Fayose, Adeyeye renew hostility
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
A total of 2,092 delegates will today choose the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate for the July 14 gubernatorial election in Ekiti State.
The delegates are made up of 1,585 statutory delegates and 457 ad hoc delegates.
This was confirmed to journalists in Abuja by the party National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, on Monday in Abuja.
The 1, 585 statutory delegates are drawn from party officers, current and past elected councillors, council chairman, former State Working Committee (SWC) members, members of the National Assembly, former federal lawmakers, former speakers, serving and former members of NEC who are still members of the party and former governors, while ad hoc delegates consist of the three delegates elected from each of the wards in the state.
Already, three aspirants have been cleared by the PDP screening committee for the primaries of the party.
The aspirants are the incumbent state Deputy Governor, Prof. Olusola Kolapo Eleka; Senator Abiodun Olujimi and immediate past National Publicity Secretary of the party, Prince Dayo Adeyeye.
Addressing journalists, Ologbondiyan said the three aspirants had agreed to accept the outcome of the primaries and to support whoever emerges as the candidate.
The National Publicly Secretary of the party explained that all the 51 appointees of the state governor who contested as delegates for primaries and won at the ward level have been dropped because they did not resign their appointments before contesting for delegates slots.
He said the three aspirants in the race for the PDP ticket are so far happy with arrangements for the primary, mainly because the national leadership of the party has been sticking to the rules and guidelines of the party.
â€œWe want to assure you that there will be peace in Ekiti State. Our only concern is hoodlums from the other parties, but they will not have access to the venue.
â€œThe processes leading to the primary are very transparent and that is why there have not been any complaints from them.
â€œThe party is desirous of sticking to the rules and making sure popular candidate emerges,â€ he said.
The state governorship electoral committee is headed by Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, while the party Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, will preside over the appeal committee.
All other members of the National Working Committee (NWC) are also members of the appeal committee which would sit in Abuja next Thursday.
Meanwhile, the national leadership of the PDP has charged delegates of the governorship primary as well as members and its supporters in the state to continue to ensure a smooth and hitch-free exercise today.
The party in a statement issued by its spokesman urged all stakeholders, particularly, the aspirants to exhibit the spirit of sportsmanship and commitment towards having a peaceful, free and credible process.
According to him, â€œThe leadership of the party restates its stand to continue in the highest level of transparency and to ensure an all-inclusive playing ground for all aspirants in all the processes leading to the governorship primary.
â€œFurthermore, the party charges all our members in the state to remain vigilant and give no space to external forces, who might be used by the opposition to attempt to disrupt the peace of the state, having realised that we are coasting to victory.â€
However, the primary will renew the hostility between Governor Ayodele Fayose and former Minister of Works, Adeyeye.
Fayose had last year endorsed his deputy, Olusola, through the State Working Committee (SWC), led by Mr. Gboyega Oguntuase as the sole candidate of the party.
Adeyeye, Olujimi and former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Owoseeni Ajayi, who had withdrawn from the race, had fought back.
At a joint press conference by the trio, they averred that it was antithetical to democratic tenets for them to have been precluded from the race, even if Fayose had a preference.
Adeyeye, who spoke on behalf of the aggrieved aspirants, posited that they would fight on until the party retraces its step and remove the ceiling put on their aspirations.
The premonition that crisis might erupt in the primary resonated during the state congresses of the party where allegations of fraud were raised by some interested parties against the conduct of the election.
The crisis festered to the point that the NWC set up Senator David Mark reconciliation committee to mediate in the matter.
Shortly after then, Fayose changed gear and told the public that he remained committed to the sustenance of democratic norms
Adeyeye boasted that except the process is manipulated, he remains a candidate to beat in the election.
While declaring his intention for the seat, Adeyeye said nobody has the right under the 1999 Constitution to guillotine the aspirations of others, except the court of law on account of not eligible to contest.
â€œNobody can stop my aspiration. I am qualified by age, education and I have the mental capacity to hold any exalted office in Nigeria.â€
The PDP Publicity Secretary in Ekiti, Mr. Jackson Adebayo, said all is set for smooth conduct of the primary that may either make or mar the chances of the party in the state.
Adebayo promised that the election would be free, fair and credible contrary to fear being nursed by members.