By Rasaq Ibrahim, Ado-Ekiti
Factional chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti, Kehinde Odebunmi has vowed he will not allow former Governor Ayo Fayose hijack the party.
Odebunmi said this at the weekend when he featured on a local programme, The Conversation, on New Cruse 92.7 FM, Ikere.
He insisted other leaders also matter in the management of the party.
The factional chairman accused the Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee (NWC) of colluding with Fayose to disallow internal democracy and freedom of choice of leaders.
He vowed that everything legally and constitutionally possible would be done to resist Fayose from hijacking the party, which he said belongs to all card-carrying members in all the 177 wards in the state.
Odebunmi accused the Secondus-led NWC of taking sides with the faction led by Fayose, which produced Hon. Bisi Kolawole as factional chairman.
He contended the NWC is a biased umpire in all the congresses in the state with its alleged collusion with Fayose to impose excos on party members without allowing free and fair election to produce new leadership.
He insisted that he remains the authentic PDP Ekiti chairman, claiming the congress which produced him was held in all the 177 wards while the one conducted by the faction loyal to Fayose held in only 155 wards.
Odebunmi, who faulted a letter allegedly written by the PDP National Secretary, Umaru Tsauri, which recognised the exco-led by Bisi Kolawole, said the letter should have been signed by the National Chairman and National Secretary or National Secretary and Organising Secretary.
He slammed Fayose for his opposition to the adoption of Oyo Governor Seyi Makinde as Southwest PDP leader, saying former Ekiti governor enjoyed same privilege during his tenure.
Odebunmi, who described Fayose’s attack on Makinde as ‘mischievous’, said the Oyo governor was chosen to occupy the position being the most senior serving political office holder in the zone.
He alleged that Fayose actions were motivated by his insatiable personal ambition, adding the ex-governor was working in cohort with some elements within and outside to usurp power of Governor Makinde and weaken the party in the southwest.
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But immediate past PDP National Vice Chairman, Southwest, Eddy Olafeso, said Fayose should be respected for saving the party from total collapse when the ruling party allegedly plotted internal crisis to destroy it.
Olafeso said Fayose towers above other leaders in the zone judging from his antecedents and contributions to the PDP’s electoral fortunes.
Olafeso who spoke in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, while meeting with the delegates on his vice chairmanship aspiration for the coming zonal congress of the party, noted that the leadership tussle between Fayose and Makinde was unwarranted.
He however said Fayose “he remains the voice of the PDP in the southwest”.
Addressing the Bisi Kolawole-led faction of the party and who were predominantly Fayose’s loyalists, Olafeso described the ex-governor as a pathfinder and leading light of the PDP in the region.
“You can see that all the immediate past zonal executive members are represented here. We are here to thank our leader, Ayodele Fayose for his support.
“He (Fayose) is our leader. We believed in him. While others were panicking and fearful to criticize President Buhari, he was with us. He remained the only voice in the wilderness.
“Fayose rescued the PDP from those who wanted to ruin the party when the late Senator Buruji Kashamu took the party to court. It was Fayose as a governor that saved the party from total ruin.
“We are very sure that we will reposition the PDP in this zone. We have visited other five states.
“No individual can appropriate the PDP in the southwest. Let us continue to support Fayose. We are very sure of victory and unity in the end”.