– How N700m Jonathan largesse tears Ogun PDP apart
Apparently suffering from post-elections loss chronic fever, where PDP, which previously prides itself as the largest political party in Africa performed abysmally low both at the federal and state levels, the party leadership, especially in Ogun state has been throwing missiles at one another.
ENCOMIUM Weekly can reliably inform that the sudden marriage at the heat of the 2015 general elections between the camps of former governor of Ogun state, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Southwest chieftain of the party and now the Senator-elect for Ogun East senatorial district, Prince Buruji Kashamu has finally hit the rocks.
It could be recalled, OGD who had already taken over Labour Party in the state was persuaded by the Presidency and some PDP leaders to ditch the party and move his teeming supporters across the length and breadth of the state back to PDP.
While about 90 percent of OGD supporters settled for the new move, very few headed by Mr Sina Kawonishe, his erstwhile Commissioner for Information and Strategy and a governorship aspirant then, turned down the offer, and stayed back in Labour Party.
Shortly after the resolution, a mega rally was held at the PDP state secretariat in Abeokuta to welcome OGD and his loyalists back to PDP.
But few weeks after the event, the unholy marriage between the two camps became shaky as they failed to agree on how to pick the party governorship candidate as well as the national and state Assembly positions.
While OGD and other stakeholders in the party like Sen. Jubril Martins-Kuye, Hon Dimeji Bankole, Sen. Lekan Mustapha, Chief Sule Onabiyi preferred a sharing arrangement which will appeal to all the camps, Buruji Kashamu insisted for party primaries at all levels to produce the candidates.
The camp of OGD was reported to have faulted Kashamu’s approach to issues, premising their fear on the fact that the party structure as at then was solely in hands. As it will be practically impossible for anybody to beat the choice of Kashamu should the then party structure be allowed to conduct the primaries.
After weeks of high level intrigues and failed reconciliation, Buruji Kashamu eventually had his way. He was alleged to have handpicked all the candidates who eventually emerged at the primaries right from the governorship to the national and state Assemblies.
ENCOMIUM Weekly further gathered that other aspirants in other camps like Dimeji Bankole, Kayode Amusan, Titi Oseni thereafter vowed to sink the boat of the party at least to teach Prince Buruji Kashamu a lesson for his alleged one way attitude.
At a peace meeting initiated by OGD with President Goodluck Jonathan which held at the State House in Marina, Lagos, few weeks to the last election, the aggrieved aspirants who said they were short-changed in the primaries after spending millions of naira on the election openly told Mr President they will never work for any of the party candidates in Ogun state apart from the presidential election.
They were alleged to have been brazenly schemed out in the primaries without recourse to party rules and regulations.
Efforts by Mr President to convince them to team up with the party candidates in the interest of the party also fell on deaf ears.
As if these moves were not enough, a similar one initiated by the party governorship candidate, Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka also hit the rocks, as most of the key party people declined to support him.
Prince Isiaka, popularly addressed as GNI in the Ogun political circle, was reported to have met his erstwhile boss, Otunba Gbenga Daniel severally over same issue. But OGD, who believed he had a similar dose from Buruji over Ogun East senatorial district ticket, reluctantly agreed to bail GNI out of the perceived political mess.
As a result of the ‘fight to finish’ within the party, virtually all the candidates worked at cross purposes with no unity of purpose.
It was only few days to election that OGD eventually made good his promise as he campaigned openly with GNI, Buruji and other candidates of the party in Ogun East. The moves then, some party faithful believed, was a medication after death as the damage had already been done.
Apart from this, another major issue which nearly set the party ablaze was the N700m the party received for the election from the National Working Committee of PDP.
The said committee headed by Segun Seriki which had the backing of OGD was said to have handled the disbursement of the fund, while Prince Kashamu was reportedly given a part of the money.
Kashamu was said to have argued that the Seriki group didn’t do justice to the fund, alleging that while some party leaders were working hard on the field for the success of the party, others were busy sharing money at will.
A reliable source within the party told ENCOMIUM Weekly the N700 million party largesse actually led to the face-off between Prince Kashamu and Segun Seriki in Abuja recently.
While Seriki accused Kashamu of attempting to abduct him over the money, Kashamu, in an interview recently said, “I think Segun Seriki was hallucinating. How can he claim that I attacked him? Over what? If I am to deal with him, I do not need to do it personally. But I guess it was his bad deeds that got him running when he saw me.
“The thing is any time he sees me, just like he did at Transcorp last week, he will be genuflecting and hailing me. On this occasion, I told him to get out of my way and stop genuflecting before me while he speaks ill of me and work against me behind. Of course, while I was saying this I was walking in the company of some friends. He then took to his heels. So, I was surprised when I read he claimed that I attacked him and that I planned to kidnap him. It is all “ziggy”.
Meanwhile, loyalists of both OGD and Kashamu have been having sleepless nights as they have resorted to throwing of missiles on social media. Those loyal to OGD are again playing up Kashamu’s alleged drug case and extradition palaver to unsettle their target.
The OGD’s camp also alleged that Buruji Kashamu adamant posture in refusing to allow credible and well acceptable candidates were fielded in the last elections for his selfish interest contributed largely to the party’s poor performance in Ogun state.
Kashamu was reported to have fielded weak candidates who were relatively unknown in Ogun political circle.
But the Kashamu’s camp alleged, OGD reportedly sold out to APC in the last election. And therefore worked against the party’s interest.
It was alleged OGD did this to have a soft-landing over his EFCC case as well as a bait to influence Ogun state governor, Sen
Ibikunle Amosun return his multi-million naira Golf Resort Hotel, Abeokuta, which was seized and a subject of litigation in the ongoing case against him by the anti-graft commission.
When contacted on phone, Comrade Ife Kayode, the spokesman of the GNI Campaign Organisation denied it was his principal that was behind the attack on Otunba Gbenga Daniel.
Ife Kayode told ENCOMIUM Weekly that Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka as a complete gentleman is at present working on how to recover his stolen mandate at the tribunal, hence, could not be involved in such unwarranted attacks.
Meanwhile, Austin Oniyokor, the Group Media Officer to Prince Buruji Kashamu, in a telephone interview on Saturday, May 9, 2015, said there was no rift whatsoever between Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Prince Kashamu.
“To say that there was a fight over campaign fund when elections had already been won and lost is like crying over spilt milk.
“The campaign fund for the Presidential election was released to OGD and the State Coordinator of the presidential campaign committee in Ogun, Mr. Segun Seriki. They both disbursed the money the way they wanted.
“The only campaign fund that was released to my principal was the N30 million which was also given to every senatorial candidate”.
He was however quick to add that issues and roles of the so-called PDP leaders from the last elections were well known to the generality of the people. And that at the appropriate time, it will be discussed and thereafter laid to rest.
On the other hand, calls and text messages made to the mobile number of Mr. Ayo Giwa, the Media Officer to Otunba Gbenga Daniel on Friday, May 8, 2015, were not answered, neither did he respond to the messages.
But a reliable source close to the former governor said he has directed all his aides to keep sealed lips on the crisis now rocking the party. This move, we learnt, was to avoid heating up the already tensed polity.
The source, however, insisted that N200m was reportedly released to Prince Kashamu from the campaign fund contrary to what party faithful were made to understand.
– DAYO RUFAI