Ekiti PDP in search of redemption ahead of 2026 governorship poll

The PDP in Ekiti State has been afflicted with what is now looking like an unending crisis that makes the once ruling party to be at crossroad where all the gains of the past have been eroded. The party has lost its soul to the struggle by people with vested interest.

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Today the political party, which was once controlling all the state and federal legislative seats, as well as the governorship, could not boast of any elective position even at the local government level.

What was more, going by the results of the 2022 and 2023 elections in the state, the PDP now occupies a distance third position because a breakaway faction of the party led by former governor, Chief Segun Oni which metamorphosed into the Social Democratic Party (SDP), came second in the governorship election held 18th June 2022. By the early morning of 19 June, when collation was completed and INEC declared the then APC candidate, Oyebanji as the victor after scoring about 187,000 votes and 53%, while Oni who recently decamped to SDP then scored 82,000 votes and 23% of the vote cast, Bisi Kolawole of the PDP came third with about 67,000 votes and 19% of the votes respectively.

The crisis has almost left the party prostrate that today, there is no known visible structure of PDP in the state. Also as fallout of the crisis, the party has been in and out of court where the combatants are struggling to use the instrumentality of the law to outwit themselves.

Although, it is difficult to be definite about the genesis of the crisis in the party, but it could be recalled that the supremacy battle between leaders of PDP, especially between the camps of a former governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose and Senator Biodun Olujimi escalated the crisis.

However, the crisis appears to have festered beyond these two political leaders. It has assumed a life of its own. Today, to say that Ekiti PDP is totally in disarray is an understatement. Most of the leaders of the party are either sitting on the fence or are tacitly supporting the APC and Governor Biodun Oyebanji, while the vast majority of members are rudderless and like sheep without shepherd. In a clime where party political patronage seems to be like a vocation, many members are grasping for breath of survival and wondering how long they would remain in the political wilderness foisted on them by their leaders.

As the party is seeking redemption ahead of future elections, particularly the 2026 governorship poll, there are stumbling blocks and bumps that could hinder it from achieving its goal. Despite past efforts to ease the former governor, Ayodele Fayose, considered by many as a stumbling block out of the party, the PDP seems to have met a brick wall.

Recall that the caretaker committee put in charge of the state chapter in 2023, had convened a stakeholders meeting in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, before it was sacked by the court, where leaders and members of the party from the 16 Local Government Areas of the state brainstormed on the challenges and proffered solutions to the issues.

Those in attendance at the meeting held January 2024 included former chairmen of the party, Gboyega Oguntuase and Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe. The South-West zonal publicity secretary, Chief Sanya Atofarati, representatives of PDP Central Working Committee and State Executives were also in attendance.

Top on resolutions from the meeting was the stakeholders’ call on the National Working Committee to expel Fayose from the PDP in order for the state chapter of the party to come back to life again.

The resolutions, which was signed by the caretaker publicity secretary, Chief Olalekan Amerijoye read: “Attendees unabashedly addressed the issue of former Governor Ayodele Fayose, who, on multiple occasions, declared the demise of PDP in Ekiti and openly pledged eight years of consecutive governance to the ruling party, APC; to counteract this detrimental narrative, stakeholders called upon PDP’s national body to expel Fayose from the party.

They firmly believed that his conduct not only undermined PDP’s standing in Ekiti State but also tarnished her reputation nationwide.

The national leadership of the PDP that was expected to take the bold decision is itself afflicted by the same malaise. But for the recently held National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting which gave the party lifeline, The party at the national level has been unable to put its act together after the unprecedented crisis spearheaded by the Group of 5 governors led by the then Governor of Rivers State, Nyelsom Wike.

All has not been well with the party since the crisis broke out before the 2023 general election. This explains why the national leadership has been unable to wield the big stick. Recently, another group of eminent party leaders (stakeholders) in an effort to forge a common front met and called on leaders of the party to stop bickering, close their ranks and form a strong force ahead of both the state and national elections.

Notable leaders of the party which came together under the umbrella of Ekiti Coalition of PDP Stakeholders urged the warring groups in the lingering crisis rocking the party both at the state and national level, to bury their hatchets and give peace a chance in the interest of the party.

These were parts of the communiqué issued by the stakeholders at the end of a meeting held in Ado-Ekiti and signed by 50 members including Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe, former Acting governor Tunji Odeyemi, Barrister Gboyega Oguntuase, Kehinde Odebunmi, local government party chairmen, among others.

In the communiqué which was read by the PDP former State Publicity Secretary, Mr. Jackson Adebayo, the stakeholders said that it was time for all the leaders to come together and dislodge the ruling All Progressives Congress from power. The group passed a confidence vote on the PDP State Working Committee (SWC) under chairmanship of Engr. Agboola Alaba, while calling on all members of the party to support his resolve to rebuild the party ahead of future elections.

The communiqué reads in parts: “Ekiti Coalition of PDP Stakeholders is in total support of everything that will bring peace back to our party in Ekiti State. The Coalition appealed to every leader and group within PDP to stop fanning any ember of discord and to sheath their swords in the overall interest of the party and its teeming members.

