Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
Aggrieved aspirants of the Osun State People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the governorship election scheduled for September 22 in the state have called on the National Working Committee of the party to reconsider its stand on the appeal filed by Dr. Akin Ogunbiyi, who they claimed, was the real winner of the primary election held in the state on July 21, to pick the flagbearer for the gubernatorial election.
Ogunbiyi had filed an appeal before the committee where he lodged a complaint that the election was manipulated in favour of Ademola Adeleke.
The party’s leadership in the state complained that the result of the election, in which Adeleke was declared winner by the Chairman of the election panel, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, was incorrect, claiming that the votes were not properly counted.
Six of the aspirants, who stepped down for Ogunbiyi with a common belief that he had the clout to fly the party’s flag in the September poll, on Thursday, reaffirmed the claim that the result was faulty and called on the National Working Committee to revoke the result and Adeleke’s nomination as the party’s candidate.
Among them were Sen. Olasunkanmi Akinlabi, Sen. Felix Ogunwale, Hon. Adejare Bello, Dr. Ayoade Adewopo, Prof. Adeolu Durotoye and Engr. Jide Adeniji.
They argued that contrary to the figure released by the five-man electoral panel after the election, 1,562 votes were allotted to Dr. Ogunbiyi, whereas the actual figure was 1,690.
This, they claimed, prompted the emergence of Adeleke, who, they said, was allotted 1,569 votes.
Olusunkanmi Akinlabi, one of the aspirants, who spoke on behalf of the other six, including Dr Ogunbiyi, said:
“Contrary to the promise made by the new leadership of our party, the reign of impunity appears to have continued unabated with the way and manner the primary election in Osun State was conducted.
“The exercise was regrettably marred by gross violations of the electoral guidelines issued by the National Working Committee as well as outright manipulation of the results of the election in favour of Senator Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke in a manner suggesting that he was the favoured candidate of some powerful individuals in the top echelon of the PDP.
“We make bold to say that Senator Adeleke did not in fact score the highest number of votes in that primary election, having polled a total number of 1,569 as against his major opponent, Dr. Akin Ogunbiyi, whose actual votes at the point of sorting was 1,690,” he added.
The aspirants also called on the national leadership of the party to rescind its decision on the nomination of Adeleke as the party’s candidate.
“We are making this call as leaders and major stakeholders in the party who are desirous of salvaging the Osun State PDP and rekindling the hope of the thousands of our members in all the local government areas of the state.
“We believe reason will prevail and the right thing would be done by our leaders. Nobody can be in Abuja and determine who will be our candidate or governor in Osun State,” Akinlabi added.
Another aspirant, Prof. Durotoye said, “We believe in the leadership of the party to do the right thing. We need to work together to uproot the wrong from our midst. PDP is the only hope of Osun State and this country.”
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Ogunbiyi, however, expressed optimism that he would reclaim his mandate if the CWC did the right thing in the interest of the party, its supporters and the people of the state.
Ogunbiyi, who said that it was only PDP that could restore the hope of the people of Osun State, assured that he and the aspirants would not leave the party, whatsoever.
In the words of Ogunbiyi, “We are not leaving the party under any guise. We believe in the leadership of the party and we will together fight this cause to uproot the bad government of APC in the state.”
He, however, called on party members, supporters and the people of the state to remain calm and peaceful in the wake of the controversy, adding that it was a storm that had come and would go when the right thing was done.