The ward congress of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ekiti State held on Saturday, March 7, 2020 has confused the supporters of the former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose and Senator represents the Ekiti South Dsistrict, Senator Biodun Olujimi that who are genuine executives among them.
The guidelines for the conduct of the congresses of the PDP in Nigeria stated in the Section 4 of the party constitution; (a) for the avoidance of doubt, the actual conduct of elections in the wards, local government areas, state and zonal congresses shall be by the congress committee in each state appointed by the National Working Committee (NWC).
For the wards level, the party at the national level must appoint a five-member committee and two persons per council as electoral officers.
In Fayose camp 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.
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.
According to the Lere Olayinka, media aide to former Governor Ayodele Fayose, said that the only genuine ward congresses in Ekiti State were conducted by the officially designated electoral officers.
During the his interviewed with the Punch Newspapers said congresses can hold any time since stipulated date without time.
“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”.
The Punch asked him how come party held parallel congress?
He replied “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. Section 4(a) says ‘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?”
When the Punch also asked him on the allegation that the committee chairman was compromised, officers kidnapped and those who came to Ekiti State impersonated?
He said “Did anybody report to the police that they were kidnapped? You said somebody was compromised but you confronted the committee chairman that he should accept what you did without his authority and the man refused. You are now saying because of that, he is compromised. Who attempted to compromise the man?
The Punch also asked him group’s position on the congresses especially that the results are to be released?
He replied “People don’t understand. It is a ward congress. In each of the 177 wards in the state, there are 20 positions (that is 17 positions and three ad-hoc delegates). After the congresses, anybody with complaint will approach the appeal panel. As I speak, the congresses held in 14 out of the 16 local governments. The appeal panel will now make recommendations. It is until that process is concluded that you can know those elected. Those elected are the ones to vote during the forthcoming local government congresses”.
The Punch asked him, who is the leader of PDP in Ekiti?
He said “There is no contention about the leadership of PDP in Ekiti State. Ayo Fayose is the only former governor in PDP in the South-West. By virtue of being a former governor and a former chairman of PDP Governor’s Forum, he is a member of the party’s National Executive Ccommittee. That is the highest decision-making organ of the party. Senator Abiodun Olujimi is a senator representing Ekiti South, would you now come from Ekiti South and say you are my leader in Ekiti Central? She is representing Ekiti South Senatorial District. Will she claim leadership over somebody from Ekiti North? Would you say she is leader of Duro Faseyi who was in the National Assembly for 12 years? Would you say Olujimi is the leader of Ayo Fayose – a two-term governor? The truth is that Olujimi is a leader. She is one of the leaders of the party in the state. We cannot rule that out. But there is somebody who is the overall leader. The structure of PDP is clear enough, the moment you are a governor, you are the one the party deals with”.