The ward congress of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ekiti State held on Saturday, March 7, 2020 which confused the supporters of the former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose and Senator represents the Ekiti South District, Senator Biodun Olujimi that who are genuine executives among them.
Recall that the groups have conducted their primary in parallel in the state.
In Olujimi camp claimed that they had conducted the congresses in the morning and won, the ones purportedly done by the Fayose group at night were illegal.
The Senator Olujimi group reaction by the Ekiti State outgoing PDP Chairman, Gboyega Oguntuase said the party had earlier held an election monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Nigeria Police Force, and other securities.
He said the stakeholders in the state in line with the constitution of the party.
However, sensing failure in the poll, the Ayo Fayose faction connived with the electoral officers from Abuja to conduct a fresh election in the night, a situation which the group opposed and said would never happen.
The outgoing chairman said ”election has been held in all the wards in the morning while votes had been recorded for all contestants without any crisis or rancour but said it is unfortunate that the delegates are now planning to conduct another election.
He alleged that the representative of the party from Abuja had been bribed by the former Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose which made them called for fresh election at the late hour of the day so as to perpetrate their evil plans.
“Can election be conducted at this time of the day when people had gone to their homes Oguntuase asked?
However, Ayo Fayose group claimed that the only genuine ward congresses in Ekiti State were conducted by the officially designated electoral officers, hence the ones purportedly done by the Olujimi group were illegal.
According to the Lere Olayinka, media aide to former Governor Ayodele Fayose, said “ the only genuine ward congresses in Ekiti State were conducted by the officially designated electoral officers.
“He said the last PDP National Convention in Port Harcourt and the National Convention in Abuja in 2018 were done in the night. The party did not put time, but it only stipulated the March 7 date for the ward congresses”.
He said there was no parallel congress. “There was one congress. As a student, will you sit for an exam when the invigilator and question papers were yet to arrive? It is very clear in the guidelines for the conduct of congresses of the PDP.
He quoted section 4(a) “for the avoidance of doubt, the actual conduct of elections at wards, local government areas, state and zonal congresses shall be by the congresses committee at each level appointed by the NWC’. The party at the national level appointed a five-member committee headed by the deputy governor of Taraba State (Haruna Manu).
“The party also appointed two persons per council as electoral officers. “They came to Ekiti for that purpose, they were at the state PDP Secretariat waiting for the committee chairman to arrive. The chairman arrived at the secretariat at about 1pm with the electoral materials – result sheets and everything. Can you hold election without result sheet? I am aware Senator Olujimi raised the issue that they had conducted the congresses in the morning, when the chairman arrived. She also said the chairman should just allow them to submit the result of what they did so that they would transfer it into the result sheet. But the chairman objected.
“He said there was no way elections could be conducted without the materials. The man said he was in the state for the election and distributed the materials following which the electoral officers moved to the local governments and wards for the congresses. Which one will you call a congress? The one conducted by people duly appointed or the one some people just gathered somewhere and did?”
Meanwhile, the majority of the appeal panel affirmed the Fayose group congress. Two of the three appeal panels supported the congress conducted by Fayose group while one neither support nor any group.
The panel affirmed 14 Local government area ward congress conducted by the committee from Abuja while the elections did not hold on the remaining two LG governments; Gbonyin and Ekiti East. The materials in Gbonyin LG were hijacked and recovered by the police in Ado-Ekiti and the party should conduct fresh elections in the two local governments.
The appeal panel said the congress was done in accordance with the party constitution and guidelines.