The ward congresses of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo and Osun states ended on rancorous notes on Saturday with factions in the said states holding parallel elections.
In some of the wards visited by our correspondents in Oyo State, parallel elections were held at the same venue, creating an atmosphere of fear and anxiety.
The situation was such that prompted Governor Seyi Makinde to reiterate his calls for unity among party members even as he urged aggrieved members to give room for dispute resolution.
The governor spoke at Ward 11, Ibadan North East Local Government, while addressing the members who had turned out to participate in the election.
Some leaders of the factional groups admitted in different speeches that parallel congresses were held across the state.
A former member of the House of Representatives, Mulikat Akande, while giving a situation report on the election from Isale Ora Ward 6, said: “Parallels (parallel congresses) were held across the state.
“We were on our side and they were on their side at the same venue. That’s the report we are getting in all local government areas.
“We have told our people to be orderly and peaceful. We have already concluded and the results are ready. The security personnel have signed it too.”
A former Commissioner for Environment, Idowu Oyeleke, who is the Zonal Returning Officer for Oyo Federal Constituency in the camp of Governor Makinde, said there was nothing strange about parallel elections, saying that members have the right to hold elections individually or generally
“Each group will submit their result, but we will resolve the matter and address the grievances,” he added.
A former Chief of Staff to Governor Makinde, Chief Bisi Ilaka, in his report of the conduct of the election at Afinni Compound Ward 5, Oyo East, said the exercise was peaceful.
He said: “My ward is peaceful. Materials (were) delivered on time. We used consensus in the four local governments and the stakeholders were called together to address the issue.
“All interests have been accommodated and so there is no parallel congress here. There is no violence in Oyo and I am not worried about the parallel congress.”
Also, a former Deputy Speaker of the State Assembly, Dr Musa Absulwasi, who spoke from the Kinnikinni Ward 6, Saki West said the congress was “peaceful as the party leaders in the local government have resolved in consensus.
“No parallel (congress) here and the Abuja committee members have been here today to see for themselves.”
Another aggrieved member, Bola Akinyemi, said all the aggrieved members resolved to avoid all forms of provocations as they held parallel congresses. He said officials of INEC and security operatives all observed the congress and also certified the results.
He said there were some skirmishes and accused some yet to be identified individuals of chasing his car and that he made to make a detour to deceive them.
He said some suspected political thugs also deflated the tyres of people’s cars around the Molete Bridge, thereby causing initial scare.
Governor Makinde, in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, tasked members of the party to stay united, adding that the time has come for aggrieved members to bring their grievances to the table for amicable resolution.
“For the PDP members in Oyo State, I want to ask them to stay unified because we can do quite a lot in unity.
“And for some who are angry or aggrieved, let them bring their issues to the table, we will address them. Politics is about conflict and resolution of conflict within interaction of people,” he added.
Oyo ward congress peaceful, fair, credible — Shaibu
Speaking earlier, the Chairman, PDP Ward Congress Committee and Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, said the Committee did not notice any parallel congress in the state.
He described the ward congresses as “so peaceful”, saying “so far, so good, all the talks of having a parallel election has not been noticed, and what is key today is that the process has been peaceful.
“No report of any violence anywhere and that is one thing we have been afraid of since yesterday.”
He assured that the party would settle all internal issues among its members amicably.
“Interestingly, all through the night, we were having discussions and phone calls to some of them that felt aggrieved. We will settle our internal issues and I am happy that we are already discussing.
“We are here to do the right thing and to conduct a free, fair and credible congress,” he added.
Adeleke, Ogunbiyi’s camps conduct parallel congresses in Osun
The unsettled crisis within the Peoples Democratic Party, Osun State has resulted in the party holding parallel ward congresses yesterday.
The warring factions within Osun PDP, made up of the camp of the governorship candidate of the PDP during the 2018 governorship election, Senator Ademola Adeleke, and that of the first runner up, Dr Akin Ogunbiyi, had ward congresses conducted separately by Hon. Sunday Bisi and Hon Soji Adagunodo.
The Congress Committee from the National Secretariat, led by Senator Emmanuel Orker-Jev, during a stakeholders’ meeting before the exercise yesterday directed the members to conduct the ward congress and submit the result to them.
Addressing journalists, a group led by Hon Sunday Bisi said: “The panel that came from Abuja led by Senator Emmanuel Orker-Jev with his team met the stakeholders of the party and we had a good deliberation. He admonished us to have a peaceful congress which we all agreed to. We went to the secretariat to distribute materials to electoral officers.
“We are not hijacking the process. As the chairman of the PDP in Osun, I have to make provision for their stay in Osun. We only accommodate the panel that came from the national secretariat.
“There is no faction in PDP. I am the chairman. I have 30 local government chairmen under me with other executives. The leaders of the party are with me, including three members of House of Rep, three members of the house of assembly. So there is no division.
“In any society, we have infinitesimal members which are normal in politics. If you have 95% and 5% are agitating, we are above the pass mark.”
Meanwhile, Hon Soji Adagunodo, who led another group, said: “The process of the congress has been compromised. The National has taken sides with them, because as at last night, the leadership of the party in Abuja wrote to INEC, Police and DSS that the only party chairman they recognised is their faction Sunday Bisi against everything they promised us. How can that panel be fair?
“We are having leadership crisis in the state up till now. We are in court. We are in the Supreme Court. We have two cases at the Appeal Court and three cases at the high court based on the leadership of the party. We have conducted our congress.
Kwara PDP adopts consensus
The Kwara State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday adopted the consensus option in choosing its executives across the 193 wards of the state.
The exercise was conducted in a peaceful atmosphere.
Party members who participated in the peaceful exercise across some of the wards expressed optimism of winning the 2023 general elections.
The exercise, which started late in the state, witnessed large turnout by the members.
At Ajikobi Central Ward, Ilorin West Local Government, the area where the ex-Senate President, Bukola Saraki comes from, party members were seen in their numbers participating in the process of electing their ward executive.
The party hailed members for the successful and peaceful conduct of the ward congress which was held across the 193 wards in the state.
PDP spokesperson, Tunde Ashaolu, said the leadership of the party was impressed by the turnout and conduct of members of the party during the exercise that was monitored by officials from the national secretariat of the party.
Ashaolu said: “As a party that respects due process and is committed to internal democracy, we welcome the choices made by delegates during the ward congress.
“The ward congress is part of several efforts we are taking as a party to strengthen our support base at the grassroots and also build a formidable party that is ready to take over power from the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration.
“We appreciate leaders, elders and relevant stakeholders within the party, especially our national leader, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki (CON), for their contributions towards the successful conduct of the ward congress.
“We also commend party members for demonstrating maturity, understanding and cooperation before, during and after the exercise that took place across the state. This is a reflection of the unity, understanding and respect that dwell within the Kwara PDP family.
“We strongly believe that the same level of understanding and cooperation will be sustained during the forthcoming local government and state congresses.
“The party congratulates the newly elected party officers at the ward levels and urges them to see their election as a call to serve and further contribute to the growth and development of the party.”