Agbaje Goes Solo, Shuns Party Bigwigs In Campaign

There are indications that the cracks in the leadership of the Lagos
State chapter of the Peoples Democratic may have informed the decision
of its governorship candidate, Mr Jimi Agbaje, to operate without the
support of the party’s bigwigs in the state.

it was gathered that
Agbaje had assembled his campaign team without any input from the
party’s leadership including a former Deputy National Chairman of the
PDP, Chief Olabode George.

It was further learnt that as a result
of the development, George and some PDP big shots in the state were not
involved in the ongoing campaign of the Lagos PDP governorship
candidate.

A source within the party, who spoke with our
correspondent on condition of anonymity, disclosed that the development
was the outcome of a deep-seated disagreement between Agbaje and George,
which began in 2015.

The source said, “After ex-President
Goodluck Jonathan lost the presidential election, the presidency started
relating directly with Jimi Agbaje, who was the PDP governorship
candidate for Lagos State. This was at the expense of other elders.

“The
situation further worsened when Agbaje lost the election. Some elders
of the party were angry that he called Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to
congratulate him when the result had not been officially announced.

“It
was Bode George that brought Agbaje to the party. But under the PDP
structure, if the party is not in power in the state, the governorship
candidate becomes the leader of the party. But this did not go down well
with some elders of the party in Lagos who felt he (Agbaje) was a new
entrant.

“Another factor that further divided the party was the
period the PDP had its national chairmanship tussle, which created two
factions, one led by Ahmed Markafi and the other by Ali Modu Sheriff.
Bode George was with Markafi, while Agbaje was with a member of the
party’s Board of Trustees, Mrs Aduke Maina, who was with Sheriff.”

According
to the source, it was the Bode George group that produced the former
chairman of the party in Lagos, Mr Moshood Salvador, who, on assumption
of office, reportedly aligned with the Maina/Sheriff camp.

He stressed that it was that alignment that consumed Salvador and some of his supporters.

The
source said, “Another problem that created further division among the
party leaders was the recent national chairmanship election where Bode
George first declared his interest and shortly afterwards, Agbaje did
same for the slot. This singular act escalated their division. At the
moment, Agbaje claims he is working with all the stakeholders, but as a
concerned stakeholder, who is grounded in the party’s operations, I can
tell you that it is not completely true.”

Another source within
the party, who also preferred not to be named, confirmed that some party
leaders in the state had no input in the composition of Agbaje’s
campaign organisation.

The source, however, disclosed that a few
elders of the party such as Mrs Aduke Maina and a former Minister of
Works, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, were actively involved in Agbaje’s
campaign.

“The present Lagos State Chairman of the party, Dr
Adegbola Dominic, does not follow Agbaje around during his campaign
activities. The elders with him are Mrs Aduke Maina, Senator Adeseye
Ogunlewe, Chief Willy Akinlude, among others,” she said.

But the
Director of Media and Publicity, Jimi Agbaje Campaign Organisation,
Felix Oboagwina, denied that Agbaje did not involve the PDP stalwarts in
his campaign activities.

According to him, the state party chairman is the deputy head of the campaign council, which Agbaje heads.

“The
instruction from the national head office of the party is that every
state should have a campaign council headed by the governorship
candidate and the deputy will be the state chairman of the party. There
have been successful series of meetings with all stakeholders,” he said.

Commenting
on the development, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr
Kola Ologbondiyan, said, “The campaign is structured in a way that in a
state like Lagos, where we do not have a governor, the governorship
candidate should lead the campaign.

“As a matter of fact, there
is a structure for states and national on how they are going to run the
campaign. So, it will be difficult for me to believe that there is no
party backing in Lagos State except there are other issues that are not
known to the National Working Committee and the Presidential Campaign
Council.”