By Joseph Edegbo
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State has said it will not give automatic tickets to any aspirant in the party ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The opposition party insisted that all aspirants who have obtained the nomination forms would be given a level playing field to contest in the primaries.
Chairman of the PDP in Ogun State, Sikirulahi Ogundele said this on Saturday while hosting one of the aspirants, Jimi Lawal, at the party secretariat in Abeokuta.
Lawal, Counsellor to Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, had dumped the All Progressives Congress (APC) to contest for the governorship seat under the platform of the PDP.
The former appointee is to contest for the Ogun PDP gubernatorial ticket with Ladi Adebutu, Chief Segun Showunmi and others who may still go for the PDP nomination forms.
While welcoming the 2019 APC guber aspirant into the PDP, Ogundele said the party is ready to receive aggrieved members of the APC and others into the party.
He said the PDP would conduct a free, fair and credible primary elections to pick its credible candidates.
He dispelled rumours that Adebutu had “pocketed” the party, stating “nobody has hijacked the structure of the party. This party has not been pocketed by anybody.”
The Chairman emphasised that the opposition party had learnt from its mistakes and repositioned itself to win the 2023 elections.
He assured that there would be no imposition of candidates like it happened in the past, saying the failure of the PDP to give all aspirants equal opportunities led to the crisis that almost tore the party into shreds.
Ogundele said, “Our joy is to have so many credible and outstanding members like my brother (Lawal) in the party.
“The door of our party is open to everybody. I assure you that, the party will conduct free, fair and credible primary elections for all positions.
“I promise to give all of you (aspirants) a level playing ground. Anybody is free to contest for any position.”
Speaking, Lawal promised to deploy his wealth of experience in both the public and private sector to save Ogun from what he called “imminent collapse.”
DAILY POST reports that the defection of Lawal to the PDP generated bitter reactions from a former aide of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri.
Omokri had alleged that Lawal was sent into the PDP by the APC to be a mole, asking party delegates to reject him absolutely.
But, in an interview with DAILY POST, Lawal debunked the allegation, asking Omokri to prove his points.
On why he dumped the APC, Lawal said he did not want to waste his time in the ruling party as he did in 2019.
“Everybody sees what is happening in the APC, how some people didn’t want the party to have the convention. I don’t want to waste my time again as I did in 2019. That’s why I left APC for PDP,” he declared.