by Akan Ido
The battle for supremacy for the soul of the People s Democratic Party in Ogun State is fast approaching a dangerous dimension as opposing factions of the party have started employing violence in taking over the party secretariat.
The political battle is said to be led by former president Olusegun Obasanjo against a former party financier, Buruji Kashamu.
The visit to the state by Bamanga Tukur, the National Chairman of the party, expected to help reconcile the warring factions of the party in the state did quite the opposite.
While fielding questions from reporters at the Obasanjo Hilltop mansion, Tukur had reportedly said, “Whoever that the people have elected as far as am concerned, is the chairman of our party in Ogun.
“Let me assert here that there is no crisis here in Ogun PDP at all. I have come here because of the former President, Olusegun Obasanjo who is the leader of our party and I am now the chairman.
“We do talk with the leaders of our party throughout the country because you will remember in my own programme of reconciliation, reformation; rebuilding and so I have been going around to the leaders and stakeholders of our party. So I can assure you that there is nothing about crisis here.
“Our party is based on equity and justice, no imposition so that everybody will feel to be part of that great party. Because it is only when you give people the leadership they did not elect that is when you then start to get crisis.”
In its reaction to Tukur’s statement, the Kashamu group, led by Adebayo Dayo faulted the assertions of the National Chairman.
According to it: “We are aware that it was the sacked National Auditor of the PDP, Bode Mustapha that manipulated the remarks of the National Chairman to suit his selfish interest. Whereas our National Chairman knows that our exco emerged from the congresses organized by the Dayo Soremi-led Harmonised Exco under the supervision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other relevant agencies, the Odujinrin group’s had no INEC representatives.
“Even the Congress Monitoring Committees of the party also declared the purported congresses as null and void. Again, the November 16, 2012 judgment of the Federal High Court, Lagos, which sacked the Odujinrin group, confirmed the position of the committees,” he said.
On Wednesday, the supporters of both factions clashed at the premises of the party secretariat where a member purportedly hit an opponent with an object suspected to be a local charm which caused the victim to vomit blood uncontrollably.
The Dayo-led State Executive Council had reportedly visited the party premises for an emergency meeting which was resisted by the Obasanjo faction which resulted in the clash.
The fracas was, however, quelled as quickly as it started with both factions threatening not to back down.
In his reaction to the fracas, the Publicity Secretary of the Obasanjo faction, Bidemi Osunbiyi accused the other faction of initiating violence.
Osunbiyi said “We normally hold our meetings on Wednesday but this morning they (Kashamu faction members) came and said that they wanted to make use of the secretariat, too. They were led by some security men. But while we were still talking, one over-zealous boy hit one of us with a charm and people now held him. But the police came and said that all of us should leave the secretariat. By tomorrow morning (Thursday) we shall surely be back at the secretariat. What happened today is the beginning of the end of the crisis”.
Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Ikemefuna Okoye who led other senior security chiefs to the Ogun PDP secretariat told newsmen that his men were at the party premises to maintain peace, law and order.