Sunday, November 4, 2018 10:40 pm
Less than a month after he vacated office, a plot to consign former Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State into to irrelevance, especially, in the hierarchy of opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP seems to be afoot.
At the vanguard of the plot which unfurled in Ado Ekiti, the capital of Ekiti State at the weekend is Biodun Olujimi, the Senator representing Ekiti South senatorial district in the National Assembly. Olujimi was emerged the Senate Minority Leader just as Governor who now wants to be seen as PDP’s new leader in Ekiti State and the Southwest region in general.
Olujimi was sworn in as the Senate’s minority leader few days before Fayose vacated office as the only PDP governor in South west Nigeria.
While he was in office, Fayose was generally respected as the leader of PDP in South west as the only governor elected on the platform of the party in the region.
However, with Fayose’s exit from office, the Senator became the PDP member occupying the highest elected office in South-west Nigeria.
On Saturday, Olujimi gathered PDP members in Ekiti for a meeting which, as the outcome later revealed, can be regarded as the first step in her bid to take over the leadership of the party in the South west.
Party chieftains who attended the meeting included Olujimi, former Deputy Governor, Dr. Sikiru Lawal; former Acting Governor, Mr. Olatunji Odeyemi; Ekiti Assembly Deputy Speaker, Mr. Segun Adewumi; former state PDP Chairman, Chief Bola Olu-Ojo; governorship aspirants, former National Assembly members, former State Assembly members, former local government chairmen and former party officers.
The party chieftains, at the end of the meeting demanded for the dissolution of the Ekiti State Working Committee (SWC) led by Gboyega Oguntuase, a Fayose loyalist. In its place, they called for the constitution of a caretaker committee to take charge of the affairs of the party in the State. Olujimi was also appointed leader of the State’s chapter of PDP.
“We knew what he might have passed through by staying in detention and we know it might not be easy for him to attend this meeting, so there is no faction at all in our party. My being appointed the Leader does not mean there is crisis,” Olujimi said when she was asked why Fayose was not present at the meeting.
“We are going to work together, I mean with former Governor Fayose. What we are doing is that we don’t want to allow his exit from office to mean the end of PDP in Ekiti. So, let me assure our supporters that we are on the same page with former Governor Fayose and other stakeholders. We are not factionalised and we shall work hard and ensure we win in next year’s election,” the Senator added while assuring journalists that the meeting was not at the detriment of the former governor.
But Olujimi’s colleagues in the House of Rpresentatives were not deceived. Speaking less than 24 hours after the Ekiti meeting, PDP’s five House of Representatives members from Ekiti State expressed their confidence in the leadership of the Chief Gboyega Oguntuase-led State Exco of the party.
This was in addition to dissociating themselves from the stakeholders’ meeting. The House of Representatives members: Kehinde Agboola (Ekiti North I), Thaddeus Aina (Ekiti North II), Ayo Oladimeji (Ekiti Central I), Segun Adekola (Ekiti South I) and Akin Awodumila (Ekiti South II), also reiterated their loyalty to the immediate past Governor of the State, Ayodele Fayose.
They said: “There is no leadership vacuum in the PDP in Ekiti State, those desperate for political leadership should wait for their time.”
The lawmakers also called on the Senate leadership to call Senator Olujimi to order so as to avoid crisis capable of affecting the party’s chances in the 2019 general elections.
“While we agree that individuals or groups have rights to hold meetings, we are miffed that Senator Olujimi was taking her selfish agenda of collapsing the party structures to the extreme.
“We were not consulted before the meeting was held and most of those who attended the meeting were those who worked against our party in the July 14 governorship election. Some of them were even governorship candidates of other parties, and collectively, they could not get up to 1,000 votes in the election.
“Also, leaders like Chief Bola Olu-Oju who attended the meeting innocently have started dissociating themselves from its outcome and by Saturday, this week, a proper meeting of stakeholders will be held in the State.
“Most importantly, is Senator Olujimi also claiming leadership of the PDP in the South-west since they she is the ranking elected official in Ekiti State and the South-West?
“We therefore call on our party’s members and teeming supporters to disregard the meeting and its outcome, bearing in mind that it was a gathering of dissidents, most of whom contested the July 14 governorship election under other parties with some of them getting less than 200 votes,” the lawmakers said.