By Okunade Adekunle, Lagos
There is strong indication that the major opposition party in Lagos State, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may be engulfed in serious leadership crisis in days to come as a Chieftain of the party, Otunba Segun Adewale, popularly known as Aeroland, is claiming to be the authentic State Chairman of the party.
Adewale who may also approach the court to seek for an order to take over the Secretariat of the party in Ikeja till 2021, alleged that the current leadership of the party was not ready to take over the state from the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC) in any general elections.
He alleged the leadership is only concern with what they would gain in every election period, saying that they were not after winning elections for the party in the state.
It is obvious that the Lagos PDP may nurse this brewing crisis till the next four years if the national leadership of the party does not intervene quickly to avert serious and unamendable crack in the state chapter, which to political pundits, would spell doom for the resuscitation of the party in the state ahead of both local government elections and 2023 general elections.
Adewale, while speaking to newsmen in Ikeja, recently, insisted that he is the authentic chairman till 2021 and not the current occupier, Dr Dominic Adegbola.
He, however, announced the immediate sack of the incumbent Chairman, saying that Dominic was there as interim Chairman for 90days.
He explained further that he was back into the leadership position to build the party into a strong platform ahead of 2023 General Elections in the country, assuring that his goal was achievable.
The PDP Chieftain said that the Supreme Court had on July 12, 2017, sacked Sheriff, affirming Makarfi as the national chairman, but quickly added that the court judgement did not sack him as state chairman and that his tenure would only expire in 2021.
According to him, Hon. Moshood Salvador, whom he handed over to, following the intervention of the party leadership and the power-sharing arrangements between Sheriff faction and Makarfi group, had since dumped PDP for the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying that Dominic’s tenure was for a period of three months which had since expired last December.
Adewale alleged that Dominic, who he said was backed by the former Deputy National Chairman of PDP, Chief Olabode George, to replace Salvador, had further factionalised the party since he took over as chairman while appointing his own chairmen in all the wards and local councils in the state.
“Dominic was backed by Chief Bode George to replace Hon. Moshood Salvador when Salvador decamped to APC. This same Dominic had factionalised the party as he appointed his own ward and Local government Chairmen across the 20 local governments.
“I am the authentic PDP chairman in Lagos, I only stepped aside for Salvador after the national leadership of the party asked me to do so. After two years of factional crisis, I obeyed the leadership of the party to allow peace to reign and that the party could make progress. When Salvador left for APC, I made attempt to step in to continue, but there were appeals from all corners that election was underway and that I should allow somebody from the George group to occupy the position in the interim, for a period of three months.
“I agreed and remained on the sidelines and Dominic emerged. But now, his tenure expired in December while I still have my original mandate till 2021. So he can no longer claim to be chairman. I am the chairman now. In fact, I have taken over the secretariat and I will not allow anybody to do anything there for now,” Adewale fumed.
“I am working on some legal steps to get things done to achieve my set goals without any violence or threats to peace around the secretariat that could lead to negative image.
The only conditions I will shift position is for all groups in the party to agree on an elective congress as soon as possible or a court action stopping me from being chairman. But as things are right now, I am the Lagos PDP Chairman, that is my position,” said Adewale.
In a swift reaction, the Chairman of the party, Dr Dominic Adegbola, described Adewale’s claim to the Chairmanship position as ‘arrant nonsense’, saying that Adewale was no longer a member of the PDP.
Adegbola claimed that Adewale had dumped the party for Action Democractic Party ( ADP) to contest the last governorship election in Ekiti State
“That is arrant nonsense. I have no issue with him, the national leadership of our party knows much that he (Adewale) could not make any claim.
“He is a member of ADP, he was their governorship candidate in Ekiti State. If he wants to be back to PDP, he has to rejoin our party. As far as I am concerned he is not a member of our party. If you want to know anything concerning, you have to talk to the National Secretariat of our party,” he said.
It will be recalled that the current leadership of the party and its governorship candidate in the state, Mr Jimi Agbaje, recently exchange words on the mismanagement of the election funds sent to the party for campaigns which many observers argue that it would further reduce the reputation and integrity of the party among their supporters and electorate.
With this new brewing crisis, many analysts opine that the party would not be able to rebuild and reposition itself to unseat the APC in 2023 who had been ruling the state for 20years. However, the quick intervention by the national leadership of the PDP may douse the tension before it goes out of hand but only time will tell.