The crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State deepened yesterday as card-carrying members protested against former Governor Ayodele Fayose for alleged anti-party activities.
The protesters stormed Omuo Ekiti, the headquarters of Ekiti East Local Government Area, where party members from Ekiti South Senatorial District expressed anger over Fayose allegedly commanded voters to reject Senate Minority Leader Biodun Olujimi’s re-election bid.
The protesters said such a comment was tantamount to anti-party activity.
They noted that the former governor’s statement was the fallout of muscle-flexing between him and Olujimi over the leadership of the party in the state and the Southwest.
Last Friday, Fayose spoke against Olujimi’s candidature on a local radio ( People’s FM 104.1 ), requesting the electorate to vote for all PDP candidates with the exemption of Olujimi, the senator representing Ekiti South.
Some party members believed this could work against the success of the party.
Stakeholders in the party, last November, convened a meeting in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, where they agreed that Olujimi should assume the party’s leadership position, being the highest-ranking PDP member in the state and the Southwest.
The protesters carried placards with various inscriptions, such as: “Stop personalising PDP”, “PDP not your private estate”, “You have no power to give order to Ekiti South voters” and “Stop Your Anti-Party Activities”.
Addressing the protesters, former Majority Leader of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Sule Longe, urged the National Chairman of the party, Chief Uche Secondus, to call Fayose to order so that the party can record successes in the forthcoming elections.
Longe said the party, at this crucial time, must unite to beat the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming elections.
He said: “Nobody can tell our people not to vote for Senator Olujimi because she has paid her dues. She did well as a representative of the people in the last four years.
“We know the antics of former Governor Fayose. He wants to be the only one that will enjoy PDP, but this will not work. So, he should be warned by our leaders.
“He should know that committed PDP members like us will not allow him to destroy our heritage, the PDP. After gaining prominence in the PDP, he wants to rock the boat. We appeal to our national leaders to intervene and let him know that the party is supreme.
“We want Fayose to retract the statement and pledge loyalty to the PDP. He shouldn’t see himself as above the party. Our party is supreme to everybody.”
A former Information Commissioner Israel Osadare said Olujimi played prominent role in making Fayose the governor in 2003 and 2014.
He said: “It amounts to anti-party activity for former Governor Fayose to have gone on radio and said the people should reject Senator Olujimi in the coming election. For any PDP person to have made such a comment amounted to trying to destroy the platform that made him.
“But we want to say that Fayose has no power to command Ekiti South voters because he is from the Central. We appeal to our people not to be misled by Fayose’s comment.
“He has been governor twice, using the PDP platform but he now wants to destroy the party for selfish goals. This will not work, and nemesis shall soon catch up with him.
“It was his domineering tendency that led to PDP’s losing Ekiti in the July 14 election… Our party would have done better, if he actually gave the party and its members free hands to operate.
“Let our people be prepared hard to withstand the challenges ahead and win substantially in the elections coming up in the state next month.”