DETERMINED to end the logjam over its governorship ticket for the September 22, 2018 election in Osun State, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has mandated a former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, to immediately talk to warring contenders who have remained adamant over their demand that Senator Ademola Adeleke be stripped of the ticket to pave way for peace.
Mark, it was reliably learnt, has been asked to stoke the raging fire among the major stakeholders, especially the aggrieved aspirants and party elders including the camp of Senator Adeleke, winner of the controversial party primary conducted on July 20.
Though details of the mandate could not be established as of press time, our correspondent learnt that the move was meant to stave off further crisis that could jeopardise the chances of the party at the poll.
A source said some major interests in the raging controversy met on Saturday at an undisclosed location, ostensibly to fine-tune their demands preparatory to the reconciliatory meeting with Mark.
PDP has already forwarded the names of Adeleke to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which is expected to publish on Monday the list of all candidates for the election.
The development came as business mogul, Dr Akin Ogunbiyi is said to be under intense pressure to drop his agitation over the result of PDP primary and seek alternative political platform to prosecute his gubernatorial aspiration.
His associates, nonetheless, quoted him as saying he was neither ready to give up the current struggle nor move to any other party to pursue his aspiration, because he was not desperate.
Six other aspirants who stepped down for him to pave the way for his emergence at the PDP primary are also said to be adamant on their agitation against what they perceived as the seeming return of impunity to PDP, despite a promise of a new dawn by the party’s national leadership.
Two key leaders of the state PDP, who had jumped ship since the agitation began, were reportedly promised automatic tickets to run for seats in the next National Assembly if they rallied round Adeleke to form the next government in the state.
Fresh accounts by different insiders during the party primaries claimed due process was manipulated to favour the anointed candidate of a national leader of the PDP, who reportedly gave four major reasons for standing by Adeleke for the ticket, despite the preference of Osun PDP leaders for Ogunbiyi.
Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson and a former governor of Niger State, Dr Babangida Aliyu supervised the primary election.
Only one principal officer of the party at the national level was said to favour the outcome of the primary election, even after members of the Appeal Committee of the party expressed strong reservations on the conduct of the primary.
Explaining how the election was manipulated against Ogunbiyi, an insider said, “quite a number of votes that could have gone to Ogunbiyi were voided because of a claim that the delegates wrote his (Ogubiyi’s) name at the back of the paper instead of in front; then, there were instances where delegates wrote just Ogunbi on the ballot but they were voided as the officers in charge of the election said there was no aspirant called Ogunbi. So, it was all based on the directive that the camp of Adeleke should be allowed to come in with its crowd and allowed to vote.
“Six other aspirants stepped down for Ogunbiyi, while only one did for Adeleke, leaving four aspirants to contest the primary.
The six that stepped down for Ogunbiyi are the strongest contenders and for them to have taken that action, it amply made a statement about the direction of the election. The state working committee of the party, including the leadership were solidly behind Ogunbiyi together with 26 out of the 30 local government area chairmen of the party.” a source told Sunday Tribune.