By Samuel Ogundipe
The Deputy Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Lagos State chapter, Chief Ola Apena, has said the immediate-past Minister of State for Defence and one of the party’s governorship aspirants in the state, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, had sent a letter, through the state secretary of the party, in which he apologised for his widely reported absence from the party’s interactive session with its aspirants.
“Obanikoro’s absence was a non-issue. Deji Doherty also did not attend the meeting. But in the case of Obanikoro, he sent in a letter of apology through the state secretary of the party. So, if you want to make an issue, it should be about Doherty, not Obanikoro who had apologised,” he said.
Speaking with the WESTERN POST in an interview conducted in his office on Thursday afternoon, Apena said the meeting was merely an interactive session between the leaders of the party and those gunning for office on its platform and not a peace meeting as was widely reported in the media.
“It was an interactive session between the leadership of the party and the aspirants, aimed at familiarising with the aspirants. They used the opportunity to sell themselves to the party leadership.”
Apena also denied that the party leaders had resolved to give Mr. Jimi Agbaje the gubernatorial ticket prior to his joining the party.
“There’s no assurance given to anybody because nobody knows tomorrow. As far as I am concerned, the PDP is a democratic party. The statutory delegates will determine who becomes the party’s gubernatorial candidate and not any leader of the party. The assertion is not correct,” he said.
He also denied knowledge of any rancour between Senator Obanikoro and the party leaders, like Chief Olabode George and former Minister of Works, Senator Oluseye Ogunlewe.
“There’s no way an individual can be bigger than the party. There’s no such division. For all I know is that Obanikoro is aspiring to be governor. Well, Bode George is not aspiring to be governor, neither is Ogunlewe. Bode George is the undisputed leader of the party. Although we have some other leaders, too, but he’s the head of everyone of us. Anybody could be creating in his imagination that there’s division. When aspiration is at play, you see a lot of people trying to create some artificial crisis, like it’s happening in the APC about Ambode (Akinwunmi) being or not being the candidate. There are no parallel executives in the state. This is the only PDP secretariat in the whole of Lagos State and when there are no factions you cannot say there’s a crisis.”