The suspension of the former Ekiti State governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose and some chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state took a new dimension Thursday as the South-west zone of the party nullified the suspension.
While the zone maintained that it would not fold its hands and allow individual interest to destroy the party as the 2014 governorship election draws nearer in the state, the state Chairman of the party, Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe, in a swift reaction, declared that the South-west Caretaker Committee of the party had no constitutional power to lift the indefinite suspension placed on the former governor and three others.
Apparently unperturbed by the intrigues trailing his suspension from the party, Fayose yesterday boasted that nobody in the state chapter of the PDP would be able to stop him from participating in the party’s governorship primary election, despite the ill-feelings being nursed by some party faithful.
But rising from a meeting of the executive committee of the party in South-west zone, the zonal executive directed that all the spate of suspensions recently announced by various groups in the state PDP was set aside and status quo ante maintained.
In a communique issued at the end of the meeting and signed by the Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the party in the zone, Chief Ishola Filani, explained that the decision to lift the suspension was taken to prevent a situation where it would spill into the election next year as a divided house.
Those who are to benefit from this rapprochement were Fayose, state Chairman of the party, Mr. Makanjuola Ogundipe; Secretary, Dr. T.K Aluko; Public Relations Officer, Mr. Kola Oluwawole; Woman Leader, Busola Oyebode; Treasurer, Deolu Aluko; Youth Leader, Taye Olatunji and Director-General, Information, Chief Gboyega Aribisangan.
According to the party, “the crisis will not add any value to the party in Ekiti but will destroy it totally.”
To avert it, Filani stated that it, “had set up a five-man committee to look into the crisis and come up with a resolution/recommendation within 10 days.”
He explained that as a prelude to the committee’s work, himself and two other Ekiti indigenes in the executive “will visit the state to ensure there is peace in the state PDP.”
The five-man committee is headed by Dr. Yomi Finnih, with Hon. Ebenezer Alabi, chairman, Ondo State chapter of the party, as secretary. Other members of the committee are Mrs. Ayoka Lawani, Chief Zaccheaus Oyekunle and Mr. Ayo Olowofoyeku.
However, Fayose, while fielding questions from journalists, after a closed-door meeting with the PDP national chairman, Dr. Bamanga Tukur, said there were plots by some of the aspirants, who were working in concert with some members of the state executive committee to impose a governorship candidate in the guise of consensus arrangement.
Fayose, who handed over several documents to Tukur over the recent crisis, which engulfed the state PDP, said the PDP state executive was wrongly capitalising on the advice of President Goodluck Jonathan for them to go for consensus candidate, if it is agreeable to all the candidates in order to reduce friction, to impose a candidate after collecting N2 million from each aspirant.
“The genesis of the crisis was as a result of the advice of Mr. President on a possible understanding of emergence of a consensus gubernatorial candidate if practicable. This has become a source of extortion leading to compromise of the state chairman and some executive members.
But in a swift reaction, the Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade, allegedly dismissed Fayose as a drowning man, desperate to drag others down with him.
Speaking through his aide, Mr. Alaba Agboola, the minister called on the leaders and members of the state PDP not to be distracted in their quest to produce a credible candidate for the party and the state.
Agboola said: “The Ekiti people are sick and tired of the culture of executive violence characterised by assassinations and killings of political opponents as witnessed in our dear state in the past.”
Meanwhile, Ogundipe, said in a statement signed by his Media Aide, Femi Omolusi, said the Zonal Exco of the PDP did not have any role to play in the suspension of any member of the party and lifting of suspension on already suspended members.
According to him, “as far as the Ekiti State PDP is concerned, Fayose, Dr. T.K Aluko, Mr. Kola Oluwawole and Busola Oyebode, stand suspended from the party and they would have to face disciplinary committee to be set up very soon.”