“The Coalition reiterated our support and commitment to the success of the Ekiti State Chairman of PDP, Engr Alaba Agboola, and encouraged him to do more in his numerous reconciliation efforts to further unite the party. The Coalition lauded the leader of PDP in Ekiti State, Senator Biodun Olujimi for her great efforts as the rallying point for our party in Ekiti State, which has assisted in no small measure to strengthen the party and further reconciled numerous aggrieved members.

“The meeting also appreciated the efforts of our National leaders of the party, particularly His Excellency Atiku Abubakar and the NWC, and encourage them to do more to give the party a clear direction to success, which is needed most at this crucial period”, it added.

However, the big question is whether the stakeholders have factored the interest of Fayose in their troubleshooting efforts. Fayose has not hidden his support for Oyebanji, he has spoken about it on many occasions for those who care to listen that the governor who is a member of APC deserves a second term in office.

To some political analysts, Fayose’s open endorsement was a subtle attempt to foreclosed the future ambition of the party to take over power. So, with stakeholders seeking reconciliation and redemption on one hand and Fayose considered as a major pillar and stakeholder in PDP singing a different tune, the future of the party seems uncertain.

This was why the Kayemo News sought the opinion of the State Publicity Secretary of the Party, Raphael Adeyanju on the state of affairs of the party. According to him, party reconciliation is on course. He said that since the Congress of PDP is not holding soon and the date has not been determined yet by the national working committee (NWC), “before then we will continue to perform our official duties and make sure that the party is well positioned to take over government from the ruling party.

Speaking on the crisis rocking the PDP in Ekiti State, Adeyanju said the crisis of the party started during the last gubernatorial primary election. “The Oni group had accused former governor Ayodele Fayose of imposing a very weak candidate in order for the APC to win the general election.

“They alleged that he sold the mandate of the party. They pulled out to join the SDP. We lost the election and subsequent developments confirmed the allegation of the Oni group that Fayose actually traded off the party.”

Also speaking on the ongoing reconciliation, he said the Oni group has been reintegrated back to the party. “But the Fayose group is still enjoying their honeymoon with the ruling party. He is no longer ruling the party. As far as we are concerned in Ekiti, he is not a member of our party. We don’t know why the National Working Committee has not expelled him.

“Fayose used to be one of the leaders of the party, perhaps loudest. He is no longer the sole administrator of the party, so if he decides to leave the party officially the party will move on. As of today, he is a liability to the PDP. His actions and utterances project him as the enemy of the party. How do you explain it? A supposed leader of a party boasting of sabotaging his own party during the last presidential election? He has also openly endorsed an opposition governor that has barely spent a year in office.

“Fayose is openly fraternizing with opposition APC, while remaining in the party, is he too big to be sanctioned? “The sole aim of any political party in opposition is to wrestle political power from the ruling party. If you are in an opposition and you are working for the ruling party, then you are not a member of that party.

“It is unethical to remain in that party as a mole. You are nothing but a fraud ‘I can assure you that we will put our house in order, reposition the party for a better future. The electorate are looking up to us to save the citizens from the APC misgovernance. Some group of stakeholders have been meeting to chat the way forward, the list of the people involved are very important chieftains of the party, they normally have their meetings at senator Awoyelu house.

“He is a respected member of the party. He is one of the founders of our party. We need his guidance. If you look at the current situation of the country, you will agree that the country needs urgent rescue from the present ruling party. So we encourage different groups and stakeholders to come together for the purpose of repositioning the party to restore the hope of Ekiti people.” Adeyanju said.

However, a political associate of Fayose who preferred to speak on condition of anonymity, cautioned the party stakeholders not to dismiss the relevance of the former governor if the PDP both at the state and the national level.

“If truly the party wants to make headway in the future, it must reconcile with Fayose. I can assure you that as a leader he is not opposed to genuine reconciliation. He has helped the party to win elections in the past even when it seems that all hopes were lost.”

On his support for Oyebanji, the associate said it is his democratic right to support whoever he wishes. “That decision is personal to him. He has not said that PDP won’t field a candidate for future governorship election. We need him in the party to join hands with other leaders for the PDP to move forward in Ekiti.”

In another development the party recently held it’s first unity meeting, which was took place at the state party Secretariat, the state Publicity Secretary, Raphael Adeyanju, said the leaders of the party unanimously agreed to unite as one, work together and take over government from APC.

“The leaders further decided to work more on unity and reconciliations and nominated Hon Kehinde Odebunmi as the chairman of the reconciliation committee, to work together with 3 other members each from the 3-Senatorial district, with a mandate to resolve all disagreements at all levels within the party.

“The party leaders also sensitized and showed their readiness to participate fully in the incoming PDP ward and LG Congresses and promised to work together and mobilize extensively for the success of the Congresses and the rejuvenation of the party back to winning ways.”

According to Adeyanju, in attendance at the meeting, are party leaders and stakeholders across all the LG government of the state among which are; the State Chairman of the Party, serving BOT members of the party, former Acting Governor of Ekiti State, former Senators, former Members House of Reps, former Speakers and former EKHA members. Others included the former State Chairmen of the party, former and serving State Excos, Former SW Zonal Chairman of the party, serving Zonal Publicity Secretary of the party, other serving SW Zonal officials from Ekiti state, LG party Chairmen, former LG Council Chairmen, Senatorial Chairmen, former SW Zonal officials and other notable leaders across the state

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