the list of delegates brought to the venue of the election. Though the delegates' list was prepared since 2008, some of them have died while others have also decamped to other political parties,' he added.

Fadahunsi noted that the result of the primaries was not the popular wish of the people at the grassroots.

'However, I wish the PDP well in the state, especially in Ijesaland. The party should have looked for candidates with grassroots support because the grassroots is very important and not a candidate favoured by the leaders. The PDP needs the votes of the people,' he said.

He thanked the electorate for the support given to him during his campaign tour of the 10 local councils in Ife/Ijesa Senatorial zone as well as those who voted for him in the election.

He pledged that he would not let them down whenever he has the opportunity to serve them, adding that he would ensure that the dividends of democracy, which should come to the area, would not be allowed to be taken to another place.