Ahead of the scheduled Ekiti governorship primaries in April, some aspirants in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have warned that the party stands to lose the coming governorship election if the governor, Ayo Fayose, is allowed to impose his candidate on the party.
They also called on the National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, to put in place a process that would ensure free and fair primaries.
The aspirants include the senator representing Ekiti South senatorial district, Biodun Olujimi; former Minister of Works, Adedayo Adeyeye; former Nigerian Ambassador to Canada, Dare Bejidej and the immediate past Commissioner for Justice, Owoseeni Ajayi.
Mr. Fayose has already endorsed his deputy, Kolapo Olusola, as the PDP’s flag bearer for the election, in spite of stiff opposition from other aspirants.
The governor had clarified that his endorsement did not preclude other aspirants from contesting for the ticket.
But the aggrieved aspirants have called for the dissolution of the State Working Committee (SWC), led by Gboyega Oguntuase and establishment of a caretaker committee to conduct the primaries.
Speaking on behalf of the aspirants on Tuesday in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, Mr. Adeyeye on said the aspirants reject the adoption of Mr. Olusola as the sole candidate of the for the July 14 governorship election.
He called on the National Chairman of the party to exclude Mr. Fayose and the State Chairman of the party, Gboyega Oguntuase from partaking in the conduct of the primary, saying the “duo have already compromised, they have taken positions and cannot be fair to all the aspirants.”
“The State Working Committee (SWC) having betrayed its expected neutrality role, should be disqualified in the process leading to the gubernatorial primary in April. We demand for a caretaker committee to replace them for the state,” he said.
“Governor Fayose has pitched his tent with Prof Olusola and he should be disqualified from playing any role.
The relevant provisions of the electoral Act and the PDP constitution should be followed strictly and arbitrary and illegal use of state apparatus like radio and television stations to subvert the truth must stop.”
Mr. Adeyeye also advised Mr. Secondus to act fast and checkmate Mr. Fayose to prevent the loss the PDP suffered in Ondo during its last governorship election.
Ms. Olujimi, in her comments, said to undermine her and her co-aspirants would attract dire consequences for the party.
“Whoever says we are politicians that can be wished away will have himself to blame, the result will be grievous,” she said.
“We don’t want to lose Ekiti but Governor Fayose is messing up the whole process. It was because people like us worked hard in 2014 that made the 16-0 possible for PDP.
“Prof Olusola was only a beneficiary of our sweat , he didn’t contribute anything and now he wants to be adopted against the party’s constitution, this we will not accept.”
Messrs. Owoseeni and Bejide , who spoke separately on the ‘unconstitutionality’ of Mr. Fayose’s imposition, cited Section 50(1) ( 2) and 50(2b) of the PDP constitution. They argued that the governor and the SWC had no role whatsoever to play in the conduct of primary.
“Allowing the governor to have his way in a crude manner may spell doom for the party,” Mr. Owoseeni said.