Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Diran Odeyemi has stirred the hornets’ nest by declaring that the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, has adopted Senator Ademola Adeleke as flagbearer for the 2022 governorship race in the State of Osun.
Odeyemi, while addressing some PDP members at the factional secretariat of the party in Osogbo on Monday, said: “We are not saying other aspirants should not come out, but our boss, Uche Secondus asked me to tell you that he has stamped (adopted) Senator Ademola Adeleke.”
His statement has continued to spark up reactions from members of the party who described the purported adoption of Adeleke as a ruse and premature.
Adeleke was PDP’s governorship candidate in the September 18, 2018 Gubernatorial Elections in the state.
Explaining the rationale behind his statement, Odeyemi, in an interview with OSUN DEFENDER on Tuesday, said: “What I was saying is that it is the tradition of the PDP to repeat candidates that was used in the last election. That is called the right of first choice. That does not foreclose other aspirants from coming out. I as Diran Odeyemi have decided to support Adeleke and I am not shying away from that.
“If other aspirants are sure of themselves let them come out. The National Secretariat will give them a level playing ground. The Secretariat will not cast vote for the aspirants, it will only conduct the primaries. It is the delegates that will cast their votes for aspirants they want.”
Asked if the primaries will not be manipulated in favour of Adeleke, who is said to have been adopted by the national chairman, Odeyemi said: “There is no way any manipulation can happen because it is a delegate system.
“It is the delegates that will be voting for who they have confidence in, and we know the number of delegates. PDP is known to have always been organising free, fair and credible elections and that is why the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has never cancelled any of our elections.”
Reacting to the purported adoption of Adeleke, a stalwart of the PDP in Osun, Mr. Funmiso Babarinde said there was no assurance that Secondus, the National Chairman of the party, asked Odeyemi to make such declaration.
According to Babarinde, Secondus could not have sent Odeyemi such message because of his political experience and the internal crisis the PDP is currently witnessing in the state.
Babarinde said: “The National Chairman needs to confirm what Odeyemi said before I will believe him. Such message is not right for a party that is in crisis. You just got a temporary ruling from the Appeal Court, while the substantive case is still there and the next thing to do is to declare that Adeleke has been adopted! Are you scaring away other governorship aspirants or party members who are supposed to exercise their obligations in choosing who flies the party’s flag?
“There are so many questions begging for answers but, anyways, events are just playing out and I am sure this is a democratic party and things will take its natural course eventually.”