All eyes are on the National leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) as the party prepares to nominate its candidate for the July 14 Ekiti governorship election.
The governorship primary scheduled on Tuesday, May 8, will no doubt be a litmus test for the opposition party in its quest to retain Ekiti in its kitty in the run-up to the 2019 general election.
Ahead of the nomination of the party’s standard bearer, tension has been mounting in the state chapter of the PDP.
The Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose had in September last year openly endorsed his deputy, Professor Olusola Kolapo, as his preferred choice as the next governor of the state.
Expectedly, the deputy governor’s endorsement did go down well with the other aspirants.
In the aftermath of the endorsement, four governorship hopefuls namely: former Minister of State for Works and immediate past PDP national spokesman, Prince Dayo Adeyeye; Senate Minority Whip and former Deputy Governor, Senator Biodun Olujimi; former Secretary to the State Government and former High Commissioner to Canada, Ambassador Dare Bejide and former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Owoseni Ajayi came together to denounce the governor’s action, describing it as undemocratic.
However, Fayose, who is also the chairman, PDP Governors’ Forum has not wavered in his support for Kolapo. Speaking at a political event earlier in the year, the Ekiti governor said “the PDP has taken a position; I say we have taken a position and we have no apologies for that and the position is that Olusola should take over after me as the governor of Ekiti.
“It doesn’t matter to us how many people that are abusing us because of our action. They are even free to join our adversaries, but we will defeat them as God liveth.”
In protest, Bejide, Ajayi and some other governorship hopefuls have defected to other political parties in pursuit of their gubernatorial ambition.
Apart from Kolapo, the two others in the struggle for the PDP governorship ticket are Adeyeye, and Fayose’s former deputy, Olujimi.
The Minister of State for Works and Olujimi have pointedly accused the Ekiti governor of using state and party machinery to intimidate their supporters.
Speaking at separate interviews with journalists in Abuja, the duo said the decision of Governor Fayose to openly endorse his deputy for the governorship ticket of the PDP and by extension, the governorship seat, has created an atmosphere of fear in the state.
According to Adeyeye, “so, many party members are so afraid in associating themselves with other aspirants apart from the one anointed by the governor. But we are not bothered about all that, we are still confident that we are going to win.
“This is not the right time to contest for the governorship in any state where the entire body of the party has been deployed against you. And party members are being intimidated and harassed on daily basis just for no other reason that they are supporting you.”
Olujimi also concurs. However, she said no one can bully her out of the governorship race. “All aspirants are being intimidated, but I can’t be intimidated at all. Many of our people have defected because of what they are going through. The governor was biased; the party in the state was biased.
“All other former deputy governors aspiring for the position have left because of high handedness because they are been harassed, because they are been intimidated. I can’t leave the party because of anybody; I can’t go to any other party.”