The Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Babafemi Ojudu, has alleged that the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti, which is “loyal to Governor Kayode Fayemi”, has hijacked the forms for elective positions ahead of next Saturday’s ward congress.
Ojudu, who spoke with journalists in Ado-Ekiti on Saturday, expressed his displeasure at the state of preparation for the ward congress in the state.
But the party has responded to the former senator, saying “he was unacquainted with the procedures and workings of the party”.
Ojudu said the party leadership deliberately deprived members who were opposed to the governor’s ‘Tokan Tokan’ group from accessing the forms to contest for positions in the ward congress.
He added that the action breaches the mandate issued by the national caretaker committee of the party.
The presidential aide also said the forms were seized from the ward congress committee sent from the national secretariat to the state on Friday.
He also said the committee was financially induced to return to Abuja without performing their duty of making the forms available to interested party members.
According to him, members of the party in the state had paid money into the dedicated account of the party for the forms. He urged the group to allow for democracy to take its course ahead of the congress in the interest of the party.
“The mandate was that they should stay and sell the form for every party member interested,” said Ojudu.
“Governors had come to Abuja to demand for the form but the committee managing the party said no.
“They invited all chairmen of the state branches and briefed them on the need to allow all members interested in contesting access to the form.”
He said the committee had handed the forms to the party secretariat on arrival in the state on Friday, thus giving the party leadership the power to ‘disenfranchise’ interested aspirants.
“If the forms were meant for the state chairmen it would have been handed over to them last week when they were invited to Abuja,” Ojudu said.
“Hundreds of members have paid to the account of the party and now they are being denied access to the form by the Tokan Tokan faction of the party in the state.”
He said that any attempt to endorse consensus arrangement for the congress would be resisted by leaders, adding that the system, if used, would spell doom for the party ahead of the 2022 governorship election.
However, in his reaction, the Publicity Secretary of the party, Ade Ajayi, denied all the allegations raised by the presidential aide, describing it as “frivolous and flimsy.”
Ajayi maintained that those raising the alarm over next Saturday’s congress were “strangers who have no idea of the workings within the party.”
He assured members that everyone would be given a level playing ground.
He further said the congress committee set up by the state was “working round and meeting stakeholders within the party towards ensuring a free, fair, and transparent congress that would usher in new leaders at the ward level.”
The APC in Ekiti State is divided into two camps, a situation that is believed to have developed because of the perceived 2023 presidential ambitions of the national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu, and Fayemi.
The group loyal to Tinubu comes under the umbrella of the South West Agenda (SWAGA) led by Dayo Adeyeye, who is the campaign lead for Tinubu’s ‘candidacy’ for 2023.
This movement has been resisted by the party’s leadership in the state, and it had made moves to sanction and suspend promoters of the group in the state.
Ojudu is known to be sympathetic to SWAGA and had vehemently criticised the state party for “persecuting” members of the group.