Senate President David Mark is expected to lead a three-man delegation of the Peoples Democratic Party to Ogun State on Thursday to cement the working agreement between the state PDP and the Labour Party for the 2015 general elections.
Also expected to be on the PDP team are the Deputy National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, and the Special Assistant to the President on Political Affairs, Prof. Rufa’i Alkali.
Mark’s team is expected to work on the ongoing discussion between the PDP and a former state Governor, Gbenga Daniel, who is leading the Labour Party in the state to defect to the PDP.
Daniel had earlier this year defected from the PDP to the LP in controversial circumstances after which the national leadership of the LP handed over the leadership of the party to the former governor.
Sources said that President Goodluck Jonathan, who already had a strong assurance that the LP would support him in his bid to retain his seat in 2015, also believed that the PDP should win the state governorship election.
A competent source in the camp of the former governor told one of our correspondents on the telephone on Tuesday that the Presidency had asked Daniel to “collapse his structure” in the LP into the PDP in order to unseat the incumbent Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, in the 2015 election.
“The Labour Party has already endorsed the candidacy of President Jonathan in 2015 but the President felt his fortune would be brighter if the state also falls into the hands of the PDP in the governorship election,” said the lawmaker, who had defected from the All Progressives Congress to the LP.
“He (Jonathan) believes the APC would win the next elections in the state if the PDP goes into the 2015 elections in its present state.”
The source, who craved anonymity, explained that Daniel’s meeting with the LP faithful at his Asoludero Court residence in Sagamu on Sunday, was to finalise their planned defection to the PDP on the prompting of Jonathan.
He was said to have enjoyed the backing of the party supporters to “collapse” the LP structure in the state into the PDP.
The source said the Presidency considered the report of independent assessors, who had come up with a verdict that the PDP as presently constituted, would not be able to defeat Amosun in 2015.
“It was then decided that if the party (PDP) could work on Daniel to bring his LP supporters to the PDP, it will be easy to unseat the APC and Amosun,” he said.
Daniel was however said to be demanding some elective seats at the state and national levels before moving his “structure” to the PDP, where he would have to work with his once close friend, who later became his arch enemy, Buruji Kashamu.
“The former governor wants one senate seat, five seats in the House of Representatives and 14 House of Assembly slots. These demands may however be cut down. These are the calculations that Mark and others will resolve when they come on Thursday,” the source said.
He disclosed that the PDP in the state was concluding plans to field a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, for the state governorship election.
He explained that the impending return of Daniel to the PDP might not change the plan as Bankole’s candidature would be “by affirmation.”
The source said, “There wouldn’t be any need for primaries for the governorship since the ‘parties’ would have known what belong to them. The governorship seat will be by affirmation.”
Daniel, however, said he was still consulting concerning his reported plan to defect to the PDP.
He said as a “credible and trustworthy leader”, he had been given the mandate by the leaders in the Labour Party to consult widely with other political parties before taking the final decision on where to pitch his structure’s tent.
In a statement on Tuesday, the media aide to the ex-governor, Ayo Giwa, said Daniel had been empowered to consult with various political parties and thereafter decide on the way to go.