By Ismail Afolabi
The entry of former Osun State governor, Senator IsiakaAdeleke, into the August 9 governorship election race on the Peoples Democratic Party platform is causing ripples in the party and upsetting earlier calculations.
Before Adeleke’s entry, PDP was known to parade three aspirants, namely Senator IyiolaOmisore, former minister Chief AkinlabiOlasunkanmi and former House of Representatives member Hon. WoleOke.
The trio had paid the mandatory N5million and obtained and submitted nomination forms.
But political forces in Abuja were said to have drafted Adeleke into the governorship race and as such would have to be accommodated.
PDP Chairman in Osun State, AlhajiGaniyu Ola-Oluwa, told WESTERN POST in Osogbo that even though Senator Adeleke missed the December 31st, 2013 deadline for the final submission of intention form by PDP aspirants, he would be considered so as to prevent any division in the party.
But Ola-Oluwa said the screening committee for the primary election billed for April 5 had the final say on the eligibility of Adeleke and others vying for the ticket of the party.
He, however, said only financial members were qualified to contest in the party primary.
Ola-oluwa said: “We shall guide against anything that has tendency to cause internal crisis in our party because we need unity to remain solid and be able to defeat the incumbent governor in the forthcoming election. That is why we introduced waiver in the case of Senator IsiakaAdeleke who showed up after the due date for the expression of intention to contest for our party’s ticket.
“Now that Senator Adeleke has come, we now have four aspirants, which included Honourable BusayoOluwoleOke, Senator AkinlabiOlasunkanmi and Senator IyiolaOmisore”.
But Omisore has faulted Adeleke’s claim that he is being sponsored to contest for the election by the presidency.
Omisore, who spoke through his Director of Media and Strategy, Prince DiranOdeyemi, said the fact that Adeleke chose to join the race was no
barrier to Omisore, but that it was absurd for the former governor to be deceiving PDP faithful that the presidency compelled him to contest.
He said the former governor was unprepared for the race.
Speaking with WESTERN POST on Saturday, Odeyemi said: “We welcome Senator IsiakaAdeleke on board in the contest for the ticket of the PDP on April 5 when we shall meet at the primary to decide the
candidate of our party who will face the incumbent governor.
“It is, however, important to state that it is absurd that Senator Adeleke is playing politics of deceit by lying that it was the presidency that asked him to come out when the nomination had been closed already.
“Anyway, Senator Adeleke is free to contest even though he just came out a few weeks to the primary of the party; notwithstanding, we believe
that is a good thing for our party to have many aspirants vying for its ticket.
“However, everyone knows that the only person who can face Mr.RaufAregbesola and defeat him in the election on August 9 is Senator Omisore and the delegates will use their votes to declare so during the primary election of the party”.
Addressing his supporters earlier at the party secretariat in Osogbo, Adeleke had said the top echelon of PDP prompted him to contest.
He said it became imperative for him to yield to the call of party leaders who see him as a marketable candidate.
Adeleke denied the allegation that he had not been a financial member of PDP since leaving office as Senator in 2011, adding that he spent a substantial amount to mobilise for PDP during the recently-concluded Continuous Voters Registration exercise in his senatorial district.
According to him, the speculation that he was in the race to cause crisis and scuttle the chances of PDP in the governorship election was untrue. “The leaders of our party that forced me into this race will ensure whoever is angry is prevailed upon as only a united PDP can wrestle power from APC in this state. I don’t foresee crisis.
“I am a member of PDP and I have the right to aspire to any position I like on the platform of the party. I believe our party has internal mechanism to resolve whatever issues that emanates in the course of conducting its primary election.”
Adeleke was elected first executive governor of Osun State in 1991 on the platform of Social Democratic Party (SDP) and left office in 1993 when the Third Republic was truncated.
He was elected Senator in April 2007 and served one term. He was defeated when he contested for a second term.