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Arapaja May Emerge As PDP National Chairman Before 2023• Osun Factions May Join Forces With North For Oyinlola
The disqualification of a former National Secretary of the party, Prof. Wale Oladipo, from the race for the Deputy National Chairman of the party may have forced the two opposing camps in the Osun PDP to settle for a former governor of the state, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, as candidate for the post, Saturday PUNCH has learnt.
A party chieftain from Kano State who spoke with GOALPOACHER NEWS in a telephone interview stated that delegates from Northeast, Northwest and North Central will vote for Oyinlola due to the fact that Olagunsoye Oyinlola is closed to ex- President Olusegun Obasanjo and former military president, Ibrahim Babangida who are well respected in the North. He said Oyinlola, Kwakwanso, Lamido, Aliyu Babangida and host of other ex-governors may support Oyinlola as against Arapaja.
Meanwhile, support for Oyinlola and Oladipo had divided Osun PDP between the Senator Ademola Adeleke/Sunday Bisi faction and Akin Ogunbiyi/Soji Adagunodo group.
While the camp of Adeleke, who was the 2018 governorship candidate of the party in the state, openly adopted Oladipo as its sole candidate for the post of Deputy National Chairman, the group enjoying the backing of Ogunbiyi had been campaigning for Oyinlola.
But following the Thursday disqualification of Oladipo, some stakeholders in the Osun PDP that spoke on the matter, accused the South-West leader of the PDP, Governor Seyi Makinde, of masterminding Oladipo’s disqualification to pave the way for the current PDP South-West National Vice Chairman of the party, Taofiq Arapaja, who joined the race late.
A reliable party source, who preferred not to be named, explained that Makinde withdrew his support for Oyinlola, who he initially endorsed for the post upon realising that “whoever is elected Deputy National Chairman, may end up being the national chairman, in case PDP gives its 2023 presidential ticket to a northerner.”
According to the source, the Makinde’s camp was of the opinion that if Oyinlola, a former governor, becomes the party’s national chairman, in case PDP’s 2023 presidential candidate comes from the North, that may affect the influence of the Oyo State governor in the region.
The source said, “Oladipo was disqualified for actions he took while he was National Secretary, especially when the party was dragged to court.
“That reason (the disqualification) was the handiwork of Makinde. His camp felt Oladipo should be taken out.
“Makinde’s camp suddenly developed cold feet towards Oyinlola because of 2023. It was of the opinion that if PDP presidential ticket is given to the North, whoever is chairman from the North must resign.
“If that should happen, and Oyinlola has been elected Deputy National Chairman, he will automatically step in and become the party’s national chairman. It is common knowledge that Oyinlola is very close to former President Olusegun Obasanjo and military dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (retd.).
“Makinde’s camp feels Oyinlola may be too powerful for any governor to control as the PDP National Chairman. After considering that, Arapaja, becomes a very good option for the Oyo governor’s camp.
“No matter what Arapaja becomes at the national level, the Makinde camp believes it can still manage him. Stakeholders in Osun State may be shifting their support to Oyinlola to check Makinde’s camp. Many of them believe the division in the state PDP is making it easy for external forces to deprive it of privileges.”
But when contacted, Oladele Oluwabamiji, the Director of Research and Publicity of the Senator Adeleke faction of the PDP in the state, said Oyinlola did not formally inform the party he was contesting the post of Deputy National Chairman.
Oluwabamiji said, “We are going to wait for the outcome of the party’s Appeal Committee that will hear the case against the disqualification of Oladipo on Saturday (today) before taking any decision.”