Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
As the Social Democratic Party (SDP) governorship primary election holds in Ekiti State yesterday, crisis is now brewing in the party as former state Deputy Governor, Mr. Bisi Omoyeni, has boycotted the exercise, citing allegations of fraud and manipulations by party top hierarchy .
Omoyeni former Group Managing Director of the Wema Bank and Deputy Governor to Ayodele Fayose in his first term in office, appealed to SDP national leadership to annul the election and order a rerun.
The former deputy governor accused the State Working Committee (SWC) of deregistering his supporters in all the 16 local government areas.
Omoyeni defected to the party from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since 2017, after Fayose adopted his deputy, Prof Kolapo Olusola, as the sole candidate of the party.
At a press conference in Ado Ekiti yesterday, Omoyeni and the Director General of his campaign organisation, Ayo Adekola, called for the postponement of the exercise in the spirit of fairness, justice and equity.
He added that he had earlier called for the zoning of the governorship slot to the South and Ikere Ekiti, where he hails from 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 council areas 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€œI have told our party leaders to correct all these anomalies before today (yesterday) or postpone the exercise.
â€œAs these continue to persist, I have no other option than to withdraw from the race,â€ he said.
Omoyeni clarified that his stand that consensus should be adopted in picking the candidate didnâ€™t 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 organisation, 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 executive structure 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.