Ex-Speaker Bankole’s camp in talks with Osoba’s SDP
By Samuel Ogundipe in Lagos, Sola Muyideen in Ilorin and Olayinka Kolawole in Abeokuta
As he countdown to the 2015 election continues, it has finally emerged that some prominent politicians in Ogun and Kwara States with link to the presidency and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Abuja headquarters have lost their desperate bids to get the party’s governorship candidates dropped and replaced by their favourites.
The time allowed by the Independent National Electoral Commission for the submission of names and particulars of parties’ gubernatorial candidates’ closed on December 26, 2014 while the period for change/substitution of candidates for the same position lapsed on December 31, 2014.
With that development, WESTERN POST can confirm that Mr. Gboyega Nasiru Isiaka is the PDP governorship candidate on the INEC list for Ogun while Senator Simeon Ajibola is the party’s candidate for Kwara State.
Confusion had surrounded the issue of PDP gubernatorial candidate particularly in Ogun State.
This is because there were strident moves by some PDP officials in Abuja to replace Gboyega Isiaka with former House of Representatives Speaker Dimeji Bankole.
A similar attempt was also made in Kwara to substitute Senator Ajibola with former Action Congress of Nigeria candidate in the 2011 governorship election in the state, Mr. Dele Belgore, on flimsy grounds.
But the lingering stalemate in the Ogun State PDP may have reached its climax as the Bankole camp is said to be negotiating with the Chief Segun Osoba-led Social Democratic Party to work together during the election.
Gboyega Isiaka, a former ally of ex-governor Gbenga Daniel who contested the 2011 governorship election in the state on the platform of Daniel’s Peoples Party of Nigeria, is being backed for the election by controversial politician, Chief Buruji Kashamu.
Kashamu is the main financier of PDP in the South-west and Chairman, Mobilisation Committee of the party in the zone.
Mr. Kayode Idowu, Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman Attahiru Jega, confirmed that in line with the commission’s guidelines, submission of names and particulars of parties’candidates for the governorship poll closed on December 26, 2014 while the time for substitution of candidates ended by December 31.
He said the names and particulars of parties’candidates for the state elections were on display at the state constituencies.
The parties are to begin the process of submission of nomination forms for the presidential election by January 6 and for governorship election by January 13.
Bankole, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, has been enmeshed in boisterous battle for the Ogun PDP governorship ticket with Isiaka.
Isiaka had emerged the party’s flag bearer during the December 8, 2014 primaries conducted across the state.
But the party was thrown into disarray after a cancellation order reportedly came from Abuja. The state executives of the party, who are said to be satisfied with the choice of Isiaka, openly engaged the national executives in a war of words.
The national executives of the party and the presidency were said to have canceled the statewide primaries because they had their preferred choice in the person of Bankole.
But after several weeks of utmost suspense and political horse-trading, it now appears like the party has finally yielded ground to the state executives and submitted Isiaka’s name as the party’s choice in the state.
This development is believed to have irked Bankole who’s now reportedly in a series of meetings with the leaders in SDP to work together.
A WESTERN POST investigation revealed that a six-man committee set up by the two parties to look into the matter has began sitting in several towns across the state.
Apart from Bankole, others who are reportedly making a possible exit to SDP from the PDP include former Minister of State for Finance, Senator Jubril Martins Kuye, Senator Lekan Mustapha and Mogaji Dele Ajayi.
“Yes, we’re in talks with the leaders in SDP to see if they’ll be able to accommodate our demands. Bankole is set to move there because he’s tired of PDP and we’re all tired of PDP,” the source told the WESTERN POST under condition of anonymity.