Some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members in Ekiti State have alleged that they are being victimised because of their support for a governorship aspirant, Otunba Segun Adewale.
The embattled party members, who belonged to the Ali Modu Sheriff faction before the Supreme Court judgment settled the party’s leadership crisis, said the party leadership was violating their freedom of association.
The party faithful, who are from Ijero Local Government Area, where Adewale hails from, claimed that they had been on suspension since March 23, 2016, for taking sides with Sheriff against the former Caretaker Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
They complained that they were being sidelined by the State Working Committee in the affairs of the chapter, despite the directive by the National Chairman, Chief Uche Secondus, and the Chairman of the Reconciliation Committee, Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, that Sheriff’s faction should be reabsorbed unconditionally.
Speaking with reporters in Ado- Ekiti, the state capital, the former PDP secretary in Ijero Local Government Area, Hon. Olurotimi Akande alleged that 50 members were suspended for alleged anti-party activities.
He said the latest alleged victimisation was due to their support for Adewale against Governor Ayo Fayose’s preferred candidate and deputy governor, Prof. Kolapo Olusola.
Following Adewale’s entry into the race, a crisis of confidence developed between him and the governor. Also, other contenders, including the former Minister of State for Works, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, Senator Biodun Oujimi from the South District, Ambassador Dare Bejide and former Commissioner for Justice Owoseni Ajayi, have objected to the endorsement of an anointed candidate by the governor.
Akande said: “After the supreme court judgement on Senators Makarfi and Sheriff, which was an internal crisis and not about anti-party activity, Governor Fayose made a pronouncement that all of us must be reabsorbed but the State Working Committee, led by Chief Gboyega Oguntuase never implemented that.
“Throughout that time, I was not called to any elders’ meeting in Ijero local government as guaranteed by the party’s constitution. They were treating us as outcasts despite that the NWC and the Board of Trustees had directed that we should treat well.
He added: “Internal crisis in a political party ends when the party or court resolves such issue. Members always fall in line, it is like when a candidate of a party emerges, others will queue behind him but the contrary was happening here in Ekiti PDP.
“I see no offence in anyone supporting a candidate of choice. Chief Adewale is our leader and we are backing him for the governorship fully but we will work for whoever wins the primary, even if it is Prof Olusola, we will display that loyalty,” he said.
A PDP chieftain, Hon. Idowu said the only way they can support the party in the July 14 poll is for the NWC to conduct a free, fair and credible primary.