By Rotimi Ojomoyela
The crisis rocking the Ekiti state chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) deepened on Saturday as parallel state congresses were conducted for the state working committee of the party.
The party had been polarised in recent time with the former governor, Mr Ayo Fayose and the lawmaker representing Ekiti South, Senator Biodun Olujimi leading the two warring groups for the soul of the party.
The crisis made the National Working Committee (NWC) constitute a 7-man caretaker committee headed by former senate Chief whip, Senator Hosea Agboola for the running of the party’s affairs in the state.
In the congresses on Saturday, a former commissioner for Environment, Honourable Bisi Kolawole emerged chairman from the former governor’s camp, while the Olujimi group elected a former member of the House of Representatives, Honourable Kehinde Odebunmi as the state chairman of the opposition party in the state.
While the Fayose’s group conducted its congress attended by former governor, Segun Oni at the Petim guest house, the Lotus guest house both in the state capital played host to the former senate minority leader’s group.
Speaking at the factional congress, Fayose warned the party members against indiscipline and disloyalty that were common features among politicians, saying, “PDP was robbed in 2018, but 2022 is another day.”
He explained there was no crack within the party and that the National Working Committee (NWC) was in support of the congress held by his group, saying those aggrieved in the party should retrace their steps and join him in building a strong opposition party.
According to him, “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.
“Those with party positions, please, respect your leaders, because it will not be business as usual. We are prepared to support the new executives for them to succeed. I am not looking for senate position 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.”
Obviously referring to his crisis with Olujimi, Fayose added, “5,000 Senators or House Of Representatives members does not amount to any governor or former governor. There must be respect for each other at the party. ”
However, Odebunmi said the task of repositioning Ekiti PDP has begun with his emergence, saying the era of impunity in the party has ended.
He fired Fayose for trying to forcefully take over the party’s structures in flagrant violation of the existing statute and extant laws guiding the PDP.
According to him, ” While accepting this mandate, I promise not to let the leaders and members of our great Party down and to uphold the party’s constitution and bye-laws in directing her affairs. Let me make it clear to all of you here present and those at home, that, this marks the beginning of a new dawn for PDP in Ekiti State.
” No more impunity, no more imposition, members shall be free to choose their representatives at various levels of the party’s structure.
” Most importantly, I want to assure you that immediate steps will be taken to bring all tendencies within the party together in the shortest possible time, in order for us to achieve our objective of winning the forthcoming Governorship election in Ekiti State, come year 2021.”
On the congress held by Fayose group, 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 grandstand, but the final arbiter is the court of law and it will adjudicate on this crisis and tell us which faction is authentic.”
On his part, Kolawole while speaking shortly after he was declared winner noted that he was poised to transform and develop the party for victory in future elections
He assured members of the party that the state working committee under him would be upright and instilled discipline so as for the party to defeat the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2022 governorship election in the state.
” I want to assure our members that we have a united PDP in Ekiti but we shall do everything possible to reconcile the reconcilable.
” I am the chairman who will still discipline in the party. I want to assure the leadership of the party that people shall be reconciled. The party Secretariat will start bumbling now and I can say that the leaders have a chairman that will not betray them,” he said.