…As Arapaja Beats Oyinlola, Ciroma Loses Again
Major presidential aspirants on the platform of the opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, at the weekend may have been given a dose of what awaits them in their rumoured 2023 presidential ambitions at the just concluded national convention of the party.
State governors elected on the platform of the PDP showed their might at the just concluded national elective convention of the PDP, which held at the famous Eagles Square in Abuja; as they literally handpicked members of the incoming National Working Committee, NWC, and other national officers of the party.
Atiku, Saraki and Lamido, according to findings actually did everything possible to drum support for the emergence of former governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, as the Deputy National Chairman, South of the party against former deputy governor of Oyo State, Taofeek Arapaja.
Arapaja clinched the office, riding on the support of the PDP governors to the convention, as entreaties made to Oyinlola to step down failed.
CompassNG gathered that two hours before balloting, Atiku, Saraki and Lamido shrugged off their big men status as they made their way to state pavilions housing delegates, to woo support for Oyinlola.
According to findings, the move was aimed at neutralizing the influence of the governors, who have since hijacked the party, following the ouster of former national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.
However, the solicitation turned to be an exercise in futility, as Arapaja polled a total of 2,004 votes to beat Oyinlola, who managed to garner 705 votes.
The PDP governors have with this feat announced their undisputed hold on the party, according to a member of the outgoing NWC, who pleaded anonymity.
He averred, “Atiku and Saraki should realize that their time is over. If they want to pursue their 2023 ambitions, the governors would have a big say. What it means is that without the support of the governors, you can’t win a big position in the PDP of today. This is the message I think everyone took home from this convention.”
In a repeat of what she experienced in 2017, when she bidded to become the PDP Deputy National Chairman, North, and failed, former Minister of Women Affairs, Maryam Ina Ciroma, tasted the butter pill of defeat again, when she failed to realize her ambition, losing to Ambassador Umar Iliya Damagum in the battle for the same position.
Thirteen governors, elected on the platform of the PDP, according to findings, were said to have pleaded with Ciroma to shelve her ambition to give room to the emergence of Damagum as consensus candidate.
But after entreaties to her failed, Ciroma headed for the convention with confidence, but the governors made their influence count as Damagum polled 2, 222 votes to emerge Deputy National Chairman, North, to beta Corona 2ho managed to garner a paltry 365 votes.
The voting pattern at the convention followed one feature – delegates voted uniformly for the consensus candidates handpicked by either the governors or their associates.
This development led to the emergence of Senator Samuel Anyanwu, Debo Ologunagba, Stella Effah-Attoe and Kamaldeen Ajibade as National Secretary, National Publicity Secretary, National Woman Leader and National Legal Adviser respectively, having polled 3,426 votes each.
It was the same story for for unopposed Umar Bature, Okechukwu Daniel, Daniel Woyegikuro, and Mohammed Suleiman, as they each polled 3,426 votes to become members of the incoming NWC a National Organizing Secretary, National Auditor, National Financial Secretary and National Youth Leader of the party respectively.
In what looked like repeat of what transpired in 2017, the PDP governors compiled names of their preferred candidates, who all emerged victorious at the convention.
In his remarks shortly after he was pronounced elected National Chairman of the party by Adamawa State Governor Ahmadu Fintiri, former Senate President, Iyorcha Ayu, said, “I want to sincerely appreciate the PDP family. Today is simply a thank you address. When we started this party 23 years ago, we never in any way imagined that the journey will get us to this stage, a stage where we ruled for 16 years.
“We went into rough times, but for anybody who bother to see, PDP is back to rescue Nigeria from the terrible mess we have been in in the last six years.
“I want to appreciate all of you who have taken time as delegates, observers, supporters, and members of the media, as well as security services, who have made this event such a wonderful event.
“Many people imagined that this convention will lead to the break up of the PDP. Those who dream like that are dreaming in wonderland. Their dream was misplaced.
“Those who have lost hope should know that Nigeria is not a divided country. A small group of people decided to divide Nigeria. PDP will come back, unite our people, put them together, North and South, East and West.
“We will move ahead to develop this country. We did it before, we are going to do it again. I want to thank the governors. I want to thank the delegates. I want to thank our supporters and every single person who has made this event such a huge success.”