The gulf within the Ekiti State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State widened on Saturday as the former governor Ayodele Fayose and Senator Biodun Olujimi inaugurated parallel ward executives.
The duo had been at each loggerheads over the leadership of the Ekiti PDP which has for some time polarised the party into two dominant factions.
Fayose and Olujimi saw the emergence of the new party officials at the ward level an opportunity to capture the party machinery ahead of the 2022 gubernatorial election in the state.
While the Fayose-led PDP on Thursday inaugurated members of the PDP ward EXCO in 155 out of the 177 wards in Ekiti State with the swearing-in supervised by a notary public, Niyi Idowu, the Senator Biodun Olujimi-led group inaugurated its parallel ward excos on Friday in the presence of party elders.
The Fayose group predicated its action on a letter dated April 25 from the National Working Committee addressed to the state PDP Chairman, Chief Gboyega Oguntuwase to inaugurate the new executive officers as stipulated the in the provisions of Section 65 of the party’s legal framework.
The NWC said the list sent was the approved authentic list for 155 out of the 177 wards after careful consideration of the report of the Electoral Committee and the Appeal Panel.
The PDP state Chairman, Oguntuase, refuse to conduct the inauguration excercise, claiming no directives were given to him from the party’s National Secretariat.
But the inauguration was supervised by the State party legal Adiser, Niyi Idowu allegedly on the instruction of Fayose.
Fayose’s media aide, Lere Olayinka, said the inauguration was constitutional in its measure, claiming the directive followed the NWC approval of the ward congresses held in the state.
He said the new party officers had assumed office for a tenure of four years in accordance with the party’s constitution.
Oguntuase who rejected the swearing-in of the factional ward excos, described the entire process as unconstitutional and a dubious political game targeted at destabilizing PDP in the state.
He said apart from the fact that the matter was pending in court, “the purported swearing-in was done during the pendency of the outgoing ward executives of the party”.
Oguntuwase, who appealed for calm “until by constitutional means, everything is resolved”, said, “The notary public contracted to do the swearing-in is not known to the party as I did not mandate anybody to get him to work for us.
“I wish to state that up till today, I have not received any letter from anywhere directing me to do any swearing-in for anybody. Even if I receive one now, the directive of the dejure governor of the state concerning social distancing will impede any gathering and swearing-in,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Ekiti PDP Repositioning Movement has rejected the purported inauguration of the ward executives loyal to ex-governor Fayose and associated itself with Olujimi’s camp.
The group, in a statement signed by its chairman, Engr. Alaba Agboola, said the purported inauguration was a desperate antics by some ‘chameleonic elements’ to forcefully hijack the party structure for their predetermined interest.
It stated that the purported swearing-in was an abberation that does not has basis in the law, adding the excercise flagrantly negated the provisions of the party’s constitution.
The group argued that it is only the state organ of the party that can inaugurate its local chapter not an obscure individual, stressing that the ward executives purpotedly inaugurated were not the true representation of the congress.
It said the authentic ward party officials were the ones whose congress results were duly signed by the PDP, INEC officials and security operatives.
The group advised new members of executives at the ward level to eschew divisive tendencies and and embark on the aggressive mobilization of various factions to build a united and cohesive PDP in the state.