The leadership of the Osun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has decided to dump its two major contenders for the governorship ticket to enable lasting peace in the party preparatory to next year’s governorship election in the state.
Daily Sun authoritatively learnt last weekend that the party was considering sending emissaries to the former deputy governor of the state, Senator Iyiola Omisore and his major contender for the party’s ticket, Alhaji Fatai Akinbade to drop their ambition.
Akinbade, a former secretary to the state government (SSG) in the administration of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, was dropped from the cabinet of his boss due to his governorship ambition. On his part, Omisore, who is a former chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation after his stint as the state deputy governor between 1999 and 2002, was said to have been the major financier of party with the sole purpose of getting the party’s ticket.
The two politicians had polarised the party into two major factions preparatory to the 2011 elections before the court truncated the Oyinlola administration and pronounced Mr. Rauf Aregbesola as the authentic winner of the 2007 governorship election in the state. With the 2014 elections drawing nearer, Osun PDP was said to be in a serious dilemma as regard the two contestants and preparing the party for a serious combat with the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
As a way out of the logjam and deciding who would fly the party’s flag in 2014, the party was considering appealing to the two contenders to drop their ambition. “The party has agreed to dump the two politicians to enable peace reign in the party and allow for internal reintegration of party members. The party cannot afford another divided house at the polls again,” a chieftain of the party, who would not want to be mentioned confided in Daily Sun.
The source disclosed that a serious search for an acceptable candidate had commenced in earnest. He said the party was considering two factors, which were religion and acceptability, in picking its candidate. Though Akinbade is a Muslim from Osun Central Senatorial District, he was said to have become a layback and lacked the financial muscle to execute the governorship project. Omisore, who is acknowledged to have a deep pocket for the race and a formidable structure, was said to be unacceptable to stakeholders and power brokers in the state due to what the source described as “his tough nature.”
Already, two other chieftains of the party, Oluwole Oke, a former chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Security and former minister of youths development, Olasunkanmi Akinlabi, were said to have declared intention to vie for the governorship position. But the party was said to be shopping for a strong Muslim candidate, who could also appeal to the large Muslim populace in the state and be at par with the incumbent Governor Aregbesola. Daily Sun also gathered that PDP was also considering the zonal arrangement in the state as Osun Central produced both Chief Bisi Akande and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola while the incumbent governor hailed from Osun East.
“The party is very careful on who to pick. The candidate must not only appeal to the people of the state but must also be able to be a strong alternative to the incumbent governor. It is no overstatement that Osun people are fed up with the Aregbesola-led ACN administration. The workers are wearied; the teachers are not happy; the judiciary is regretting; ditto the traditional rulers. So, we have to put our house together and get an all-round acceptance candidate for the job,” another source confided in Daily Sun.