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Fayose’s ambivalence and Atiku/Okowa 2023 political drama in Ekiti State

By Ayodele Afolabi, Ado Ekiti
30 September 2022   |   4:51 am
The internal crisis in Ekiti State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is assuming a different dimension, as critical stakeholders are kicking against the former governor of the state, Mr Ayodele Fayose...

Peter Ayodele Fayose

The internal crisis in Ekiti State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is assuming a different dimension, as critical stakeholders are kicking against the former governor of the state, Mr Ayodele Fayose, leading Atiku/Okowa presidential campaign in the state.

The stakeholders, recently held a meeting, and condemned what they described as ‘one-man’ leadership style of the former governor. They warned the national leadership of the party not to entrust the presidential campaign in the state to Fayose.

They also said Fayose’s disposition to the candidature of Atiku/Okowa was suspect, because of his alliance with Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, who is at loggerheads with the party over the continued stay of Iyorcha Ayu as national chairman.

Ekiti PDP is yet to recover from its failure in the June 18, 2022 governorship election, where it came a distant third, behind the Social Democratic Party (SDP), whose candidate Chief Segun Oni, was aggrieved PDP chieftain.

The party became polarised after the acrimonious primary, where Fayose’s anointed candidate, Chief Bisi Kolawole, won the party’s governorship ticket. The election was won by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Biodun Oyebanji, political watchers are amazed that the leadership of the party have not learnt any lesson to prevent a repeat of the failures of the past.

Apart from losing the 2018 governorship election, the party also lost all positions in the 2019 general elections, including the presidential election contested by Atiku/Obi, except the Ekiti South Senatorial seat it won through the court.

There used to be two major competing interests in the state chapter of the party between the Osoko Political Assembly (OPA), led by Fayose, and Senator Abiodun Olujimi’s PDP Repositioning. However, several members of the two groups went with Chief Segun Oni to the SDP during the last governorship election.

The outcome of the election has affected the membership of the two factions. The current scenario seems to suggest that, remnants of Fayose’s OPA and other members who resent his leadership of the party. In fact, only three members of the State Working Committee (SWC) are now with the former governor.

The state publicity secretary of the party, Raphael Adeyanju, in a statement titled: “Enough of One Man Show,” said that a large number of members of the party in the state have called on the presidential candidate of the party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, not to reckon with Fayose ahead of his campaign for the 2023 election.

He warned that any attempt to allow Fayose lead the campaign committee would be vehemently resisted, alleging that Fayose was never in support of Atiku’s dream, saying that his leadership of the campaign was not for selfish reason.

Some of those at the meeting where the statement was made were mostly Fayose’s loyalists. They included a former Deputy Governor, Professor Olusola Kolapo; former lawmaker, Dr Samuel Omotosho; former Chairman Gbonyin Local Government, Sade Akinrinmola; former PDP State Chairman, Gboyega Oguntuase and state factional chairman of the party, Mr. Deji Ogunsakin.

According to the statement, Ogunsakin said that the party can no longer tolerate one man show style of Fayose, which has continued to ruin the party’s chances of the party, urging members to go back to their wards to mobilise for Atiku and Okowa, ahead of the 2023 election.

Earlier, some leaders of the party under the auspices of party stakeholders dissociated themselves from Fayose’s romance with Wike and declared to work for the success of Atiku/Okowa to emerge winner at the presidential election.

The PDP leaders include, Senator Olujimi, Oke Michael (PDP BOT member), Dr. Sikiru Tae Lawal (former deputy governor), Prof. Olusola Eleka, Senator Duro Faseyi, Chief Sanya Atofarati (Southwest zonal PRO), Chief Mrs Lanre Fajuyi (Southwest zonal ex-officio), Chief Adeola Ogunrinde (national ex-officio), Chief Makajuola Ogundipe (former zonal and state chairman), Chief Idowu Faleye (former state chairman), Barrister Gboyega Oguntuase, (former state chairman), Wale Aribisala (former national treasurer), Ogunsakin and Dare Bejide (former SSG and Ambassador to Finland).

Also included are, former memebrs of House of Representatives, Dr. Segun Adekola, Ayodele Oladimeji, Chief Awodumia and former deputy speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Hon. Segun Adewunmi.

Others are Dr. Samuel Omotosho (former member, Ekiti State House of Assembly), Chief Mrs Adesoro (former national ex-officio), Kole Abiodun (chairman of Local Government chairmen), Barrister Kola Kolade (former Attorney General and Ekiti 2022 Deputy governorship candidate. They held a meeting where they resolved to back Atiku/Okowa campaign.

They also rejected the leadership of Fayose, warning that any attempt to foist a one-man leadership dictatorial style on the party must henceforth be fiercely resisted.

Fayose’s ambivalence tactics
Seeing the groundswell of opposition against him, Fayose immediately conveyed another meeting at his private hotel, where he called for a ceasefire, urging Ekiti PDP to work together for Atiku and all PDP candidates in the 2023 general elections.

Fayose, who expressed confidence that PDP would rise again in Nigeria and in particular, Ekiti State, hinted that he remained in the camp of the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike.

He reminded PDP members in the state of the need to work together as a team for the success of the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar; National Assembly; and State House of Assembly candidates in the 2023 general elections.

He said: “Therefore, I am appealing to those who are angry to stop being angry. Those who are fighting should stop fighting. Let us face the 2023 elections together and win first. After that, we can resume the fight.

“A lot has been said, but as I have said many times, I will never join the APC for whatever reason.

“In all the issues we are having as a party, no one has said that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is not our presidential candidate. No one has said too that Dr Ifeanyi Okowa is not our party’s vice presidential candidate.

“Also, we have senatorial, House of Representatives and House of Assembly candidates here, among them is my biological son, Joju, and others, who are my political sons and daughters. My interest is that all these candidates should win elections,” Fayose said.

Meanwhile, the ex -governor, has taken his son, Joju, a House of Representatives candidate to meet with Atiku in Abuja. Details of their meeting was not made public, but the picture they took with the former Vice President has been trending on the social media.

The same Fayose actively participated in the Port Harcourt meeting where aggrieved Governor Wike and his associates took a decision to pull out of the Atiku/Okowa campaign until the national chairman of the party, Ayu, resigns his position.

To some political analysts who expressed dismayed at the activities of Fayose on the Atiku presidential project, a man must stand for something or else he would fall for anything.

However, speaking on the preparation of the state chapter of the party, Adeyanju said, “the joy of it is that a factor unifying all the groups in the state PDP is the passion to install Atiku Abubakar as President in 2023. With that development, everybody, even those who left for SDP, are returning and they are clamouring for Atiku.

“When you look at it, Atiku is now the major factor. Everywhere, it is Atiku movement. Everybody is Atiku now and Atiku is the symbol of PDP. We are ready, we are determined to win the election for Atiku, we are determined to reposition PDP.”

On his part, the acting chairman loyal to Fayose said that their group is rooting for Atiku presidency. He said: “It is clear that the PDP presidential candidate has emerged in person of Atiku and that is where we stand in Ekiti PDP, nobody is doing any other thing.

“If Fayose said that a southern president should emerge, that is his personal view and it should be a reaction to a particular thing. That Wike is annoyed today does not mean that Wike is not a PDP member. He has told us that he is not leaving PDP. He will work for Atiku, he is only aggrieved and it is normal for individuals to be aggrieved. When things are resolved, then he will toe the line of the party. They are meeting now to resolve the issues. Nobody in PDP is doing any other thing; Wike is not contesting the candidature with Atiku.”

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