Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
The intra-part wrangling bedeviling the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State, came to head on Wednesday, as the party held a parallel governorship primaries which produced two guber candidates.
While a faction of the party held its primary at the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Ogun State Council, and produced the former spokesperson of Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Organisation, Segun Sowunmi as the party candidate, another primary took place at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), where a former House of Reps member, Oladipupo Adebutu emerged winner.
At the primary held at the OOPL, former gubernatorial aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 general election, Jimi Lawal and Abimbola Abodunrin, contested against Adebutu.
The exercise was supervised by a 5-man Electoral Committee from the national headquarters of the PDP headed by Prof. Akase Sorkaa.
Announcing the result of the election at 10:50p.m on Wednesday, Sorkaa declared that Adebutu polled 714 votes to defeat Sowunmi, Lawal and Abodunrin who all polled no vote.
In his acceptance speech, Adebutu expressed satisfaction on the conduct of the exercise, saying he was happy with his election as the candidate of the party.
He noted that it was high time an environment of hope was created both in the party and state.
Meanwhile, pandemonium ensued at the OOPL primary exercise as supporters of Adebutu and Lawal clashed over the delegates list to be adopted for the primary.
The exercise was temporarily halted following gunshots by supporters of the two candidates outside the venue of the event
Trouble had started shortly after the PDP electoral panel, headed by Sorkaa announced the mode of conduct of the exercise.
It was observed that, some loyalists of Lawal raised an objection, rejecting a delegate list brought from the national secretariat of the party in Abuja, which led to a shout march between supporters of Lawal and Adebutu who also engaged one another pushing and shoving.
One of the aides of Lawal, Austin Oniyokor, who brought some documents claiming to have been certified by the INEC, insisted that the exercise must not take place unless the said document was adopted.
The drama which lasted for over 30 minutes saw security operatives helpless, while INEC officials temporarily relocated from the hall.
“This exercise cannot be conducted with a fake list. These are INEC generated documents. These are your certified documents,” Oniyokor shouted while addressing INEC officials.
While still waiting for the party officials to find solutions to the impasse, gunshots from outside the hall caused journalists and other delegates to scamper for safety.
At the parallel election that produced Sowunmi, the chairman of the electoral committee, Mr Abayomi Daniel announced Sowunmi the winner of the election after the votes were counted.
Abayomi said Sowunmi contested against two other aspirants, Lawal and Adebutu who were not physically present but were represented by their agents at the primaries.
According to him, Sowunmi polled 555 votes to defeat his closest rival, Lawal, who scored 30 votes while Adebutu polled 15 votes.
According to Daniel, a total number of 778 delegates were accredited, 702 votes cast, while three votes were voided.
“By the power conferred on me by the national leadership of our great party as the chairman electoral committee of the PDP governorship primary election in Ogun, I declare Segun Sowunmi winner of the election, having polled the highest number of votes and he is hereby returned and elected,” Daniel said.
Sowunmi in his acceptance speech, commended members of the party for their support and promised not to let them down.
He called on other aspirants to work together with him to secure victory for the party in the 2023 general elections.
“I humbly accept the nomination as candidate of the PDP,” he said.