Dayo Rufai, Abeokuta
A peace move taken by concerned elders to quench the fire of supremacy between Sen Buruji Kashamu and Hon Oladipupo Adebutu may have again headed for the rocks as both sides remain adamant to voices of reason.
Gateway Times can reliably inform that the new development was initiated by some leaders who were frustrated by the prolonged crisis tearing the umbrella party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) apart in Ogun State.
The messy fight within the party has forced some of its founding fathers in the state to political oblivion. While those who have stakes in the corridors of power have pitched their tents with other political parties.
It was further gathered that the new peace path which Kashamu had earlier consented to could not materialise, because Adebutu insisted in cornering virtually all the juicy positions in the party to himself.
As one of the insiders disclosed, Adebutu wanted both the governorship and deputy governorship slots in 2023 plus the position of the state chairman at the party level. But Kashamu reportedly argued that agreeing to these terms would invariably mean he has been relegated to the background, hence his turning down the peace move.
Meanwhile, some of the forces in the party who have already abandoned the umbrella party due to irreconcilable differences include Otunba Gbenga Daniel, a two time former governor of the state; Rt Hon Sabur Dimeji Bankole, former speaker of the House of Representatives; Sen Lekan Mustapha, now a serving senator on the platform of the ruling party, All Progressive Congress (APC); Alhaja Salmot Badru, former deputy governor of the state, and a host of others
Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka, who was the governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in the 2019 election, also ditched the party in annoyance.
Hon Ladi Adebutu, investigation has it, reportedly spent over N10 billion prior to the 2019 general election, but this huge commitment went down the drain as he could not win the soul of the party due to leadership issues he had with Buruji Kashamu. Though, Ladi became a strong factor in the governorship race due largely to his empowerment scheme, Buruji ensured he did not get the party ticket, let alone face candidates from other political parties.
Ladi who was visibly embittered when the follow-up litigations went in Buruji’s favour at the twilight of the election, later went into alliance with the APM in a bid to wreck the chances of APC, the party that became the major beneficiary of the upheaval in PDP.
Further findings have it that Hon Adebutu has again become the new bride in PDP as some of Buruji’s footsoldiers have made his residence in Iperu their a Mecca of sort.
Some of the new entrants include Engr Bayo Dayo, the former PDP chairman in the state whose allegiance to Kashamu once knew no bounds, and the former secretary and publicity secretary of the party in the state, respectively.
Political pundits, however, believe that Ladi’s camp would remain on the boost as long as he commands a fat purse.
Meanwhile, to avoid the pre 2019 treatment, Adebutu, according to reliable sources, has began to shop for a better alternative among the present political parties to fly his 2023 governorship ambition.
Adebutu’s fear was borne out of the belief that Kashamu, though is seemingly losing grip of the party, scheming him out of the party may be another herculean task.
With this latest development, the challenge over who holds the ace in Ogun State PDP may have entered a new phase.
Meanwhile, the media aide of Sen Buruji Kashamu, Mr Austin Oniyokor, informed this newsmagazine that the his principal was not opposed to genuine reconciliation with aggrieved party members including Hon Adebutu, provided such will be done in good faith.
In his words, Oniyokor said, “as the distinguished Senator Buruji Kashamu has reiterated in interviews and press statements, he is not opposed to any genuine reconciliation move.
Reconciliation is a process and not an event.
We want an all-inclusive party structure. We want a win-win situation for all stakeholders. It is our hope and belief that sooner than later, all the raging and outstanding issues will be sorted out to the satisfaction of all the stakeholders.”.
Mr Afolabi Orekoya, the spokesperson for Hon Adebutu, however, denied that there was any reconciliatory move between Adebutu and Kashamu. He told Gateway Times on Thursday that the only peace move that happened was the one with leaders of the party who he claimed were deceived to team up with Kashamu, adding that they have now seen reasons to adhere to the directives of the national body of the party.
According to him, “the issue is that faithful members of Ogun State PDP are tired of the failures of party at the polls in the last three general elections (2011, 2014 & 2019 which came as a result of intra party crisis borne out of selfishness of someone who desired to hold the fate of every member of the party in his hands; using the court to hold the party to ransom and disobeying the guidelines of the national body of the party. Hon. Ladi Adebutu has never acted as the owner of the party let alone requesting for slots from an individual. The party is bigger than an individual and that is what we are preaching.”