Three different factions of Ogun State Chapter of Peoples Democratic Party yesterday held parallel ward congresses into the 236 wards in the state to elect their ward executives.
The three factions are those of the Senator representing Ogun East at the National Assembly, Buruji Kashamu; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and a member of the green chambers representing Remo Federal Constituency, Ladi Adebutu.
Nine members of the 14-man State Executive Council of the party had, on Friday, threatened to organise a parallel congress alleging that the leadership of the party had hijacked their functions.
The nine members led by the State Organising Secretary, Folashade Finali alleged that the Chairman of the party, Engineer Adebayo Dayo and his Secretary, Semiu Sodipo were running a one-man-show without carrying others along.
To make real their threats, while the faction led by the Chairman held their congresses, that of the nine executive members also held theirs separately while that of Bankole also held their own.
Our Correspondent who monitored the process in Abeokuta, Sagamu and Ikenne local governments observed that different groups were seen at different areas within the same ward conducting their elections.
In Sagamu Ward 7 in Sagamu local governments, ward 3 of Iperu Remo and other areas in Abeokuta, the state capital, the congresses were, though held separately very closely to each other, they were largely peaceful.
While speaking with Journalists at the party’s secretariat, the secretary of the party explained that the congresses were conducted by a committee approved by the National Working Committee of the party and as the State Working Committee has no role to play in it.
Sodipo who assured that other factional congresses will not be recognised by the committee alleged that all other nine members of the executive have left for either Social Democratic Party, SDP or the All Progressives Congress, APC towards the build up to the last general elections.
He said, “I don’t think it will be possible for anyone to conduct parallel congress or will be necessary because we have provided enough for everybody and regulations and the guidelines, the constitution will not allow that. The process is very simple and very clear.
“A committee has come from Abuja and they are moving round and I don’t think they will recognise that or attend to any other congresses except the one they are conducting. Anything of such will just be a pocket of small small thing here and there and might not worth talking about.
“You know build up to the last election, many of our officers left the party and left for SDP, some of them left for APC and we are not happy with what happened but they left. If you leave the party and you want to come back there’s a process laid down by the constitution.
“All the nine executive members left for APC and SDP, if they want to come back, there’s a process through their wards. It is easier to join PDP but wanting to come back after leaving PDP is cumbersome and they must be ready to follow the process.”
In her reaction, Filani who referred to herself as a former Organising Secretary explained that the congresses conducted by Dayo-led exco was in contempt of court order.
She also alleged the national leadership of the party of bias arguing that despite the court order, the National Secretary of the party has refused to release forms already paid for to the faction.
She said, “Despite the pronouncement of the court order regarding the congresses to be held today, the Bayo-led exco still continued with the congresses which I believe is totally in contempt of the court.
“I want the world to know that the National has refused our people from receiving their forms which they have paid for, we have receipts to show that they have paid for these forms and by barring us, it’s a way of saying they are siding with Bayo-led exco which I believe is totally wrong for the party of our nature to be doing something like that.
“We have conducted a valid congress, the result will be out together as is being collated now and will be submitted to the national despite the fact that the national secretary has refused to give us the forms we have paid for.”
While responding to the allegation of abandoning the party, Filani said, “I think the imagination of whosoever is saying that is running wild, I am a full time PDP member, I have always been PDP and I have remained in PDP and I have not for one day left for PDP.
“In the last election, we participated fully and if you go and check the returning officer for Remo North, I was the returning officer for Prince Buruji Kashamu and Hon Ladi Adebutu and even for the assemblies; I don’t know how I would go to another party after the elections.”
Speaking with the journalists, the Chairman of the Congresses, Muhammed El-Yakub, said he wasn’t aware of any parallel congress and that he only acted in line with the directive of the national leadership of the party.
Earlier on Friday during a press conference, the aggrieved exco members alleged that since the Dayo-led state exco had sidelined them in the run-up to the ward congresses, they too would go ahead to conduct parallel ones.
The State Publicity Secretary, Waliu Oladipupo who spoke on behalf of the aggrieved members accused the state chairman and secretary of the party of acting against the directives of the PDP National Secretariat extending their tenure beyond the February 28 expiry date.
Oladipupo who was flanked by the party’s Deputy State Chairman, Elder Sunday Soledolu; State Vice Chairman (Ogun Central), Elder Isiaka Amusa; the state Organising Secretary, Dr. Folashade Filani; the State Women Leader, Alhaja Nike Odulola; State Youth Leader, Alhaji Taofeek Osundara; State Auditor, Ibukun Ojosipe; State Treasurer, Murtala Adegoke and State Legal Adviser, Boladale Wasiu Sanni argued that their faction of the exco in the state formed a quorum in line with the party’s constitution.
He stressed that they would not be part of the ward congresses to be conducted by the five remaining members of the Bayo Dayo-led state exco of the PDP.
“These are nine out of 14 state working committee member in Ogun empowered to carry out the day-to-day running of the party according to the constitution of the party. But from the situation on the ground now, the nine of us have been excluded. Only the chairman and the secretary have been in charge. We have been excluded from functioning in our various offices. Our offices and functions have been totally hijacked by the state chairman and the secretary.
“We have therefore distanced ourselves from tomorrow’s (today’s) congresses because we have been sidelined,” he said.