By Ariwodola Idowu
Former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, and Senate Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi, on Tuesday continued their hostility, by inaugurating parallel campaign councils for the PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The former Governor, in his capacity as the South West Coordinator of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP’s) campaign inaugurated the council members in Ado Ekiti, in line with list of names reportedly approved by the national secretariat of the party.
However, Olujimi, representing Ekiti South Senatorial District at the National Assembly, at a different location, in Ado Ekiti inaugurated a parallel council, accusing Fayose of greed and manipulation of the list for pecuniary reasons.
In a petition to Uche Secondus, the party chairman, she accused Fayose of hijacking the council and injecting his cronies in all strategic positions with a view to sidelining other members of the party from participating in mobilising for the PDP presidential candidate during the election.
This, she said, was contrary to the list agreed by party stakeholders and therefore, urged the National Working Committee (NWC) to disband and reconstitute the council in the interest of all in the forthcoming elections.
Olujimi asked Secondus to compel Fayose to adhere strictly to the resolution reached by stakeholders on the composition of the council at a stakeholders’ meeting in Ado-Ekiti on December 28, 2018 to forestall crisis in the party ahead of the polls.
While the Olujimi inauguration took place at the Ajilosun area of the state capital and was attended by members of the party loyal to her, Fayose’s inauguration on the other hand, took place at his former campaign office in Adebayo area of the state capital, now renamed ” Atiku/Obi campaign office”.
The former governor while inaugurating his version of the campaign council, described Olujimi’s effort a nullity. He warned that he might use his position, to mobilise the people to vote out those he described as ‘traitors’ in the coming election. Olujimi is seeking re-election to the Senate in the election slated for March.
“They need me more than I need them, because in my own case, I have got nothing to lose as I am not contesting any elective position. We will ask our people to vote against these betrayers “, he said.
According to the former governor, the campaign council was carefully selected in agreement with the National Secretariat of the party, to represent all shades of opinion in the state PDP, wondering what the complaint about greed was all about.
In his remarks the Chairman of the campaign council for Fayose’s camp and former Deputy Governor, Prof Kolapo Olusola also distanced himself from the Olujimi campaign group. Olusola said that the Olujimi Council was illegitimate.
“There is no alternative campaign council except this one. Any other campaign council where my name appears outside the one inaugurated by our leader, the governor, is illegal”.
The state PDP chairman, Mr Gboyega Oguntuase said the Fayose-led Council is the only legitimate body recognised by Abuja.
“This is the only legitimate gathering where authority resides. Any other gathering is illegal and illegitimate but we shall not be provoked”, Oguntuase said.
Olujimi, at the inauguration of her campaign council said that injustice breeds impunity adding that if the party stakeholders met and selected people, no individual, including Fayose, has the right to void same.
She said though she was not a party to the selection of the campaign council, she has the right to continue with the assignment.
”Those appointed have started work, they have even written letters to the state government for the release of the Stadium. They were supposed to have been inaugurated on January 3rd. Suddenly everything changed and Fayose tinkered with the list. Why we are here is that we are saying that we cannot shift the goal post in the middle of the game. We are standing by the original list”, she said.
The two inaugurations were well attended by chieftains of the party from the Senate, state House of Assembly, House of Representatives and former Local Government chairmen.