The fortunes of the Osun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may take a turn for the worse as several prominent leaders of the party are set to defect with thousands of their supporters from the party in the aftermath of the governorship primary held in the state, last Saturday.
The PDP governorship primary ended in a dispute between Senator Ademola Adeleke, representing Osun West Senatorial election in the National Assembly, who was declared the winner of the exercise and a business mogul, Dr Akin Ogunbiyi, who came second.
Saturday Tribune exclusively gathered that, barring any unforeseen circumstance, the aggrieved PDP leaders may pitch their tents with a new political party in a renewed bid to dislodge the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the State Government House in the governorship election, scheduled for September 22.
The decision to dump the main opposition party in the state was reached at an all- night meeting held by the leaders of the aggrieved group at the residence of a former senator in Osogbo, the state capital, on Thursday.
A reliable source that was part of the meeting but preferred to be anonymous, further disclosed that the leaders were embittered by what he alleged was the apparent partisanship of the national leadership of the party on who flies the PDP flag as its governorship candidate.
The meeting was said to have in attendance seven of the 11 governorship aspirants in the primary and was also attended by two members of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), some former members of the National Assembly and the state legislature, former chairmen of local government areas, former commissioners and 13 local government chairmen of the party.
According to the source, the BOT members of the party from Osun State were said to be particularly disappointed with the decision of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) to forward the name of Senator Adeleke to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) when there was a pending appeal against the outcome of the July 21 primary election.
“We are, indeed, sad that those who have no stake in the affairs of Osun State have decided against the wishes of majority of our party members. They have decided to manipulate the process of picking a candidate in favour of a man who lacks popular support and is, indeed, the least qualified of all aspirants.
“They are trading off the future of the party and that of the state and we will not sit back and allow sink with them. One would have thought that the Ekiti [July 14 governorship] election should have taught PDP some lessons but, sadly, it has not.
“We have decided to take our destiny in our own hands and they [the PDP national leadership] will be hearing from us in the next few days,” the source further said.
He indicated that a line of discussion has been opened with three political parties on the exact destination of the aggrieved PDP group, adding a contact committee had been mandated to report back by Wednesday, next week.
“While some of us felt it was expedient to join forces with one major party as an alternate platform, the majority felt other political party options should be explored. This was what necessitated the formation of the contact committee,” he disclosed.
In the same vein, the ruling APC is not free from the gale of defection as some prominent members of the party in the state have already found their ways into the fold of the Action Democratic Party (ADP).
The APC defectors into ADP include some former cabinet members of Governor Rauf Aregbesola; one of the staunch stakeholders who supported the gubernatorial ambition of the former Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chief Moshood Adeoti; Senator Bayo Salami and 11 aggrieved members of Osun APC State Working Committee (SWC).
Apart from Adeoti who, along with his followers, moved into ADP after failing to get the APC ticket, former cabinet members of the Aregbesola administration, who also moved to ADP include the former state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Sunday Akere and his counterpart in the Ministry of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Dr Wale Bolorunduro.
Others said to have concluded plans to defect from the Osun APC include 27 local government chairmen of the party and a group identified as Forum of 332 Councillors in Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).