BY AYO ESAN
Stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Lagos State on Tuesday rose from an emergency meeting and affirmed Chief Olabode George as the undisputable leader of the party in the state; just as they also dismissed insinuation that the state chapter of the party has been factionalised.
Those present at the meeting include; member, PDP’s Board of Trustees, BoT, Dr. Akinremi Akitoye; former Deputy Governor, Kofo Buknor – Akerele and state chairman, Dr. Adegbola Dominic.
Expressing its opposition to the congress being planned by some members of the party, in connivance with some young, ambitious elements within the Abuja PDP headquarters to elect new officers in the state and “get Chief Bode George out of the way,” against the existing PDP rules and regulations, they disclosed that a court injunction had since been obtained, stopping the planned congress, with the PDP, Senator Ben Obi, Senator Biodun Olujimi, Hon. Jariga Agoro Jarigbe, Hon. Danladi Baidu Tuo and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, named as defendants.
The restrictive order was delivered by Justice T. A. O. Oyekan-Abdullahi of the Lagos High Court.
Speaking with newsmen, the state party chairman, Dr. Dominic, said, “Today, we got the report that some people have been gathering to get Chief Olabode George out of the way.
“These people are saying they are going to have election and our leader, Chief Olabode George is not aware of it.
While acknowledging the leadership qualities in Chief George to include his straight-forwardness, intelligence, openness, among others, Dominic said it was unfortunate that some members, who he described as “bad eggs” were trying to betray George, in spite of having benefitted from his large heartedness.
He contended that the party had its rules and regulations and does not believe in groups and factions, saying that it was based on this that aggrieved members had to go to court to stop those planning to organize the said election.
“We don’t believe in groups and factions. We have rules and regulations that must be followed. Some members have to go to court to stop the election and the court has granted our prayers, an injunction that the status quo must remain, and I remained the chairman of the party in the state,” Dominic said.
He added that leaders emerged naturally and only chairmen and others executive members of the party were chosen by elections, declaring that there was no way a party could exist without a leader.
“There is no way we would have a party without having a leader to lead the party. You can elect chairman and others but not leader.
“I don’t know which party would make success without a leader. I want to inform you that there is no problem in the party. We have no group, no faction,” he reiterated.
Also speaking, Dr. Akitoye, while decrying the plan to hold congress by few members of the party, declared that the status quo remained not only at the state level but also at the local and ward levels in the state.
Senator Buknor-Akerele also maintained that the party remained united under the leadership of Chief George, adding, “We are determined that the party remains vigorous in the state to enable it present a very strong opposition.”
Former Minister of Transportation, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, a close ally of Chief George, said sadly that the same plot to change party leadership in Lagos State was being attempted in Osun State to remove the party chairman, Mr. Soji Adagunodo.
He accused some party leaders, who he described as ambitious at the PDP headquarters in Abuja as behind the plots, disclosing that they had even scheduled a meeting for Osogbo, the Osun State capital, where they wanted to pick who would come to officiate the aborted election in Lagos
He said, “I don’t want to wash our party’s dirty linen in the open, what they are planning in Lagos, they are also planning it in Osun State where I come from.
“Some over ambitious elements in PDP are trying to do this. They are also planning this samething in other states.”
The former minister, however, saluted the Lagos PDP leaders and members for resisting the plot.