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Obasanjo rejects ‘compromise list’

The battle for the soul of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Governor Gbenga Daniel took a dramatic turn when Obasanjo,  reportedly, rejected the ‘compromise list’ of candidates for the party in the state for the April  polls.

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo 

The chief of staff  to President Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Mike Oghiadome, and the PDP national secretary, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, said to have  witnessed the former president’s action, were stunned.

The scene, according to a  report, was the residence of Obasanjo in Abeokuta on Thursday. The report, was, however, denied, yesterday, by a factional chairman of the Ogun PDP, Basorun Dayo Soremi. He said there was no ‘compromise list’  from the Ogun PDP on the April polls.

The factional chairman described the report as sponsored.

Report of the ‘compromise list’ came just as Daniel was reportedly,  persuaded, at a meeting convened by Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Friday night, to get his group to concede the governorship slot to the former president’s  faction.

Ogun State information commissioner, Mr. Kawonise, yesterday, dismissed the report that any such meeting held not to talk of his principal being asked to get his group to concede the governorship ticket.

Obasanjo was reportedly livid with anger that Oghiadome and Baraje  had the effrontery to present to him a ‘compromise list’ of candidates for the PDP in Ogun State for the April polls when the party could have adopted wholesale the list from his group.

He told the team, raised to broker a truce between his faction and that of Daniel by Jonathan,  that the only list of candidates acceptable to him was the list which emanated from the primaries put together by him in his private library in Abeokuta.

However, Obasanjo declared that the only elective office he would concede to Jonathan is  the Ogun East senatorial seat which had already been picked by  Daniel.

Sunday Vanguard was told that the ‘compromise list’ presented to the former president by the team from Jonathan was the product of “very carefully, well thought out attempt” to put paid to the growing discontent over the list of candidates for the Ogun State chapter of the party for the polls.

The list  was said to have been  structured in a manner as to give both warring sides a sense of belonging.

Of the three senatorial seats in the state, Obasanjo’s faction was allegedly  allotted two seats while Daniel’s faction was given one – interestingly, the Ogun East senatorial slot initially conceded to Daniel.

In terms of the list for the House of Representatives, the proposal gave Obasanjo another two thirds majority of producing six of the nine prospective members – that would leave the governor’s  faction with just three members.

For the governorship, the Daniel faction was handed the ticket while  Obasanjo was requested to forward three names of possible running mates to Gboyega Isiaka, the Daniel factional  candidate, to pick from.

The reason for this, according to the proposal, was because the governor would have to work with his deputy and, therefore, would need to be the one to make a choice.

The state House of Assembly, which had been a theatre of the absurd since 2008, was shared with Daniel’s faction allotted 75% of the total seats  while Obasanjo’s faction was given 25%.

This, a source said, was with a view to ensuring that the G-15/G11 scenario,  which had crippled effective legislation in the state, was  avoided.

After  perusing the list, Sunday Vanguard was informed that the former president  rejected it.

It was further gathered that the two persons  Jonathan sent to Obasanjo’s Abeokuta residence, Oghiadome and Baraje, practically went on their knees begging the former president.

Obasanjo was said to have insisted that apart from the Ogun East senatorial seat which Daniel already had, he was not willing to relinquish any other name on his list.

After about two hours, the team departed Abeokuta for Lagos en-route the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to report back to the president. Jonathan was said to have launched fresh troubleshooting efforts at the weekend on the Ogun PDP crisis.

The crisis actually started when the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, insisted that it would recognize the list submitted by the Obasanjo faction to it, in obedience to a court order which barred the commission from accepting the primaries conducted and supervised by the PDP national headquarters but which had in attendance  the factional executive chaired by Chief Joju Fadairo.

Daniel had signaled the possibility of dumping the PDP for another party.

But Jonathan quickly dispatched Anenih, Oghiadome and Baraje to Daniel’s Asoludero Villa residence in Sagamu.

The Ogun governor flew into Abuja on Thursday with a view to holding a meeting with the president on Friday to discuss the outcome of the ‘compromise list’ presented to Obasanjo.

No ‘compromise list’ —Factional chair

Denying that any ‘compromise list’ existed, Ogun factional PDP chairman, Soremi, yesterday, in  a press statement, said: “our BOT chairman and international elder statesman man has absolute respect for the office of the president of  the Federal Republic of Nigeria which he had occupied as a military head of state and as a two-term civilian President.

“We wish to state categorically that there were no two lists of candidates in Ogun PDP other than the one submitted by the harmonised executives and approved by the national leadership of our party. “The list containing our party’s flag bearers have been submitted and accepted by INEC. The only alteration we made was the accommodation of Rt. Hon. Dimeji Bankole, as directed by President Goodluck Jonathan.”

Daniel under pressure
Meanwhile, Daniel was reportedly under pressure, yesterday, to get his group to concede the gubernatorial ticket to the Obasanjo faction.

Reports said that, at the end of a meeting held at the Aso Presidential Villa, on Friday  night, between  Jonathan, some members of the PDP  National Working Committee, NWC, key party stakeholders and those involved in the Ogun PDP crisis, the governor was asked to concede the governorship candidate position to the former president’s faction  if peace must return to the party and the state.

Reacting to the reports, last night,however, Ogun State information commissioner, Sina Kowonise, said his governor did  not attend any meeting in Aso Rock Villa on Friday night. Consequently, according to him, Daniel did not make any concession on the controversial Ogun PDP candidates lists.

-Vanguard

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