PDP’s declining influence in Ekiti - Simply Entertainment Reports and Trending Stories


Monday, March 25, 2019

PDP’s declining influence in Ekiti

Ayodele Fayose
The 2019 general elections in Ekiti State cannot be forgotten in a hurry, due to the intrigues, the surprises and the oddities that shaped the exercise. RASAQ IBRAHIM examines the factors that aided the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and those that ruined the chances of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The 2019 general elections are over. While winners are still celebrating their victory, losers are struggling to come to terms with their defeat. At least that is the situation in Ekiti State, where the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) seized the opportunity to re-establish its dominance in the Southwest state, by winning all the available National Assembly and the state House of Assembly seats.

The ruling party achieved that feat not only because it prepared well for the election, but also owing to the fact that historically Ekiti people have always backed any party in power to presidential and National Assembly elections. For instance, in 2015, the PDP under the leadership of former Governor Ayodele Fayose swept the presidential, National Assembly and 26 House of Assembly seats. This development further helped to massage the ego of the former governor who described himself as the Maradona of Ekiti politics.

Fayose also capitalized on the situation to describe his major opponent, Governor Kayode Fayemi, as a political juvenile without relevance in his home base. But, it is a different ballgame today for Fayemi. After his perceived superlative performance in the last four months, the PDP has lost ground totally in the state.

In spite of this, the governor did not rest on his oars; he campaigned vigorously across Ekiti. For instance, he visited markets and distributing gifts to women.

Prince Dayo Adeyeye, a senator-elect, attributed the APC’s victory to the performance and the acceptability of the Fayemi administration. He said the victory was a true reflection of what the governor has done in the last four months.

The senator-elect said the landmark policies initiated by the administration, like the free education policy, numerous infrastructural developments and prompt payment of salaries swayed the people to vote for the APC.

Adeyeye said: “With the performance of Governor Kayode Fayemi, who is paying workers regularly, they agreed to support our party. That is the magical hand that brought out the victory for President Muhammadu Buhari and other APC candidates. In contrast, the opposition went into the election as a divided house and paid dearly for it.”

The genesis of the defeat of the PDP at the just concluded elections could be traced to the leadership of the PDP under Fayose. He has not been unable to provide needed leadership for the opposition party. The party was destabilized by internal wrangling and this contributed immensely to the downfall of all its candidates in the election.

Fayose designed the template for his party’s downfall several months to the July 14, 2018 governorship poll, when he masterminded the adoption of his deputy, Prof Kolapo Olusola, as candidate of the party for the last governorship in the state. The former governor went steps further by putting up huge posters of himself and his deputy, with the latter’s hand raised by him.

Expectedly, the PDP bigwigs who had hoped for a free, fair and credible primary to test their popularity and influence kicked against the alleged impunity on the part of the governor. The aggrieved aspirants alerted the National Working Committee NWC) of the party to call Fayose to order, as his action was capable of further splitting the party which was already in disarray at the time.

In spite of the efforts made by the party’s national leadership to settle the matter, by conducting what appeared like a free and fair primary, things fell apart among its heavyweights. The aggrieved aspirants, including Adeyeye, Senator Biodun Olujimi, former Deputy Governors Sikiru Lawal and Bisi Omoyeni, former Secretary to the State Government, Ambassador Dare Bejide, and former Attorney General Ajayi Owoseni, disagreed with Fayose. This was the genesis of the gale of defections that hit the party on the eve of the 2018 governorship election, when high-ranking politicians and their supporters left the party. Among them were Lawal who defected to the Labour Party and emerged its governorship flagbearer; and Bejide who found his way to the Mega Party of Nigeria (MPN) and later the Alliance for Democracy (AD).

Omoyeni also left for the MPN and later was adopted by as the governorship candidate. Adeyeye waited till the primary was conducted, but eventually joined the APC.

Thus, many of the PDP’s strongmen who would have swayed the vote in favor of the party jumped ship, because of Fayose alleged highhandedness, unfair treatment of fellow members. Of all the aggrieved members, only Olujimi stayed behind. As a result, Fayose’s anointed candidate, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, lost the governorship election.

After the election, Olujimi who had emerged as the Senate Minority Leader, due to the defection of Senator Godswill Akpabio to the APC, invariably became the highest-ranking PDP member in the Southwest. Nevertheless, Fayose refused to recognize her.

This further polarized the party in Ekiti. Both camps inaugurated parallel Atiku/Obi Presidential Campaign Council office in the state. Fayose went ahead to launch attacks against Senate Olujimi. In a video circulated on various social media platforms, the former governor called on the people to return Olujimi to the National Assembly during the February 23 polls.

Fayose, who wore a white long sleeve kaftan over a white pair of trousers with a black cap to match, advised Ekiti electorate to vote Atiku and other PDP candidates, except Olujimi. In the video, he said: “Ekiti Kete o, my name is Ayo Peter Fayose, the Osokomole. My beloved teachers, my beloved workers, okada riders and entire people of Ekiti State, I commend to you, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, our President-in-waiting. I commend to you all candidates of PDP in Ekiti, except Senator Abiodun Olujimi.

