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Crisis brews in Ekiti over PDP congress

Posted by By TOPE ADEBOBOYE and BOLU-OLU ESHO on 2008/03/04 | Views: 419 |

Crisis brews in Ekiti over PDP congress


An uneasy air currently pervades the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State following last Thursday’s state congress of the party held in Ado-Ekiti.

An uneasy air currently pervades the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State following last Thursday’s state congress of the party held in Ado-Ekiti.

Several members of the party are aggrieved with the party leadership’s alleged questionable conduct of the congress, during which Governor Olusegun Oni was said to have single-handedly selected party members believed to be sympathetic towards former President Olusegun Obasanjo and imposed them as party officers in the state.

Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Public Communications, Mr Moses Jolayemi has, however, denied any wrong doing on the governor’s part, saying all the officers emerged by consensus.

Daily Sun gathered that delegates who had converged on the Jibowu Hall, Trade Fair complex venue of the congress in the state capital were taken aback when the governor brought out an already prepared list and started reading out names of members who had already been assigned offices.

Sources told Daily Sun that Oni personally read out the names to ensure that only Obasanjo’s loyalists manned the various positions within the PDP in the state.
“Oni was desperate to ensure that none of the party officers were loyalists of President Umaru Yar’Adua, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Ambassador Kingibe and former chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih.

The governor was desperate to have Obasanjo’s sympathisers in office so as to keep the party in the firm grip of the ex-President. Oni has actually been assured by Obasanjo that he would do everything possible to guarantee his success at the election petition tribunal in the state”, a source told Daily Sun.

Martin Ibikunle, who was one of the chairmanship candidates in the race, alleged that Oni manipulated convention the way April polls were twisted in favour of Oni.

While addressing newsmen at the weekend, Ibikunle said the result of the congress must be cancelled, adding that it was unfortunate that the governor and leadership of the party seized the opportunity of the large turn out of members who were present at the congress to redeem his dwindling image due to past similar incidents in the state.

Ibikunle alleged that the government imposed the candidate from Federal Constituency II of the Senatorial district on the party which he described as political maginalization and injustice because the constituency comprising of three local governments of Ekiti West, Efon and Ijero produced the pioneer state chairman of the party, Chief [Senator] Clement Awoyelu who is now the state representative of the party’s BOT at the centre.

Daily Sun further gathered that the governor had, the night before the congress, held a meeting at the Government House with some die-hard Obasanjo loyalists during which candidates for the various positions were scrutinized and names of those believed to be sympathetic to Yar’Adua, Kingibe and Anenih were struck out.

Present at the meeting with the governor, Daily Sun learnt, were a prominent legal practitioner, a former minister from the state, two serving members of the National Assembly and some members of Oni’s cabinet.
Besides seeking to keep Obasanjo in firm control of the party’s structures, Oni reportedly confided in some trusted aides that he needed to have his own men in control of the party in Ekiti so that the party would re-nominate him for a fresh governorship election in the event that his victory is eventually annulled by the election petitions tribunal.

“In fact, the governor no longer trusts anybody. That is why he personally read out names of those he could count on as party officers and never bothered about people protesting his handling of the congress. There were no elections on Thursday. That action has rubbished the gospel of transparency and due process usually preached by the governor”, another source told the newspaper.

A prominent member of the party in the state, who confirmed the shoddy conduct of the congress, told Daily Sun that the governor’s action might soon break up the party in Ekiti. The member, who does not want his name in print, said some aggrieved members had vowed to conduct a separate congress and run a parallel state executive if last week’s purported congress is allowed to stand.

The crisis fuelled by the unfair allocation of positions, the member further argued, would give the opposition, notably the Action Congress (AC) an advantage in the forthcoming local government elections.

“Governor Oni needs all the support he can get at the tribunal. Besides, it is not a wise thing for a sitting governor to be seen as fighting the federal government,” the member counselled.
But speaking on the telephone with Daily Sun, Jolayemi denied that Oni did the selection single-handedly, saying the party had earlier decided to pick its officers by consensus.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.