Anxiety has gripped members of the Osun opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the forthcoming congress of the party, which will produce a new set of ward, local government and state leaderships of the party.
The congress will greatly shape or misshape the party for the 2018 governorship election, and the choice of state chairmanship will assuage the aggrieved members of the party.
Investigation by CityMirrorNews has revealed that former members of the PDP who are currently in one party or the other (especially the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Labour Party, LP) are so much interested in the coming congress.
It is believed that if the PDP could make the right choice of state chairman in the congress, a larger per cent of the former members of the party are ready to come back, while the dormant members of the party are also ready to be active.
But as a normal contest, the majority will always have their say, irrespective of logicality or illogicality of their choice in the congress.
The congress starts on April 23 with ward Congress, followed by local government, then the state congress on May 7. Three delegates per wards are to participate in the state congress.
The congress is between two factions: that of governorship candidate of the party in 2014 governorship election, Senator Iyiola Omisore and those that claim to want to restructure the party.
Nine chairmanship aspirants had signified their intention to contest the chairmanship position in the congress.
The aspirants are: Hon. Soji Adagunodo, Dr Bayo Faforiji, Barr. Sunday Ojo-Williams, Hon. Niyi Oyeleye, Hon. Tayo Omojowogbe, Rev Bunmi Jenyo, Hon Sola Ladeinde, Hon. Bade Falade and Hon. Rasaq Babatunde.
But seven of the aspirants had stepped down for Dr Bayo Faforiji after a marathon meeting with Omisore in his house in Ibadan, Oyo state in March. Twelve chieftains of the PDP were said to have attended the meeting.
As at the time of filing this report, Adagunodo and Faforiji are the known state chairmanship candidates for the congress.
Faforiji is from Iperindo, Atakumosa East Local Government of Osun state. Adagunodo is a prince from Ilowa town in Obokun Local Government of the state.
Omisore, according to members of the party, had attempted to impose one of his followers (Faforiji) on the party to prepare ground for his 2018 ambition, but a new forum within the party decided to counter the move, believing the party needed fresh ideas
“It was time to allow fresh ideas to thrive in the party and sell it to the state electorate ahead of the 2018 gubernatorial election”, the party members cried.
But the Assistant State Organising Secretary of the PDP, Mr Funmiso Babarinde said: “There is no faction against Omisore in Osun PDP as it stands today. He is a leader and a former governorship candidate of the PDP.
“But because he has decided to openly support a particular chairmanship aspirant in his wisdom, which he has the right, that makes it to look like there is a faction within Osun PDP towards the coming state congress.
“As an insider and a state executive member, I can boldly say there is no faction. What we have is that it is either you are with Otunba Omisore’s adopted candidate or you are with the other person. One cannot be sitting on the fence as a stakeholder and after the congress one man will emerge as chairman and the party will move on as one big family.”
Urging members of the PDP to continuing working for the unity and development of the party, Babarinde said the congress would afford them the opportunity to restructure the party and build it to taste.
Babarinde said: “PDP members should see this coming congress as opportunity to redeem the lost glory of the party by putting people with integrity and good personality in position. They should do it in a rancour free manner. Peace is the basic rule for meaningful progress and development even in a political party.”
A leader of the PDP in Egbedore Local Government, Alhaji Tunde Sanusi called on chieftains and leaders of the party ensure that the outcome of the congress does not divide the party, saying that the party must come out stronger after the congress.
According to Sanusi, both Adagunodo and Faforiji are good party members and that the emergence of one should not cause dispute among their followers.
He said: “The two chairmanship candidates are very good party members, but as a leader of the party, I should not have favourite, and even if I have, it should be within me. What we need in PDP is an experience party member and a grassroots mobilize who have been in the party consistently.
“We need somebody who is reliable and have credibility and integrity. We need somebody that is competence to rebuild our party. Above all, we need somebody that is loved by the party members. “
Some of the party members have resorted to pleading with aggrieved and members of the two factions to sheath their swords after the congress, so as to have a formidable opposition party against the ruling APC.
The outcome of the congress will determine the formidability or vulnerability of the PDP in the state.
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