The political family of former governor Ayodele Fayose is in disarray with many of its associates pulling in different ways over who gets ticket of the opposition People’s Democratic Party in the 2022 governorship poll in Ekiti State.
Some members of the group christened ‘Osoko Political Association’ are up in arms against Fayose for adopting the State party’s Chairman, Bisi kolawole against alleged agreement reached to throw the contest wide open.
Strong indications emerged on Monday that the crack in the wall of the fayose’s political family has widened as the camp of one of his political lieutenants and ex-deputy governor, Prof. Kolapo Olusola Eleka rejected Kolawole’s endorsement.
A political aide to Eleka, Mr. Adebisi Adeola, said the former Deputy Governor would proceed with his ambition despite Kolawole’s adoption by his former boss saying “Eleka won’t drop out of the race and would be ready to face Kolawole at the PDP governorship primary next year.”
Adeola, who spoke while appearing alongside Fayose’s media aide, Lere Olayinka on BOTTOM LINE, a current affairs programme on New Cruse 92.7 FM, Ikere, monitored by our reporter on Monday said Kolawole’s endorsement was unknown to party’s leaders and stakeholders.
He said that the former governor took an ill-advised unilateral decision without the knowledge of all party leaders, warning that Kolawole’s adoption might further plunged the party into unavoidable internal crisis and mar the its chances in the forthcoming election if not reversed.
He noted that failure to allow members of the party to freely choose candidate of their choice in the party’s shadow election could spell a devastating doom for PDP.
He said the PDP must not go to next year’s governorship poll with a divided house as it does not presently enjoy the status of a ruling party both at the state level and at the federal level expressing fear that Kolawole’s adoption could trigger mass exodus to other parties as it happened in 2018.
Adeola disclosed that Fayose had earlier promised members of OPA including Eleka that the final decision on who to support for the party’s governorship ticket would be taken by all stakeholders in June after all the aspirants might have been assessed based on agreed criteria.
“Everything is not right in Ekiti PDP, we are not saying he (Fayose) cannot adopt but you have to be transparent and things should be rightly done. Whatever is happening in PDP today should involve all leaders in Ekiti and Southwest PDP.
“In 2018, we lost the election by 19,000 votes and this was caused in part by those who left to join other parties. We don’t want to lose members anymore. If the likes of (Prince Dayo) Adeyeye worked with us, we would have been in power now. We are not in power at the state and at the federal.
On the fate of Eleka’s ambition, he said the former deputy governor will contest the primary election, saying “by the grace of God, Prof. will win the shadow with wide margin”.
The programme also featured Fayose’s media aide, Lere Olayinka.
Olayinka who justified the action of Fayose and his loyalists in adopting Kolawole said endorsement and adoption of preferred candidates by individuals and groups are normal in politics noting that supporters of former Governor Segun Oni and Senator Biodun Olujimi had at one time or the other received endorsement from their supporters.
He said that five aspirants had paid N2 million each into the account of OPA to include Hon. Deji Ogunsakin, Hon. Ayo Oladimeji, Hon. Kayode Oso, Hon. Wale Aribisala and Hon. Segun Adekola claiming that Oso, Ogunsakin, Adekola and Oladimeji has pledged to support Kolawole.
Olayinka said: “Fayose did not singlehandedly endorse Kolawole, he was endorsed by all those who believe in the leadership of Fayose; we consulted him (Fayose) and he agreed with us.
“The stakeholders met on Friday that this is the decision and this is where we are going. The fact that he (Fayose) pitched his tent with somebody did not preclude others from contesting or the party from conducting free and fair primary.
“Fayose did not personally collect the money (N2 million each) from anybody. We have OPA chaired by Chief Dipo Anisulowo, we set conditions that for you to be recognised as an aspirant, you must signify your intention.”
On why Fayose no longer supports Eleka, Olayinka said: “The political permutation in 2018 is different from now; his loyalty to our cause is being tested now”.