The Peoples Democratic Party is currently panicking and mapping out strategies to make sure that it does not suffer defeat in the September 17 governorship election in Osun State as it did in Ekiti State on Saturday, The PUNCH has learnt.
It was gathered that the members of the National Working Committee of the party would meet this week to review what happened in Ekiti State that made the party to lose the election to its main rival, the All Progressives Congress.
It will be recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission on Sunday morning, declared the APC candidate, Dr Kayode Fayemi, as the winner of the election against the PDP candidate, Prof. Olusola Eleka.
Though the PDP said it would contest the outcome of the election in court, our correspondent gathered that the party was already planning on how its outcome would not affect the Osun State governorship election.
The party had planned to use the outcome of the Ekiti State governorship election as a stimulant for its desire to win the Osun State governorship election.
A member of the Board of Trustees of the party, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, told our correspondent that the party was sad about the Ekiti loss, warning that its leadership needed to brace up so that such “calamity is not transferred to us in Osun State.”
Babatope, who was a former minister of transportation, insisted that the Ekiti State governorship election was rigged, alleging that the PDP led the poll with more than 60,000 votes before the result was allegedly altered.
But he said that the members of the PDP in Osun State would resist any plan to either manipulate the election or scare the electorate away from voting on the election day in the state.
He said, “What happened in Ekiti State on Saturday was a tragedy. Both President Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the APC, will soon rig Nigeria out of existence if we are not careful.
“But we are ready for them in Osun State. They said they would kill people to show us that they are in power. Let them come and kill us. We will not be afraid to die.
“With what happened in Ekiti State, we now know that we should be prepared and be ready to fight with everything that God has given us. We will fight in Osun.
“The PDP was leading the APC with more than 60,000 votes in Ekiti State before they started their rigging. We will not allow that in Osun State. It will fight to the finish in Osun State. Let them come and kill all of us.”
In his reaction, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, said that there was no way the PDP would allow a repeat of what happened in Ekiti State to happen in Osun State on September 14.
Though he refused to give details of the party’s preparation for the election, he nevertheless said that the party was getting prepared for the “all-important election in the state.”
“What I can tell you is that we will never allow a repeat of what happened in Ekiti State to repeat itself in Osun State. We are more than ready for them. I can also assure you that we are going to regain our stolen mandate in Ekiti State as well,” Ologbondiyan said.
A member of the House of Representatives in the state, Mr Oluwole Oke, also said that it would be dangerous for the polity if the PDP “is again rigged out in Osun State.”
Oke, who is a delegate to the party’s primary on Saturday, said that turning the entire South-West into a one-party state would also be injurious to the ruling APC in the country.
He said, “The result of the Ekiti State governorship election is a wakeup call to the PDP. It shows that we need to work harder to get Osun State on September 14. Taking all the states in the South-West by the PDP will even make the party explode.
“At the end of the day, it will lead to political unrest and killings because of the scramble for positions. So, for political stability, they should not alienate the opposition in the zone.”
Meanwhile, 3,439 delegates are expected to elect the governorship candidate of the party at Osogbo, the state capital on Saturday.
According to a document obtained by our correspondent which was signed by the National Organising Secretary of the party, Col. Austin Akobundu (retd.), the delegates were made up of statutory and elected delegates.
He said that an appeal committee that would adjudicate over complaint arising from the primary would sit in Abuja on Monday.
It will be recalled that the national leadership of the party recently cleared 11 aspirants for its Saturday governorship primary.
The aspirants are Sen. Akanbi Abdulrasheed, Dr Oyewumi Olalere, Mr Nathaniel Oke (SAN), Sen. Ogunwale Felix and Alhaji Fatai Akinbade.
Others are Dr Ezekiel Adeniji, Dr Akin Ogunbiyi, Dr Ayoade Adewepo, Rafiu Bello, Sen. Nurudeen Adeleke and Prof. Adeolu Durotoye.
Oke told our correspondent that a seven-man committee was working on the possibility of having a consensus candidate who he said would emerge before the primary.