The Social Democratic Party, SDP, Ogun State chapter, is persuading Rt.Hon. Dimeji Bankole to accept the governorship ticket of the party in the state in the 28 February governorship election. It was gathered that the former governor of the state who is also a chieftain of SDP, Chief Olusegun Osoba, has been persuading the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bankole accept to run for the governorship seat.
A source close to Osoba told our correspondent last night that Bankole may accept to run as that would boost the political profile of the former governor in the state.
Earlier on, the party had submitted the names of the incumbent Senator representing Ogun West Senatorial District, Sen. Akin Odunsi and daughter of the former governor, Chief Bisi Onabanjo, who was also the former TESCOM boss under the present administration, Barr. (Ms.) Olivia Olubukanla Onabanjo as the governorship and deputy governorship candidates of the party respectively.
It was gathered that the names of both the governorship and the deputy governorship candidate submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, are still by proxy, meaning that those names could still be substituted by the party before the deadline.
It was reliably gathered that Chief Osoba has met with the former Speaker’s father, Chief Alani Bankole, a.k.a. Caterpillar, who recently lost one of his wives, Iyalode Adunni Bankole, to help persuade his son to accept the ticket, but the man has directed him to speak with him (Dimeji) himself, as he is also his son.
However, Caterpillar, as Chief Alani Bankole is fondly called, was reported to have openly expressed his displeasure with the emergence of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, maintaining that it is like the PPN in 2011, which was formed as a spoiler then for the PDP.
The source revealed that Bankole’s father had openly told Osoba at the meeting that he will be supporting Governor Amosun with his supporters during the coming election, since PDP has denied his son the governorship ticket.
He however maintained that the issue should be discussed directly with Dimeji as he is man enough to decide on his own.
“Chief Olusegun Osoba has met with Baba Bankole, they have discussed and Osoba has appealed to Baba to help him persuade the former Speaker to accept the governorship ticket of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, in the state.
“After the talk, Baba Bankole openly distanced himself from the issue as he stood his ground that he and his supporters have concluded their plans to support Governor Ibikunle Amosun during the coming election since the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has failed to give the ticket to Dimeji.
Meanwhile, the Ogun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said it is not bothered by the defection of former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, to the Social Democratic Party (SDP), saying the defection poses no threat to the electoral fortune of the party in the forthcoming elections.
PDP added that Bankole who boycotted the governorship primaries conducted by the party in the state no longer commands electoral values that could ensure victory for anybody or political party at the poll.
The state Chairman of the PDP, Bayo Dayo, who made this known in Abeokuta, the state capital, while fielding questions from reporters during the inauguration of the state’s 35-man Governorship Campaign Committee at the party secretariat, dismissed Bankole as a paper weight politician.
He said: “I always say the truth. I heard it (Bankole’s defection) and I can tell you as I have said earlier, it’s a free world, everybody has the right to be associated with any group that he wishes. But if that is done, you will then know and the people in Abuja will know who is on the ground.
“Bankole contested the position of House of Representatives in one local government when he was in office as the Speaker of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and lost.
“Let him now contest in 20 local government areas and let us see the outcome. I challenge them to the fact that come February 14, you will all see the result of whatever arrangement that is going on. Some people, when they live in glass houses, they will not know that there are other people looking at them.
“Let him contest under any platform and people in Abuja will know whether he is actually on ground or not. That is all I have to say. We cannot force everybody to stay in PDP. Our prayer is that the more people that are going out, more people that are more than them should be coming to the party. And with that, we are going to win the election come February 14 by the grace of God.”