*Ex-governor Adeleke, former Speaker Etteh, Wole Oke head for APC
*Defection rumour is APC’s wish, says Omisore
By Biodun Akande and Ismail Afolabi in Osogbo
Indications emerged at the weekend that the reconciliation moves initiated by the Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate in Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore, to pacify aggrieved members of the party in the state are not working.
Omisore had raised the committee headed by former Deputy National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun, shortly after he emerged as the party’s governorship candidate in the state.
At the party’s primary election held on May 5 in Osogbo, the state capital, Omisore had defeated former Minister of Youth and Social Development, Senator Akinlabi Olasunkanmi, and former House of Representatives member, Hon. Oluwole Oke.
Former governor of the state, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, who had entered the governorship race late, saying he was drafted into the contest by some party leaders in Abuja and Osun, had said on the eve of the primary that he was boycotting the election.
The reconciliatory move was meant to pacify all the three governorship contenders and bring them back to the party’s fold.
But WESTERN POST learnt at the weekend that former governor Adeleke and Hon. Oke are set to move into the ruling All Progressives Congress in the state, while Akinlabi is still prevaricating on his next move.
In a paid advertisement in a national newspaper during the week, Akinlabi made bitter complaints against PDP and pooh-poohed the party’s reconciliatory moves.
Meanwhile, Adeleke and Oke are said to have entered into discussions and negotiations with Governor Rauf Aregbesola and the too may defect to APC anytime from now.
The duo of Adeleke and Oke are planning to move into APC along with former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs. Patricia Olubunmi Etteh, and other associates.
It was not clear if former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola is also planning to defect to APC. But Aregbesola had visited Omisore during the last Easter holiday in his Okuku residence during which time both had fruitful discussions, which some observers interpreted to mean the former governor would likely back Aregbesola during the August 9 election.
The presidency and PDP leaders in Abuja, it was learnt, are, however, moving in to thwart the planned defection.
But a top associate of former governor Adeleke, who pleaded not to be mentioned, said such intervention was already too late in the day.
In the meantime, Omisore has said reports that some notable PDP leaders in the state want to defect to APC as is a mere wish of that party (APC) ahead of the August 9 governorship election.
Speaking through the Director, Media and Publicity of his campaign
organization, Prince Diran Odeyemi, Omisore said it would be illogical for any reasonable politician to defect to APC when those who went there earlier were already returning to PDP.
“The rumour that Senator Isiaka Adeleke, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Hon. Busayo Oluwole-Oke want to defect to APC is
not true as far as we in the PDP are concerned. The defection rumour
is just the mere wish of the APC and its candidate, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola”.
He said Adeleke, Oyinlola and Oluwole-Oke are chieftains of PDP who would not want the party to fail for any reason.
He added that the reconciliation move in the party was still on and that PDP would manage its affairs in a way that all the leaders and members of the party will work for its success.
“Senator Adeleke, Prince Oyinlola and Hon. Oluwole-Oke have benefited so much in the PDP and they would not want to destroy the
party. They are still with us. They are major stakeholders in the PDP and they would not want to destroy the house they built,” he added.
He also noted that some PDP chieftains including Hon. Gbenga Owolabi and Fasogbon who went to APC have returned to PDP, asking why any PDP leader would want to defect to APC at this time.
On the speculation that former state House of Assembly Speaker, Hon. Adejare Bello, turned down the offer to be Omisore’s running mate, Odeyemi explained that the people of Ede officially met with Omisore and pleaded with him to pick Bello, who hails from Ede as running mate but Omisore told them that the leaders of the party would pick his running mate.
“Yes, it was true that Ede people came to Senator Omisore and officially demanded that Hon. Adejare Bello should be picked as
the Omisore’s deputy. Senator Omisore told them that the decision to choose his deputy is not within his power and that the leaders of the party will pick the deputy”.