by Stanley Azuakola
Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Segun Oni have various things in common.
They are both ex-governors in the South-West from the PDP. They were both swept away from their respective government houses in Osun and Ekiti by the party of the broom. They both serve in the National Working Committee of the PDP – Oyinlola as the national secretary of the party, and Oni as the vice chairman in charge of the South West.
Right now though, there is a big difference between the two men. Following a court pronouncement last week, it seems Oyinlola is out of job (pending appeal of course). An Abuja court declared that the zonal congress which brought him to power was an illegal one, so he can’t possibly claim to be the secretary of the party.
Naturally, immediately after the court ruling, speculations and permutations went into overdrive. Who loses? Who wins? What is the Plan B?
Apparently, the PDP governors and ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo, who backed Oyinlola stand to lose most from his loss; while President Goodluck Jonathan and PDP chairman, Bamanga Tukur would be the big beneficiaries.
What is the Plan B if Oyinlola loses his appeal or if the party decided to just shove him aside?
That’s where Segun Oni comes in. The speculation wheel has been churning and Oni has been named as frontrunner in several publications, to replace Oyinlola. Afterall they are both from the same zone, and Oni might be more “amenable to working with Tukur.”
But what does Oni think about all these speculations? Oni says he is simply not interested in the job. Besides, he claims, the position is not vacant.
Oni’s chief press secretary, Mr. Lere Olayinka, who spoke on his behalf, said that the South-West PDP was solidly in support of Prince Oyinlola. As proof, he said “the last Friday judgment had already been appealed against and stay of execution filed.”
He described the media report insinuating that the party was considering dropping Prince Oyinlola for another candidate from the South-West as part of the mischief of those whose ambition was to destroy the party in the zone, saying; “on this matter, they have failed in their quest to sow seeds of discord among us.”
Oni says the party is confident that Oyinlola’s appeal would scale through because the judgement from the Federal High Court, Abuja which nullified the election of Prince Oyinlola as the National Secretary, was “curious because apart from National Vice Chairmen, PDP National Officers are not elected at Zonal Congress.”
“Even delegates to the National Convention where National Officers are elected do not emerge at Zonal Congress. Rather, they are elected at the Local Government Congresses.
“Therefore, how then can a court nullify the election of the National Secretary, on the ground that his election into the office was a result of nomination to the office by the South West Zonal Congress?
“The uncontroverted fact is that the offices of National Secretary and National Auditor were zoned to members of the PDP from the South West States of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti and Ondo.
“Prince Oyinlola was nominated and elected as the National Secretary not by the South West Zonal Congress of the PDP, having been qualified to contest by reason of being an indigene of Osun State which is part of the South West Zone.
“Therefore, there is no cause for apprehension and those sponsoring media reports insinuating that we are planning to replace Prince Oyinlola should note that they are wasting their time and resources on a fruitless exercise.”