By Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
As the Social Democratic Party (SDP) governorship primary election holds in Ekiti State Thursday, crisis is now brewing in the party, as a former deputy governor, Mr. Bisi Omoyeni, has boycotted the exercise, citing allegations of fraud and manipulation by the party’s top hierarchy.
Omoyeni, a former Group Managing Director of Wema Bank Plc, and deputy governor to Governor Ayodele Fayose during his first term in office, appealed to the SDP national leadership to postpone the election and order a rerun.
The former deputy governor accused the State Working Committee of deregistering his supporters in all the 16 local government areas.
Omoyeni defected to the party from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2017, after Fayose adopted his deputy, Prof Kolapo Olusola, as the sole candidate of the party.
At a press conference in Ado Ekiti on Thursday, Omoyeni and the director general of his campaign organisation, Mr. Ayo Adekola, called for the postponement of the exercise in the spirit of fairness, justice and equity.
The ex-Ekiti number two man added that he had earlier called for the zoning of the governorship slot to the south and Ikere Ekiti, where he hails from in particular, to compensate for the loss suffered by Dr. Kola Adeniyan in 2014.
Adeniyan, who had secured SDPâ€™s ticket at that time had later fallen ill before the ticket was given to another man from the central to contest the June 21, 2014 governorship election.
Omoyeni said: â€œAs I speak to you, many of my supporters in Ikere Ekiti and other councils were being denied access to the register and this was on the day of the primary.
â€œIt is sad that my supporters have been systematically deregistered and excluded. Every aspirant must have access to the register. Even Ikere, my town has no register as we speak, the person they gave it to did not allow us access.
â€œLet me say this, I have told our party leaders to correct all these anomalies before Thursday or postpone the exercise.
â€œAs these continue to persist, I have no option than to withdraw from the race.â€
Omoyeni clarified that his stand that consensus should be adopted in picking the candidate does not portray him as a coward, saying he was well fortified and equipped to compete with any of the aspirants.
In a speech presented by the director general of his campaign outfit, Adekola, he hinted that consensus could have been the most appropriate and justifiable way to settle the differences in view of the fact that the whole executive structures of the party from the ward to the state levels were appointed.
â€œHow can those who were appointed be thinking of election? I expect that zoning could have been the best option, especially to Ikere town, where our candidate in 2014 came from,â€ he said.
â€œWe want to also note that most of our members have been denied a sense of belonging because they donâ€™t have cards and their names are not in the register.
â€œWe want to remind the present executive that they got there through consensus and the elders of the party have not broken any law by opting for consensus,â€ he added.