Demise of Ondo PDP Chairman

Demise of Ondo PDP Chairman

Fidelis David reports that Peoples Democratic Party as the major opposition party in Ondo State has a chance to record an upset in the 2024 Ondo governorship poll but wonders if this could still be realized following the death of its Chairman, Mr Fatai Adams.

The death of the Chairman of the Ondo State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Fatai Adams, seems to have settled the discord between the National Working Committee (NWC) and the State Working Committee of the party.

Last Wednesday, the state PDP Chairman died in a private hospital in Akure, the state capital after a brief illness. The deceased was suspended as state Chairman of the party on January 2, 2024 by PDP executive officers in the state for alleged anti party activities and engaging in activities likely to bring the party to disrepute.

Members of the State Working Committee (SWC), linked Adams’ suspension to his involvement in anti-party activities.

The suspension of the late chairman was signed by nine of the 10 members of the SWC, including Tola Alabere, Dayo Awude, Oluseye Olujimi, Amos Fadope, Moses Awofade, Boluwaji Bamidele, Olawumi Fasonu, Dare Akinwale and Kennedy Peretei.

“Pursuant to section 58(1) (b. c, f, h and i) of the PDP constitution as amended in 2017, the State Working Committee has approved the suspension of the State Chairman, Mr Fatai Adams, for anti-party activities and for engaging in activities likely to bring the party to disrepute.

“He is accordingly advised to appear before the State Disciplinary Committee of the party for further interrogations within the next one week.The party wishes to state emphatically that it will deal decisively with any incursion by the ruling party, the APC, into its ranks.”

But in a reaction, the National Working Committee of the party rejected Adams’ suspension, stating that it is not consistent with the provisions of its constitution and laid down rules.

PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, said the party’s national working committee declared the said suspension null and void and of no effect.

According to him: “For emphasis, no State Working Committee has the power whatsoever to contemplate or suspend a state chairman without due recourse to the National Working Committee as provided by the Constitution of the PDP. The PDP is an organised political party governed by strict adherence to the provisions of its Constitution and rules and will not allow any individual or group at any level to violate its Constitution and rules.”

On January 4,  despite the position of the NWC, the state working committee defied the NWC and appointed  Mr Tola Alabere, as the acting chairman of the party in the state.

Therefore, his death came 43 days after he was suspended from the party.

Adams was a Member of the Ondo State House of Assembly (2007-2011). He was elected State Chairman in August 2020 and  also served as Deputy State Chairman of the PDP in the State.

Reacting to his death, the Ondo chapter of the PDP said it is shocked and devastated by Adams’ death. The party’s spokesman, Kennedy Peretei, said his transition at the trying time of the party is not only sad but traumatic.

“His transition at this trying time of the party is not only sad but traumatic. The State Working Committee (SWC) of the party has declared a three-day mourning period. Party flags are to fly at half mast and all party Secretariats shut for the period across the state.”

Adams Played Politics Without Bitterness

Pronto, Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa  commiserated with the leadership and members of the PDP in the sate over the demise of Adams.

The governor, in a statement by his spokesman, Ebenezer Adeniyan, described the late Adams as a complete gentleman who as a leader of opposition in the state played politics without bitterness and as a member of the State House of Assembly contributed his quota to the development of the State.

Aiyedatiwa described the death of Adams as a great loss to the political family, the people of Irun Akoko, Akoko North West and Ondo State.

Tunji-Ojo Expresses Shock

Minister of Interior,  Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo also described the death of Fatai Adams as an irreparable loss to the state.

Tunji-Ojo, who noted that the late politician would be missed for his impact in the state and beyond, said “I received with great shock, the death of my Egbon and the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ondo state, Hon. Fatai Adams. This is a huge loss to Ondo state and its people. While alive, Fatai Adams was a member of the Ondo state House of Assembly and he served our state meritoriously. He made lots of impactful contributions during his lifetime to the growth and development of Ondo state.

“I commiserate with the people of Irun Akoko and Ondo at large. I pray that God will grant him eternal rest and also give his family, friends and associates the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.”

Can Ondo Come Under PDP’s Rule in Next Election?

Be that as it may, the questions begging for answers in the minds of residents of the state are, can Ondo become the next South-west state to come under the rule of the PDP, after Oyo and Osun? What is the provision of PDP’s constitution in situations like this?

Answering questions from THISDAY on the earlier suspension of the deceased by the SWC, the state Publicity Secretary of the party, Kennedy Peretei said certain issues can no longer be raised after the death of Adams.

“The man is late, so certain issues can no longer be raised. For example, of you take somebody to court and the person die in the process, the court will not proceed with the matter.

“So, it is a painful exit for us and we never wished him dead. If you want to put it in the other way round, there are always issues of this nature but it’s not supposed to lead to death but it’s unfortunate that he’s dead now. So, it’s impossible to begin to open that matter now.

Position of the constitution

On who leads the party following Adam’s death, Peretei explained that the position of the constitution of PDP in section 35 says that in the case of death or removal, the party provides for the executive to make replacement from the zone where the late person comes from.

“Now, that he has been buried according to Islamic rites, the next line of action will be taken. Even though, before his demise, the deputy chairman had already been empowered as the next man in the line of authority.

“The way our constitution is structured, after the chairman, we have the deputy chairman. So, in the absence of the former, the latter acts. So, the deputy chairman in this case will act in the position of the chairman pending the time the substantive chairman is put in place through a wide range of consultation because it is not a decision that individuals can take.

“It is to be taken by state executives and the state congress is supposed to ratify the position. Unfortunately, this executive members have a very short time to go. I think our tenure expires on the 3rd of August. But, I don’t know the decision which the executive committee is going to take in this matter. Whether they will speedily fill that position or they will ask the acting chairman to continue to spend the unexpired tenure of the late chairman. That is still a matter for conjecture, a matter for the state executive committee to look into.

“He has passed on at a very difficult time and the fact that he was suspended before his death has also created some kind of vacuum within the system but you know, death is a necessary end.

Next Thing Is To Move On.

“Normally, people will feel bad, especially, for the fact that he was a young man. But, when it comes to overall activities, you know, it could have been any of us. It could have been me or you. So, once a situation like this happens, as much as we commiserate with the family and the entire PDP family, the next thing is to move on.

“You don’t stay at the spot where your mate stay and begin to lament. You have to move on, especially when there are other things like elections looking at us. So, as painful as the death is, we must still move on. We can’t stay at that spot and begin to lament.”

Now,  Adams is gone and may his soul rest in peace. But,  first, Ondo PDP needs to sit tight if it really wish to win the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo. The party must have a rethink because the number of defectors from the party to the ruling APC in the last two years is quite demoralizing.

Basically, the party has to make the critical choice of who, among the contending personalities, gets their governorship ticket and must know that the only winning formula for PDP in the coming gubernatorial election in Ondo State is for the Party’s candidate to emerge from the Southern senatorial district of the state.

This is because, it must learn from  the ugly experience that happened in 2017 when the then governor of Ondo state, Dr. Mimiko tried to alter the rule by imposing his kinsman, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) from the same district, after eight years of uninterrupted tenure, as the flag bearer of the party.

No doubt, it was this a development that led to the dwindling fortunes of the PDP in Ondo State, which consequently resulted to its abysmal failure in the 2016 and 2020 Ondo State governorship polls.

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