The internal strife besetting the People’s Democractic Party in Ekiti on Saturday worsened with the party’s seething pot spilling its contents as two state party chairmen and other executives emerged after parallel state congress.
The parallel executives emerged from the State Congress held at two different locations with each faction announcing new executive officers.
Senator Biodun Olujimi-led faction which enjoys the support of elders caucus of the party held their congress at Lotus Hotel in Ado Ekiti, while the camp loyal to former governor Ayodele Fayose held theirs at Petim Guest House in the state capital.
While a former member of the House of Representatives, Kehinde Odebunmi emerged from group loyal to Olujimi as the state chairman, ex-Commissioner for Environment, Bisi Kolawole was elected from Fayose’s flanks.
Fayose and Olujimi had been embroiled in leadership tussle over the control of the party’s machinery and its structures which had polarised the party into two dominant factions.
The leadership tussle between the two political gladiators resulted into the emergence of parallel executives from the controversial March 17 ward and August 26 council congress, which the duo saw as an opportunity to capture the party soul ahead of 2022 gubernatorial election in the state.
The major highlights of the congress which political observers described as surprise was the sudden ‘dramatic and unholy alliance’ between ex-governor Segun Oni and Fayose to battle Olujimi.
Fayose and Oni had used the congress to reunite after several years of political enmity with understanding to work hard to ensure victory for the PDP in the 2022 governorship poll in the state.
Our correspondent who monitored the two parallel congresses held at two different locations observed that officials of INEC and Police as well as the Chairman of Ekiti caretaker committee Senator Hosea Agboola were conspicuously absent.
Addressing journalists at the factional congress, Fayose declared that the ruling All Progressives Congress would be ousted out of government in Ekiti with unity of purpose and togetherness among members of the PDP.
He emphasized that loyalty remains the best ingredient the party members as opposition must exhibit to be able to triumph over the Governor Kayode Fayemi-led APC, saying “Ekiti people have serious resentment for the ruling party.”
Fayose warned the party faithful against indiscipline and disloyalty that are common features among politicians.
”Let me tell our members that loyalty pays over time. Let us continue to be loyal. All delegates, we welcome and salute you.You could all see all that are set here for this congress. There is no crack in Ekiti PDP. I would have been surprised if Engr Segun Oni has not been here today.
”Let us found this party on discipline and truth. If we vote for you at the ward , council or state level and you misbehave, we will remove you .We have to be disciplined, facing an incumbent needs discipline, whoever wants to go is free to do so.
”Those with party positions, please, respect your leaders, because it will not be business as usual. We are prepared to support the new Exco for them to succeed. I am not looking for Senate seat or anything, but I am standing for the PDP in order not to destroy it. If you are elected, please, be responsible and respectful to leaders”.
On his new found harmony with Oni, Fayose stated: “I welcome Engr Oni to Ekiti PDP . I knew APC will fail him when he left . I congratulate him for becoming born again today. Whoever comes back, you are welcome.
”APC operates secretly, PDP is the only democratic party. All that defected to APC in 2018, we regret their actions. But we are waiting for all of them. APC is losing their members on daily basis, because people don’t like them. We are even ready to work with the aggrieved in the PDP, “he said.
But presenting his acceptance speech, Odebunmi, who was backed by Olujimi, former Deputy Governor, Sikiru Lawal and others party leaders, said the task of repositioning Ekiti PDP had begun with his emergence.
Odebunmi lambasted Fayose for trying to forcefully take over the party’s structures in flagrant violation of the existing statute and extant laws guiding the PDP.
On the boast by Fayose that he remains the leader and authentic leader of PDP, Odebunmi said: “I don’t have any serious thing to say about that . It is the majority that owns the party, not Fayose. Before you can hold a valid congress, INEC must be there. INEC was not present at the ward and local government congresses conducted by Fayose.
“Fayose is free to grand stand, but the final arbiter is the court of law and it will adjudicate on this crisis and tell us which faction is authentic”.
In his remarks, Oni appealed to the party to eschew internal wrangling, promising that he would work with Fayose and other like-minds to get rid of APC in the state.
Oni said he felt elated to return to the PDP and realign with those he had worked with in the past and those he could trust when it comes to party politics.
”There are people that had been lost and we are back. I thank the leader, Mr. Ayodele Fayose and other leaders. This party belongs to Nigerians and ready to take its rightful place. We must encourage everybody to be here. We are starting our winning from Ekiti, very soon we will get good news from Edo and Ondo and we will sweep across Nigeria. We will be able to bring the best of development and not talk talk that we are having now”. (The Nation)