The last may have not been heard of the seemingly supremacy political battle between the faction loyal to the former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the former deputy chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South West, Chief Olabode George.
After the initial hostility that trailed the release of Chief George from prison and the reception held in his honour, Chief Obasanjo who chided the former PDP chieftain for not showing remorse after his prison experience had alleged that he was tricked to attend the ceremony. He said that the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo who was imprisoned between 1963 and 1966 did not play politics in the prison yard.
Now, another round of crisis is brewing between the two PDP stalwarts. But for the indefinite postponement of the PDP convention, the crisis would have been blown open. It has to do with who occupies the position of secretary that has been ceded to the South-west to compensate the region for the loss of the position of speaker to the North-west due to party intrigues and horse trading.
Though most of the aspirants jostling for the secretary position such as former minister of integration and cooperation in Africa, Chief Dapo Sarunmi; former Governor of Ondo State, Chief Segun Agagu; the national legal adviser of the PDP, Chief Sola Oke; former minister of transport, Chief Ebenezer Babatope; national vice chairman, South- west, Chief Tajudeen Oladipo and former minister of education, Professor Tunde Adeniran are tested politicians, the rivalry between Obasanjo and George has however made the race very contentious.
While Obasanjo is rooting for the incumbent national vice chairman, South- west, Chief Oladipo, the George’s group is supporting Chief Babatope.
What is making the intrigues in the party between the two leaders in the region interesting is the fact that Obasanjo as the chairman of Board of Trustee (BOT) of the PDP is not happy that some of his anointed candidates in the south-west have not fared better.
In the run up to April governorship election in Lagos State, he tipped the former minister of state for defence, Demola Seriki to win. But to his disappointment, Chief George pulled a surprise from inside the Kirikiri Prison and his candidate, Ade Dosunmu got the ticket.
LEADERSHIP investigation reveals that the rivalry between the two men is about who controls the party machinery in the region and the duo is ready to slug it out.
Also, Muraina Ajibola, the former president’s candidate for the position of Speaker lost to both the intrigues within the PDP and the opposition party, who believes that Obasanjo must be checkmated.
Now, Obasanjo who had earlier chided George for playing politics while in prison instead of being remorseful like a general is not leaving anything to chance in ensuring that George’s influence on the party is reduced considerably. Gradually, the party’s structures that were in the firm grip of George may soon be removed. The chairman reconciliation committee of the PDP in Lagos State and Nigeria High Commissioner to Ghana, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, may not be too well disposed to do George’s bidding during the congress.
Besides, sources say he is preparing to run for the governorship in 2015 and that means he must ensure that George, the former Ondo State military administrator does not get the large chunk of party officials in the state.