“That is, we must not return Olujimi to the Senate. I know you will do exactly what I ask you to do. I love you and may God bless you. This is Act 1, Scene 1.”

In her response, Olujimi said: “I believe right-thinking party leaders and members are not surprised about Fayose’s latest campaign against a candidate of his party.” Olujimi, who spoke through the Director General of her Campaign, Chief Bunmi Olugbade, said Fayose has a history of anti-party activities which reached a climax with defeat of the PDP in the 2018 governorship poll in Ekiti State.

The senator, who described Fayose as a “wounded lion roaring ready to devour anybody he meets on his way,” said her campaign is on course and would not be distracted by the tirade of the former governor.

Olujimi said: “Fayose has a chronicle of anti-party activism since his election in 2014 and you will recall that during the first anniversary of his return to power, he invited (former Osun governor), Rauf Aregbesola, an APC man to deliver the keynote address.

“Fayose disbanded the state party structure which led to the defection of prominent party stalwarts after he disallowed them from having a say in the affairs of the party. Eighty per cent of the candidates in other parties who contested the last governorship election left PDP due to high-handedness and dictatorial tendencies of Fayose.

“At the height of the crisis in the party, Fayose vowed to drive the vehicle of the PDP aground and we were not surprised that he lost an election even as an incumbent governor. What he (Fayose) is doing is not a surprise to anybody. Party members are prepared for him. We are not bamboozled by his ranting.

“Party leaders at the national level and in the Southwest have excellent confidence in the ability of Senator Olujimi. She is not a person that can be rattled by the ranting of a failure.”

The former governor and the acclaimed Southwest coordinator of the Atiku Campaign Organisation was nowhere to be found in Ekiti throughout the campaign period, except when he inaugurated a parallel campaign council and when Atiku visited the state for campaign.

Olujimi mounted the billboards visible in Ado-Ekiti metropolis, but the Fayose Campaign Council did not erect any for the Atiku Campaign Council until the sudden appearance of Fayose’s/Atiku’s posters in Ado Ekiti metropolis.

This development was the last straw that broke the carmel’s back, as the APC merely cashed in on the intractable crises in the opposition party and dealt it a bloody blow. The APC cruised to victory, as the party won the February 23 presidential and National Assembly election, as well as the March 9 state House of Assembly election.

The party swept the three senatorial, six House of Representatives seats and 25 out of 26 assembly seats, with the remaining one declared inconclusive.

Thus, the Ekiti PDP was roundly defeated. Will the ‘Oshokomole’ continue his egoistic battle with other party leaders having seen its consequences?

Speaking with The Nation on the immediate cause of the fall of the party in Ekiti State, Chief Sanya Atofarati alleged that Fayose traded off the party’s interest for a pot of porridge. Atofarati, a chieftain of the PDP, said the arrangements between Fayose and the APC-led Federal Government was very obvious and glaring in securing Ekiti for the APC.

He said the immediate governor connived and conspired with the state party leadership to honour the contractual agreement through their actions and inactions towards and during the elections.

Atofarati described Fayose as political saboteur who lacked integrity, values and character worthy of commendation. He said: “Fayose is not a good leader but a despot. He traded off the party for a pot of porridge.

“The contractual agreement between him and the APC-led Federal Government to sabotage the interest of the party is very obvious. Considering his actions and inactions during the electioneering build up, it is crystal clear that Fayose betrayed the party. That is very quiet unfortunate.

“Why would he sabotage the interest of the party with all what he enjoyed under the party?  Fayose and other saboteurs can only attempt to destroy this party for the moment and not forever.

“I think his chameleonic appearance has been vanquished and his true identify as a traitor has been revealed. Therefore, he has lost moral standing and political legitimacy as a PDP leader in Ekiti.”

But, PDP Chairman, Gboyega Oguntuase, does not believe the allegations being peddled against Fayose. He said those peddling such spurious allegation are looking for ways to gain cheap popularity. He said: “A madman says what is not conceivable. For instance, says a dwarf is a giant and that an albino is a black man. So, he thinks about what is not inconceivable.

“I am a child of God who cannot engage in any diabolical activities. And I believed Fayose couldn’t be part of such deal, because of his aversion for the APC. I don’t know any member of my executive who could ever imagine entering into any contractual agreement with the APC. Which contractual agreement?

“You enter a contractual agreement with a decaying and an infamous regime; a regime not sellable for a kobo. Although we equally have busy bodies who just want to make themselves relevant by making weird allegations.”

In This Story:#SanyaAtofarati #GboyegaOguntuase #AyodeleFayose #GodswillAkpabio #BunmiOlugbade#AbiodunOlujimi #AtikuAbubakar

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