Ekiti 2022 and PDP South-West Congress

By Omotoso Okeya

The congress of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the southwest has come and gone. The newly elected chairman, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja defeated Dr. Eddy Olafeso with about 10 votes.

The slim victory margin signifies almost equal strength and popularity of the contenders within the PDP fold. The need for the new zonal party chairman to be magnanimous in victory cannot be overemphasised.

An important inference from the SW congress election is the fact that the Ekiti delegates amongst their counterparts from five other southwestern states gave about 85% of their votes to  Dr Eddy Olafeso, the anointed chairmanship candidate of former governor Ayo Fayose’s group. This is a political development one could reasonably use to predict what would happen in 2022 PDP governorship primary in Ekiti State. I believe that the unalloyed support and loyalty of Ekiti delegates to Fayose’s cause at Oshogbo congress is a litmus test to 2022 PDP governorship primary. They resisted all insinuations and lobbying from Governor Seyi Makinde’s side. It’s interesting to note that the majority of these delegates would be eligible voters in the governorship primary

The projection here is that, inasmuch as the delegates and party officers could not be brainwashed and bought over in Oshogbo, then it’s difficult to conclude that they would be bought or succumb to external pressures during the forthcoming governorship primary. This is an important take from the congress.

However, Ambassador Arapaja’s victory has elated much jubilation in the camps of some  aspirants in Ekiti State. They believe that, the election of Arapaja as southwest chairman of the PDP would boost their chances of winning the party ticket.

The zonal committee of the PDP is an important organ of the party, but does not organise party primaries. The power to organise party primaries is constitutionally vested in the National Working Committee. (See section 50 of the PDP Constitution). Even at that, the NWC is an unbiased umpire in this circumstance. The ruling apex body is not coming to impose any candidate on Ekiti PDP. Hence, the erroneous notion of some party members that the new zonal chairman would impose their favourite as governorship candidate is a nullity.

I personally have the opinion that, Ekiti State governor should always be determined by the Ekiti people both in the primary and general elections.

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Ekiti was created in 1996 as an autonomous state and hence shouldn’t be treated as an annex of Oyo or any other states in the southwest, nay Nigeria. The destiny of Ekiti people should be determined by the collective responsibility of the Ekiti people.

However, i do write in the hope that I would get responses. Here, a point has been made again and of course every rational writer should expect both reasonable and irresponsible divergent views and reactions after all, everyone is perfectly entitled to his or her opinion.

Funnily enough, many reactions and responses are not usually in tandem with issues or topics raised by the writers. For instance, in my last article, I actually stressed the importance of ‘structure’ in election contest, using about seven  cognate and empirical examples within the context of Ekiti politics as case study but my critics couldn’t cite a single example to corroborate their position, rather they were only talking about money and dog when they ought to have searched for relevant practical examples and use such to explain their position in the first two or three paragraphs of their writing to defend and promote their principal in respect of the issue raised (structure) before going trivial. Again, they even sent their responses to platforms I didn’t engage.! These inexperienced, overzealous and hired writers conspicuously lack the material and intellectual firepower to speak for a governorship aspirant. Am more equipped and fully loaded with information about their principal ever before he joined politics in Ekiti. But, the fact remains that am not out to vilify any aspirants, including Prof. Olubunmi Eleka, whose aides have ignorantly attacked me on my last article. But, I could hit the nail on the head without hesitating whose ox is gored when the need arises. I have bluntly told Eleka my position over his recent ambition. Why must he accused me after all, he couldn’t have brought any political empire or structure from Ife ahead of 2014 governorship election as a rookie politician

Money.! Prof. Eleka should please endeavour to render the record of the said ‘monies’ he has given me, including the five thousand naira he gave my boy when last he visited me with Prince Adebayo, Barr. Banjo and his immature aide. With this, I should be able to say the balance he might still need to send, considering the tangible and intangible services I had rendered him. Did Eleka send money to me when he was a teacher at OAU, Ife ?

Attacks on writers are usually considered the only weapon of revenge when the issues raised cannot be plausibly controverted. Anyway, we are gradually starting the game. Nevertheless, I must appreciate those media aides, aspirants and party leaders who have either written or called to commend my efforts.

 My position remains that, structure as used and explained in my last article would significantly influence the performance of every contestant in any elections. Sorry for the digressions.

Finally, I have no doubt that the just concluded southwest PDP congress is a litmus test to the forthcoming governorship primary of the party in Ekiti State vis-à-vis the pattern of voting, behaviour and loyalty exhibited by the Ekiti delegates at the congress. Also, Ambassador Arapaja lacks the constitutional power to impose a governorship candidate on Ekiti PDP.

The hilly Ekiti State is abundantly endowed with both mineral and human resources, with sons and daughters who are making waves in all fields of endeavour across the world. Hence, Ekiti people should be allowed to freely elect its leaders without any interference from other states.

            Omotoso Okeya, Journalist and Public Affairs Analyst.

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