A faction of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ogun State loyal to a member of the House of Representatives, Oladipo Adebutu, has adopted the governorship candidate of the Allied Peoples Movement, Adekunle Akinlade.
The faction, after a closed-door meeting with the APM leaders on Thursday announced the adoption of Akinlade as its candidate.
The state Governor, Ibikunle Amosu, who was elected senator on the platform of the All Progressives Congress on February 23, is supporting Akinlade
The factional Chairman of the PDP, Sikirulahi Ogundele, announced Akinlade’s adoption shortly after the meeting between the leaders of the APM and the PDP faction.
The meeting, which was attended by the Director-General of the APM, Sarafa Ishola; Akinlade, Ogundele and Adebutu, was held in a hotel in Abeokuta.
Adebutu, who is a factional governorship candidate of the PDP in the state, had accused the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, of sponsoring Senator Buruji Kashamu.
Kashamu, the senator representing Ogun East, has been recognised by the Independent National Electoral Commission as the governorship candidate of the PDP in Ogun State.
After the meeting between the PDP and the APC leaders, Ogundele told journalists that the faction remained intact and that it only adopted Akinlade as the governorship candidate for the poll on Saturday.
The adoption came 24 hours after the Federal High court in Abeokuta affirmed Kashamu as the PDP governorship candidate.
Ogundele said members of the faction would mobilise support for Akinlade in all the local government areas of the state.
He said, “Politics is all about responsiveness. Politics is about being upright. So, we found all these qualities in Akinlade, and as I speak with you, all the state executive members, local government executive members and ward executive members have graciously adopted the candidature of Abdulkabir Akinlade.”
When asked whether his faction got the permission of the National Working Committee of the PDP before the adoption of Akinlade, Ogundele said his faction did not need the approval of any organ of the party.
Kashamu faults endorsement
Kashamu, while reacting to the endorsement, said it was not in the interest of the people of the state.
Kashamu, who spoke through his aide, Austin Oniyokor, alleged that Adebutu agreed to endorse Akinlade after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the APM candidate, in which Adebutu was promised government appointments.
But the media aide to Adebutu, Dayo Rufai, said he was not privy to the MoU that led to the alliance between Adebutu and Akinlade.
Rufai said, “I am privy to the fact that Ladi Adebutu has adopted APM and Akinlade; he has also instructed his people to vote for APM on Saturday. But I am not privy to the MoU that exchanged hands between my principal (Adebutu) and Akinlade.”
Daniel has endorsed APC gov candidate —Abiodu’s aide
Also on Thursday, Emmanuel Ojo, a media aide to the APC governorship candidate in the state, Dapo Abiodun, said the Director-General of the Atiku Campaign Organisation, South, Gbenga Daniel, had endorsed Abiodun.
Ojo confirmed the development to one of our correspondents on the telephone.
He said Daniel hinged his decision on the character and credibility of the APC candidate.
“Otunba Gbenga Daniel collapsed his political structure and asked that all his supporters should back Dapo Abiodun. He said of all the governorship candidates on the ground, the APC candidate is the most qualified, competent, mature and suitable for the position. He said they also shared the same political principles and beliefs,” he said.
Two aides of Daniel, Steve Oliyide and Ayo Giwa, have yet to respond to text messages and calls from The PUNCH as of the time of filing this report.
Three ADC House of Reps candidates defect to APC
Also, three House of Representatives candidates of the African Democratic Congress in Ogun State defected to the APC.
The PUNCH gathered that the candidates sealed their defection on Thursday after a visit to the APC governorship candidate, Dapo Abiodun, at his country home in Iperu, Ogun State.
They are Jenriyo Osinowo (Ijebu North-East and Waterside Federal Constituency), Lanre Oyemade (Remo Federal Constituency) and Prof. Gabriel Onalaja (Ijebu Central Federal Constituency).
“The three of us are moving to the APC to ensure the success of Abiodun,” Oyemade said.
Court clears Abiodun to contest
Meanwhile, the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Apo, Abuja, on Thursday dismissed a suit challenging the eligibility of Abiodun, to contest the governorship poll.
Delivering a judgment in the suit filed by Mr. Abdulrafiu Baruwa, a member of the APC in the Ogun State, Justice Olukayode Adeniyi held that the suit anchored on the failure of Abiodun to declare his university degree in his Form CF.001 submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission lacked merit.
He held that the suit although well merited but “is unmeritorious”.
Baruwa had on December 13, 2018 filed his suit asking the court to disqualify Abiodun for allegedly making false declaration in the form submitted to INEC.
The plaintiff, through his counsel, Mr. Oluwole Aladedoye, alleged that Abiodun deliberately refused to disclose his university degree in the Form CF.001, an act which the plaintiff contended amounted to making false declaration of information so as to avoid the requirement of presenting a National Youth Service Corps certificate.
But in his judgment, Justice Adeniyi in dismissing the suit, agreed with the submissions by Abiodun’s lawyer, Damien Dodo (SAN), and Abiodun’s lawyer, Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN).
The judge ruled that as much as the APC candidate’s non-declaration of his university degree in the form submitted to INEC did not relate to the requirement to contest for the office of the governor as provided for under Section 177 of the Constitution, the omission in the said Form CF.001 lacked “legal consequences.”