Ward Congress: Crisis hits Ogun PDP

In Ogun, three different factions of the state chapter of the PDP on Saturday held parallel ward congresses in the 236 wards in the state.

The three factions are those led by the senator representing Ogun East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Mr. Buruji Kashamu; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole and a member of House Representatives, representing Remo Federal Constituency, Ladi Adebutu.

In a media briefing held on Friday in Abeokuta, nine members of the 14-man State Executive Council of the party had threatened to organise a parallel congress, alleging that both the state chairman and the secretary of the party, Bayo Dayo and Semiu Sodipo respectively, had sidelined other executives.

The nine members, led by the state Organising Secretary, PDP, Folashade Filani, alleged that Dayo and Sodipo did not carry them along in the affairs of the party.

The faction made real its threat by having their congresses separately alongside that of the Dayo-led executive.

Punch correspondent, who monitored the process in Abeokuta North, Abeokuta South, Sagamu and Ikenne Local Government Areas, observed that different groups were at different areas within the same ward conducting their elections.

While speaking with journalists at the party’s secretariat, the Chairman of the Congress Committee, Muhammed El-Yakubu, said he was not aware of any other PDP faction other than the one recognised by the National Working Committee of the party.

He said he was satisfied with the conduct of the congresses having visited some wards in Abeokuta, Ijebu Ode, Sagamu, Ilaro and Ifo, among others.

El-Yakubu said, “I am not aware of any other group or faction. I was sent here to monitor the ward congresses. I am impressed with the turnout of the people. It shows that we have so many PDP members in Ogun State.”

Ogun PDP chairman, corroborated the congress committee chairman, stated that “there is only one recognised ward congress and that is the one recognised by the party at the national level.”

But Filani told our correspondent that the congress held by her group believed to be loyal to Adebutu was the valid exercise.

Filani said, “We have conducted a valid congress. The result will be put together and is being collated now and will be submitted to the national secretariat.

“Despite the fact that the National Secretary refused to give us forms we have paid for, we had officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, the police and returning officers. Except the party is willing to go against the court orders, they have no other choice than to accept our result.”

Also, a former member of Ogun State House of Assembly, Johnson Olu-Fatoki, who is said to be loyal to the Bankole-led faction, told our correspondent that his group held the exercise at the designated venue by the PDP national leadership.

He said, “We held it at the designated venues where the PDP used to hold its congresses. It was under the supervision of delegates that came from Abuja.

“Security agents were on the ground and it was generally peaceful. The difference is that we involved other people from other groups into our exco. It is not a matter of winners-take-all.”


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