Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
More facts emerged at the weekend why nembers of the Ekiti State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party are locked in a battle to strip a former governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose of the party leadership in the state.
A source within the party, who craved anonymity revealed that those perceived to be Fayose’s dyed-in-the-wool loyalists were up in arms against him owing to alleged high-handedness in the way he handled the party between 2014 and 2018 as governor.
The party source, who is a member of the State Working Committee, said Fayose’s alleged penchant to undermine party chieftains was responsible for the stiff opposition to his leadership in the party.
The party leader regretted that Fayose allegedly stifled members of SWC and party top hierarchy at the local government level, by starving them of funds.
He said: “the former governor did not only stifle and degrade the SWC members, commissioners under him were pauperised to the level that some could hardly make ends meet.
“Even at the House of Assembly, the situation was not different. The Speaker then, Hon Kola Oluwawole was just there as a figure head. This was an open secret, because the governor at various fora proclaimed that the lawnakers were his surrogates.
“Do you know that with the exception of a member of the the House of Assembly and one super special assistant in Fayose’s cabinet then, all other appointees left the government poorer than they came.
“Even Oluwawole and the commissioners appointed by Fayose were taking orders from this highly influential former honourable member and the super special assistant . “That was why Fayose’s strong allies like Kehinde Odebunmi, Tope Fasanmi , Musa Arogundade, Lanre Ogunsusi, Dr Tope Aluko, Bunmi.Olugbade, the PDP chairman in Ekiti, Chief Gboyega Oguntuase and other SWC members ditched the former governor and joined Senator Biodun Olujimi’s camp.
“They are tired of politics of lies and deception and they are fighting a liberation war. Though, Fayose has not seen anything yet. He will see serious opposition during the next party congress.
He will know during the congress that people are wiser now. He will know that he had lost so much relevance in the party”, he said.
Inkling that the party was embroiled in deep rooted crisis came to the fore last week when Fayose summoned a meeting of all the party leaders at his Afao Ekiti countryhome and pleaded with aggrieved members to forgive his iniquities and forge a common front to rescue the party from obscurity.
At the meeting held at Fayose’s behest, the former fovernor denied the allegation that those who served under him , both elected and appointed were pauperised .
The governor revealed that nembers of the assembly benefited several millions of naira from him individually, describing the allegation as a bunkum, lacking in facts and substances.
Startling revelation emerged on Thursday that all was not well within the party , as the PDP State Chairman, Gboyega Oguntuase , accused Fayose of being allegedly responsible for the fraudulent sale of the new party secretariat built at Ajilosun area of Ado Ekiti metropolis to his crony.
“To the best of my knowledge as chairman of the party, and to the knowledge of many SWC members, we have not sold the secretariat. I want to tell you that any document they say they have, is absolute falsehood. It is true he approached me to sign a document, but I told him, it was going to be a disservice to the party .
“I still stand by that. Those who are claiming to be Fayose’s, can’t be more Fayose than us. But we know where to draw the line of respect for party leaders, and the truth and godliness.
“I told him I can’t sign and I did not sign. God of heaven knows that that was exactly what transpired in his house. He even asked me what I want to take and I told him I cant take such a sacrilegious offering.
“Our property if it has been sold via fraud, shall be recovered through legal action that will be taken by this party. We have received assurances from loyal party leaders that they are with us. If they put somebody signature, it must have been signature got through another transaction to have an appearance of legality.
“It is trite in law that the expression of your mind is germane to the making of any document. My mind never signed, the action of signing was not done by me. And I can’t sign a document that I don’t know the buyer. I never met the buyer”.
On the claim by Fayose that the property was sold at foundation level, Oguntuase said: “ but we monitored the construction up to the second and third floor. So, it is untrue that we have sold the property and if the governor has done it, he should retrace his step and surrender the document to the party. Up till now, all the documents are with Fayose. If we have sold the property, the document will be in our custody”.
But the state’s Legal Adviser to the PDP, Sunday Olowolafe faulted the party’s chairman, Gboyega Oguntuase on his allegation against ex-governor Fayose that he has case to answer on the alleged sale of the party’s secretariat complex.
According to him, Oguntuase’s allegation was ridiculous, unfounded and baseless.
He said two documents which showed that the party’s State Working Committee (SWC) got a refund of N25 million from one Mrs. Rachael O.B Ajayi on January 18, 2017, had absolved Fayose of the allegation
Olowolafe who confirmed that the three signatures on the said documents were that of himself, Oguntuwase and secretary of the parry, Pastor Tope Adejorin, said Oguntuase was being clever by half with his denial and unfounded allegation against Fayose.
“It has come to my knowledge, the inglorious lies, perfidious statements and unacceptable press release credited to Barrister Gboyega Oguntuase, the PDP Party Chairman in Ekiti State on the alleged sale of the PDP proposed secretariat in Ekiti State by the former Governor, Dr. Ayodele Fayose.
“It is trite to state that as the State Legal Adviser of the party that I am privy to all documentary transactions and in custody of duplicate of same, more so that the party cannot purchase nor sell any property without my knowledge and involvement.
“ It is also important to state that I have been in office to complete my predecessor’s tenure before Gboyega Oguntuwase was assisted into office as party chairman by Dr. Ayodele Fayose, therefore, I am much more in a privileged position to speak on issues especially those that border on documentation and those that transcend his ascension into office.
“ True leaders preserve progress, they do not divide but build and sustain on relationship but in this instance, the reverse is the case with Mr. Chairman because of present pecuniary gain by his new found political allies.
“The so called sale of the Peoples Democratic Party’s property has been the praise song of his deluded mind for sometimes now, to score a very cheap political points against the personality of the former governor Ayodele Fayose.
“Over time, the grandstanding of the party chairman has been unbecoming, as if the acts and reasons for the sale of the property by the party executives was done in secret, immediately after the foundation level during the legal tussle between Sheriff Vs. Markafi and without recourse to the appropriate authorities concerned.
“ Whereas Oguntuase a lawyer like myself was fully a party to this sale upon assumption of office to complete the proposition by his predecessor in office, Chief Idowu Faleye whereas the original owner of the property reneged to fulfill her undertaking to produce the deed of release on the mortgaged property.
“ This necessitated the chairman signing the letter of ‘acceptance of refund’ dated the 18th of January, 2017, and if he wants to deny his signature, he should proceed to the court rather than his comical entertainment of the public at the expense of the party’s image.
The same letter was also signed by the PDP State Secretary Pastor Tope Adejorin and my humble self as the legal Adviser.
“ Moreso when the proceed of the sale was remitted into the party’s account in Heritage Bank and same was acknowledged by the party. Yet he claimed not to be aware, all in his desperation to malign Fayose, his benefactor despite incontrovertible documentary evidences. The party members should be wary of him and the National Exco should please call him to order. “