Obasanjo Blocks Lagos PDP Campaign Funds
LAGOS, March 23, (THEWILL) - The campaign of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate of Lagos State, Dr. Adegboyega Dosunmu has suffered a major setback following an alleged advise from former President Olusegun Obasanjo to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to withhold campaign funds from party leaders in the state.
An impeccable source in the party, who does not want his identity public told THEWILL that Obasanjo gave the advice on the ground that the state party chieftains “are not cohesive enough to win the next gubernatorial election scheduled to come up on April 16, 2011.”
THEWILL gathered that Obasanjo also held a view that the party leaders in the state could not be trusted with money, citing a former PDP National Deputy Chairman, Chief Olabode George, who he said failed to manage a colossal N3 billion allocated to Lagos PDP during the 2007 general elections.
But on his return from Benin Republic at the weekend, President Jonathan had held a series of meetings with South-West PDP leaders, working out modalities to win the general elections in the region and settling internal conflicts.
The source who was also at the meeting said, President Jonathan promised to release an undisclosed amount to the state chapter of the party, as national party leaders were still working out the sum to be released to the state chapter for the elections.
But not all party chieftains in the state attended the meeting; a few chose to boycott as a way of showing their disapproval following the presence of Chief Bode George, who just completed his 2-year prison sentence at the Kirikiri Maximum Prison.
Those who boycotted the meeting include Senator Oluseye Ogunlewe; Senator Wahab Dosunmu; and Dr. Yomi Finnih.
THEWILL also gathered that a few eminent members of the party had vowed not to have dealings with Dosunmu if George, the former convict continues to parade himself as Lagos State PDP leader.
Ogunlewe acknowledged to THEWILL in a chat that he got an invitation to attend the meeting, but declined to honour the invitation because George would be in attendance.
Ogunlewe, who was former Minister of Works under the Obasanjo administration, said the manner in which George “is still parading himself as the leader of the party in Lagos State has made some PDP elders decide not to attend any meeting that includes him.
“We do not like the way Bode George is parading himself as if nothing has happened. We have told him to take the back stage. It is unethical for him to be in the forefront and it is not good for our country and the upcoming generation.
“We are not against Bode George. Any other person can have his own views, but these are mine and those of some of the Lagos PDP elders,” the politician told THEWILL.
He noted that the party’s governorship candidate “has problems securing the support of chieftains and some elders of the party, because of the conduct of George. Dosunmu has been making efforts to reach some of us but you know that he has a very overbearing boss (George) and the situation may be difficult for him,” Ogunlewe further said.
On whether some issues within the party would be resolved before the election, Ogunlewe explained that the PDP “is a political party and the country’s ruling party. We have a way of meeting with the President. We will see him soon.”
Analysts are of the opinion that the PDP will find it tough to defeat popular incumbent Governor of the state, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola in April’s Lagos State Governorship election.
The PDP has not won a governorship election in Lagos since 1999 when the military restored democratic rule.