With the incumbent, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and his one time buddy, Rep. Opeyemi Bamidele emerging as the presumptive nominees of the APC and Labour in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Ekiti State, respectively, intrigues continue to shadow the process for the emergence of the nominee of the PDP
By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Any contest that involved the participation of Mr. Ayodele Fayose was bound to sparkle. Hence the sparks that are emanating in the quest to pick the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the forthcoming governorship election in Ekiti State.
Mr. Fayose is pitched in battle against 13 other aspirants who have indicated interest in picking the party’s ticket for the governorship election due on June 21.
Mr. Fayose who governed the state, albeit tempestuously 10 years ago, wants another term. However, unlike when he governed the state and had his way in almost all things –until President Olusegun Obasanjo uprooted him- he is now faced with mountainous challenges.
Nearly all the other candidates want him out of the contest and had canvassed the adoption of a consensus candidate as a way of sieving him out, but Mr. Fayose has steadfastly objected to that, and rightly so, because the consensus approach is another form of imposition.
Remarkably, Mr. Fayose is backed by a number of party enthusiasts at the grassroots who want him to go into the primaries believing that he is the only one with enough muscle to match the incumbent governor of the state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi who is also seeking a second term on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
After several meetings in Abuja with the party’s hierarchy the consensus option for picking the PDP candidate was jettisoned mainly because Mr. Fayose objected to it.
The consensus option had been recommended by President Goodluck Jonathan and accepted by most of the candidates, primarily because of concerns that a primary could make the party enter the general election as a divided house.
Many of the aspirants who had been steadfastly lobbying party grandees in Abuja for favour were also supportive of the consensus option as they believed that that was the only route for them to fly the PDP ticket.
But Mr. Fayose whose turbulent record in office has not been totally forgotten by some party elders and as such did not have their ears had resorted to massive mobilization on the ground.
Given Fayose’s objections, the party was forced to move into primaries which commenced last Wednesday with ward congresses across the state.
As expected the congresses were trailed by violence in some local government areas of the state. Supporters of some candidates opposed to the primaries and those supportive of the primaries clashed in about five local government areas.
The political thugs who had laid siege on the party secretariat as early as 24 hours before the commencement of the congresses unfolded on Wednesday when some thugs pounced on them. The chairman of the PDP in Ado Local Government Area, Kola Lawal disclosed that party officials were about distributing the election materials to the wards when the thugs swooped on the officials and carted away the election materials.
Each of the 177 wards in the state is expected to produce three delegates that are expected to decide vote in the primary coming up tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the process was earlier this week ensnared when one of the candidates, Mr. Deji Ajayi, went to the courts to remove Fayose from the contest. His contention is that Fayose is not a valid member of the party and as such is not entitled to participate in the primaries.
In a petition addressed to the party’s national chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu‘azu, Ajayi through his counsel, Mr Olasoji Olowolafe, acknowledged that though Fayose commenced the process of readmission into the party after his impeachment, he affirmed that the party’s National Executive Committee, NEC had as at now not deliberated on it.
“Sir, the subject person, Mr. Ayo Fayose who is not a party member has been parading himself as an aspirant on the platform of the Party for some time without going through and/or fulfilling the Constitutional prerequisites to becoming a member of the Party”.
“Sir, the subject person was the Governor of Ekiti State between 2003 and 2006 when he was impeached by the State House of Assembly and went on a self-imposed exile.
“Upon his return, he left the party and joined the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) and campaigned across the State for that party’s candidate in the 2007 Gubernatorial election”.
“In 2013, he did not only join the Labour Party, he was also the candidate of that Party for the Ekiti Central Senatorial seat which he lost with a wide margin to the candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria. Sir, it is a notorious fact that cannot be denied that the subject person, with these antecedents lost his membership of the party.
“It is conceded that the subject person has, to the general knowledge and to the personal knowledge of our client, taken the initial steps towards becoming a member of the party in line with the provision of section 8(17) of the Constitution of the party, however, no recommendation has been made to the National Working Committee for his readmission to the party”.
“Sir, assuming without conceding that such recommendation has been made to the National Working Committee of the Party, such readmission has not been ratified by the National Executive Committee of the Party.
With some plotting against Fayose, the other major parties in the contest, the All Progressives Congress, APC and the Labour Party, LP this week also took significant steps.
As the PDP ward congress was going on in the state, about 400 kilometers away in Abuja, Governor Fayemi and a large entourage of APC stakeholders including National Assembly and State House of Assembly members followed him to pick the party’s nomination form at the party’s national secretariat.
While Fayemi the APC’s presumptive gubernatorial nominee was picking his form, the governor’s one time buddy, Rep. Opeyemi Bamidele was himself returning his own nomination form at the Labour Party, LP national secretariat in Abuja.
Bamidele is the presumptive nominee of the Labour Party in the unfolding contest that is bound to excite the political firmament.