ECHOES OF BOTCHED AUGUST 17th 2016 PORTHARCOURT CONVENTION AND THE OGUN STATE PERSPECTIVES

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By: Bolaji Adeniji

A second consecutive purported convention of the PDP has come and gone; but again, and just like the first, it was deadlocked and botched. The tell-tale signs were ever present. The warnings came but were ignored. The undertakers of the unfortunate convention were too enamoured with the surreptitious games they had drawn up. To them, it was either they had their way or nothing. The governors became a cult and their collaborators from within and without cheered them on.

Despite the Judgment of Justice Okon Abang, which ordered that no convention should be held because the Ahmed Markarfi caretaker committee was illegal ab initio (and all its action will in like manner be ultra vires), the planners (Wike and the gang) upped the preparation and derisively waived the judgment aside; as a ‘weightless order of no consequential effect’, however, the event of the morning of August 17th proved otherwise. The security agents moved in and gave effect to the spirit and letter of that oreder.

The script was ready, a certain Jimi Agbaje from Lagos, Southwest was designed to emerge the National Chairman as against the popular wish of the majority that would have voted otherwise . However, the tyranny of a few governor was never going to be establushed; and as Chief Bode George later put it, “The police saved the party”. The latest set-back could have been avoided had these intransigent men heeded the advice of the Jibrin- led BOT and a position paper offered by the Senator from Ogun state, Prince Buruji Kashamu which cautions that, the law must be respected and concessions be granted to Sheriff in the interest of peace.

For us in Ogun state, the party will always err on the path of law rather than resort to self help. Even though we anticipatedly participated in last botched process, we were not unmindful of the legal encumberances which still vests the leadership of the party in the hands of Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff. We also had to participate so that the dissident group from Ogun state led by the impostor Sikirulai Ogundele and the misguided MHR, Hon. Oladipupo Adebutu would not go to Portharcourt and posture to be the legitimate executive and delegates of Ogun PDP; especially as we recall the subterfuge they orchestrated the last time out, highjacking delegates tags and superimposing fake names on the authentic ogun delegates list.

This time around, they boasted that they were going to repeat the charade. They huffed and puffed that it was their names that will be on the convention list. They elevated their tomfoolery, by threatening to beat us up if we dared step our feet in Portharcourt; just like they did in Akure two weeks back. Indeed, Adebutu, Sikirulai, Akinwonmi, Apampa and the rest were confident that they can pull it off a second time but alas, they were embarrass
ed and disgraced in their tracks.

Firstly, they were not accorded any recognition in Portharcourt at least up until the point the convention was halted around 6am by security agencies. Our State Chairman, Engr. Adebayo Dayo alongside other state chairmen was invited to the meeting with the accreditation committee at banquet room 2 of the Presidential Hotel between 9pm and 3am. He was accompanied by the State Organizing Secretary, Koye Ijaduoye, State Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Adeniji and OmoIlu Foundation State Coordinator, Comrade Niyi Osoba. Otunba Akinyemi and Lukmon Ajomale also joined to give support. Sikirulai Ogundele and Ladi Adebutu all through the period roamed aimlessly around the lobby for 30mins before shamefully strolling away like a dog with its tail between its legs.

Furthermore, they were not able to alter and superimpose names this time around as the convention brochure contained the names of the legitimate delegates from Ogun state. Relevant portions of the brochure are already on the media space for veracity. What more, Markarfi recognised our executive as the authentic, because while we were at the accreditation room waiting for the tags after filling the delegates forms, the Secretary of the committee wanted to be funny (acting the Wike/Adebutu script ) by saying Ogun state had issues and he may not release the tags even though we had filled the forms. We swung into action and compelled him to call Sen. Makarfi in our presence on speakerphone to verify.

Indeed he called Makarfi and the chairman said in parts, “Mr accreditation Secretary, please release the tags of Ogun state to the chairman of the party, and from the facts before us, it is one Engr. Dayo; except he is not the one there and if you do not do so, whatever be the consequence, you are on your own…I have had enough troubles for today. Thanks”. Immediately, the man apologised and went into the room to get the tags but came out with a new twist. He said, the chairman of the convention planning committee, Governor Wike, will have to grant the final approval before he could release the tags. What a misnomer! What an aberration! We asked him, “Is Wike superior to the Chairman of the party”?

At about 4am we left him and went back to our hotels. Even Engr. Jide Adeniji (former FERMA MD) from Osun state and Mrs. Kofo Buknor/Salvador from Lagos state could not likewise get their tags from the accreditation Secretary who was hell-bent on frustrating us all having been obviously compromised. Importantly, we got the security information at that point that the convention will be halted, so we opted not to further dissipate energy again and left.

What more, it was the person that threatened others that ended up falling into the pit they dug for others. Upon sighting Sen. Buruji Kashamu at the entrance of the Presidential hotel, Ladi Adebutu took to his heels and Kashamu (amazed) told him to wait and engage him like a man, but Ladi showed the legendary traits of a coward and bolted towards the gate, falling down in the process.
Sikirulai on his part scampered away through the other gate on sensing the imminent danger.

The question to ask them is, where did the bravado they displayed before the convention go to? Why were they not able to utilise the thugs they brought down to Portharcourt? Why did Markarfi abandon them? Why were they not able to enlist the support of Fayose this time around and why could all his “supporters” or is it “choppers” abandon him when he ran like a baby away from the challenge of a real man?

Unfortunately Wike and the gang later gathered at state secretariat of the PDP in Rivers state to amuse themselves in the name of a pseudo convention. Whatever decision taken in that meeting will again go the usual way as being inconsistent with the law and preceding orders; part of which nailed the two conventions. The Adebutu group later got access to the tags during that meeting, displaying it unabashedly and unashamedly; when it had become worthless and useless as the convention was cancelled at 6am. This is laughable and preposterous.

It is the expectation of the PDP in Ogun state that the crisis engulfing the party at the national level is resolved soonest. Luckily, both the Sheriff executive and the Markarfi committee (in their various letters) have fully accepted and recognised the Engr. Adebayo Dayo-led executive and this is constant with the Judgment of the Federal High Courts and INEC status reports on Ogun PDP. Ogun PDP is ready to work with any national leadership that is acceptably constituted and lawfully established. This is what we expect the Hon. Ladi Adebutu camp to also do by joining hands with us to move the party forward.

Bolaji Adeniji is the State Publicity Secretary of Ogun PDP