By Omogbolahan Adisa
The governorship ambition of Jimi Agbaje that made him join the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State has run into troubled waters.
Thegazellenews.com learnt exclusively that Agbaje, Lagos State governorship candidate of the Democratic Peoples Alliance (DPA) in the 2007 governorship election in the state, finally decided to join PDP after apparently being promised the party’s governorship ticket by the leadership of the party at the national level.
Before finally deciding on the PDP, Agbaje had flirted with the Labour Party (LP) but apparently realising that the party may not help his aspiration of governing Lagos State, decided on the PDP but not after serious politicking and negotiation on with the leadership of the party.
The decision to bring Agbaje to PDP was hatched by the trio of former National Deputy Chairman of the party, Chief Bode George; former Minister of Works, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe; and the Chairman of the state chapter of the Subsidy Re-investment Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), Chief Bode Oyedele. The trio was disturbed by the growing influence of the Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Olatunde Obanikoro. With his position as the Minister, Obanikoro has automatically assumed leadership of the party in the state which has not gone down well with George, Ogunlewe and Akindele.
They therefore brought in Agbaje who they believed was the only aspirant that can withstand Obanikoro when the chips are down.
Thegazellenews.com learnt that they impressed it on President Goodluck Jonathan that they have the person who can deliver Lagos for the PDP. Knowing the influence of Obanikoro at the Aso Villa, all the negotiations and planning were done behind his back and their trip to Aso Villa was also executed without his knowledge.
At the meeting with President Jonathan, Agbaje insisted that he would only join the PDP if assured of the party governorship ticket without having to go through the process of party primaries.
It was alleged that President Jonathan was not strictly positive on that but was reported to have promised a ministerial ticket even if the governorship ambition failed.
However, Bode George and his group reportedly came back to Lagos and informed the leadership that President Jonathan had approved that Agbaje be given the party’s ticket on a platter of gold.
However, the party’s leadership in the state smelt a rat and have thus insisted that a level playing ground primary will be organised for all aspirants to test their popularity.
The party chairman in the state, Olatunji Shelle, reportedly told Agbaje when he officially came to the party secretariat at Adekunle Fajuyi Street, GRA, Ikeja to present himself as a member of the party, that the party will organise a primary to pick its candidate. Shelle was reported to have even sworn with a Bible on the occasion that the party will not reneged on conducting primary to pick all its candidates for the coming elections.
Also, all the aspirants of the party including Bode George’s protege, Ade Dosunmu, who was the party’s candidate in the 2011 governorship election in the state, have vowed not to withdraw for Agbaje.
“We will all go to the field to test our popularity. Nobody will withdraw for any aspirant. Let us all go to the field,” Dosunmu was reported to have said.
Another aspirant, Adedeji Doherty, was overheard during the week telling a friend that there is no way, he will step down for any aspirant including as he has all it takes to win the party’s ticket at a level playing primary.
The Obanikoro camp has remained quiet but thegazellenews.com learnt that it has perfected its plan to ensure that the Minister of State for Defence picks the party’s ticket for the 2015 governorship election in Lagos State.