With the return of Otunba Gbenga Daniel to the PDP in Ogun state, the high powered overtures being made to former President Olusegun Obasanjo by national leaders of the party, the near extinction of the Labour party and the deep seated intractable divisions in the APC, the chances of Governor Ibikunle Amosun winning a second term in next year?s governorship elections continue to drop by the day even as he maintains the front runner status. However if the recently concluded Unification Rally of the PDP in Abeokuta is anything to go by, Amosun may quickly lose that front runner status.

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However, the odds of a very dark horse, an ?unknown entity?, who has been quietly and consistently touching base with the people at the grassroots with anti-poverty and health intervention programmes, ?capturing? the coveted Ogun state governor?s seat have increased somewhat and should it happen, it will go down as one of the major upsets in the history of gubernatorial elections in Nigeria.

If it happens, remember, you read it here first folks: The next governor of Ogun state may be Anthony Ojeshina (ETO), a man who has all the right credentials to be governor but finds himself in a state and political party made up of political juggernauts whose interests are as varied and complicated that it may require ?divine intervention? for him to navigate through the myriad of obstacles in his path towards securing the PDP?s nomination and ultimately the governor?s office.

Although there is the little matter of General Obasanjo?s running ?battle? with President Jonathan and the presence of his supporters in APC, ostensibly working for Governor Amosun?s reelection campaign, the fact remains that Chief Obasanjo is still officially a PDP member and his recent comments that he will never leave the party suggests that there may be a thaw in the frosty relations between him and the president very soon.

The good news for Tony Ojeshina is that the Otunba Gbenga Daniel faction, which left the PDP before the 2011 elections is back into the fold, swelling the party?s depleted ranks in Ogun state not just with a coterie of political heavyweights but well organizedpolitical machine and financial muscle required in tackling Governor Ibikunle Amosun next year. The question is; to whose camp will Daniel deploy his extensive and exclusive resources? The answer, as expected is so complicated that even OGD himself may be unable to answer at this point in the ?game?. Here?s why.

As a result of OGD?s return to PDP, previous permutations and horse trading among aspirants in the PDP for the governorship slot have changed. First the trio of ex – Labour party aspirants of Gboyega Isiaka, Prince Yanju Lipede and Sarafa Ishola who followed Otunba Daniel to the PDP, are expected to continue their aspirations and by extension, enlarge the field of aspirants, in the party. They will join Anthony Ojeshina, Kayode Amusan and Isiaq Akinlade who were already jostling for the PDP ticket.

All the aspirants are either from Ogun Central or West Senatorial districts. With an enlarged field of credible aspirants who all have the resources to go all the way and apparently unwilling to ?step down? for one another, it is inevitable that the PDP candidate will have to emerge from the primary election process.

This presents a major predicament. Sources in the PDP told Per Second News there is palpable apprehension among party members that a bitterly fought primary may cause deep cracks that may not be mended in time before the general elections. The party members do recognize the fact that conducting a party primary election remains the best and fair method of nominating a flag bearer. It is a process that is democratic and typical of the way the PDP usually does ?things? unlike other opposition parties, particularly the APC, whose leaders prefer to impose candidates using the ?Baba so pe? (Baba has directed) method.

However, they argue that because the party has just been able to bring back many aggrieved members since 2011 after years of internal strife, the last thing needed was another bitter intra party feud that could trigger a repeat of the events of 2011 when the Daniel faction, not satisfied with the emergence of retired General Tunji Olurin as the party?s gubernatorial candidate, moved from the party into the PPN. The split is attributed as the main cause of Senator?s Amosun?s victory in that year?s elections. Unlike 2011, the PDP in Ogun state wants to go into 2015 elections united and indivisible.

In essence, there are three main groups in the PDP; the Bhuruji Kashamu, OGD/JMK and OBJ groups. Somehow, the PDP candidate must be acceptable to all three groups, which means whoever emerges must not be perceived as belonging to a particular group. What to do?

Pick a consensus candidate; someone who can be acceptable to the Kashamu, Daniel and Obasanjo factions. On paper, it sounds like a very simple solution but in reality, it is a major dilemma that probably requires the ?Wisdom of Solomon? to resolve. Is it possible for Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Chief Kashamu and former President Olusegun Obasanjo to agree on one man or woman to fly the PDP flag in next year?s governorship elections in Ogun state? Perhaps.

One name that has been floated in certain circles is that of Mr. Tunde Lemo, a former Deputy Governor Central Bank of Nigeria. Mr. Lemo, an Egba indigene does not belong to any of the three ?camps? but is well respected by all three leaders and certainly has the credentials as an administrator, a manager of men and materials? to serve as the next Ogun state governor. Mr. Lemo is the ideal consensus candidate. However, the problem with Mr. Tunde Lemo?s ?candidature? is that Mr. Lemo is not interested in becoming governor.

Per Second News gathered that some of the party leaders are already looking at a plan ?B? scenario in which one of the six known aspirants with the ?least baggage? is picked. ?Least baggage? suggests the aspirant that all three leaders can be comfortable with; the one aspirant whom all three leaders had or have a ?mutually beneficial relationship? with in the past or presently.

The developing answer among these leaders is that the only aspirant out of the six said contestants that fits the tough criterion is Anthony Ojeshina. Ojeshina fits the very high benchmark for the following reasons. Ojeshina is a former commissioner for Environment during the first term of Gbenga Daniel. He hails from Owu kingdom in Abeokuta like Chief Obasanjo (some say he is a nephew and close confidant of Baba). He carefully cultivated a very cordial relationship with Chief Kashamu since 2011 when Kashamu took over the leadership of Ogun PDP and other leaders abandoned the party, a commendable demonstration of party loyalty.

Still this plan ?B? has to be nurtured carefully before it can grow the strong wings needed to fly around the party base. It is not in the DNA of Nigerian politicians to compromise and put party above individual interests, if recent history is used as a yardstick. Otunba Gbenga Daniel and his followers committed what has been described as ?political hara-kiri? in 2011 when he walked away from the PDP despite several entreaties by national leaders of the party to persuade him to stay and President Jonathan?s frantic efforts to broker a peace agreement between him and Chief Obasanjo.

It seems Daniel may have learnt his lesson, but that will only be confirmed in coming weeks by his willingness or reluctance to participate in the party?s affairs as a team player and not Lord of the Manor.

In addition, Ojeshina will also have to contend with the growing demand from Ogun West Senatorial district party members for a shot at the governorship seat of the state. The agitation of Yewa people that, in the spirit of fairness and equity, their zone should produce the next governor of Ogun state subsided somewhat after their failure to pick a consensus candidate in 2011 allowed Amosun to win, but it is now back on the front burner. But some say that the zone has lost its opportunity and will have to wait until 2019 for another chance.

If indeed, Ogun West has to wait until 2019, then Ogun Central will have to produce PDP?s governorship candidate, where Tony Ojeshina hails from and handily beats Kayode Amusan and Prince Yanju Lipede to the ticket for the reasons earlier mentioned.

Source: Persecond News

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