The crisis that followed last Saturday’s botched All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary in Ekiti State has taken a new turn as it has led to the dissolution of the State Executive Council of the APC and replaced with a caretaker committee to man the affairs of the party pending the time a new EXCO will be set up.
The Caretaker Committee headed by Kayode Ogunjobi was set up by the party to take charge of its affairs while security personnel are keeping vigil at the party secretariat.
The APC gubernatorial aspirants have been at one another’s throat over the inconclusive party primary, trading accusation and counter accusations over the disruption.
Kayode Fayemi blamed Babafemi Ojudu and Bimbo Daramola for the botched primary while Segun Oni is demanding that the incident be investigated.
Amidst these blame trading, the delegates that have cast their votes for Fayemi and Fayemi’s agent kept defending their votes and asking that the election should not be cancelled based on the fact that both the accreditation and the election had gone on smoothly as at the time five local governments had cast their votes “before the other aspirants discovered that Fayemi was already leading with a wide margin and therefore decided to sponsors thugs to disrupt the process”
The embattled Chairman of the APC in Ekiti State, Chief Jide Awe, had condemned in strong terms, describing as unfortunate, the ward primary of the APC that ended up not concluded.
Chief Awe, said the situation was contrary to the plans of the party when he was addressing newsmen at the party secretariat at Ajilosun, after a five hour meeting with other executive members of the party in the state.
Awe pointed out that “There is no way you can conduct a primary without allowing the State Executive Council to have a say. The aspirants were not happy. There are lots of lessons to be learnt as a party.”
He called for an outright cancellation of the disrupted election, saying one of the cardinal principles of a free and fair election is for the electorate not to have a doubt, because when a system is doubted in an election it becomes invalid.
“When a system is disrupted, it becomes invalid. An invalid primary can’t produce a valid candidate. We want to have a credible election so that the electorate will be able to vote for us at the main election.
“With what happened we believe sincerely the committee is culpable and the security agencies are compromised. So the thugs that disrupted the election some people allowed them in.”
Dr (Mrs) Mojisola Yaya-Kolade, an aspirant, said 26 other aspirants with her, agreed that the previous exercise could not proceed for lacking integrity and should be cancelled.
“It is not what we expected for our state. The quality of the ballot papers was not intact, nobody can really see the faces of the aspirants very well; the security was porous as if there was poor preparation and a lot of problems,” she said.
Among those present at the meeting was former governor of the state, Mr. Segun Oni; Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu; Hon. Bimbo Daramola, Mr. Kayode Ojo, Hon. Femi Bamisile, Kola Alabi, Oluwole Oluleye.
Also, Chief Segun Oni alleged that the way some people who were discovered to be friends of a particular aspirant were nominated into the Ekiti governorship primary committee put the integrity of the party’s national leadership to question.
Oni, who described the violence as very unfortunate, said Oyegun must investigate how the Secretary, Hon. Mogaji Aliyu , a known ally of one of the aspirants was made member of the committee.
But, delegates and party agent of Dr. Kayode Fayemi threatened that they will drag the APC to court if the results of the inconclusive Ekiti governorship primary was out rightly annulled by party top hierarchy, as Fayemi was in the lead after voting by five local governments.
Agent of Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who had cast their votes at the botched primary election, Mr. Adewumi, and three other delegates, Otunba Jimoh, Dada Ebenezer and Emmanuel Adekunle, have urged the national leadership of the APC, not to cancel but uphold the vote cast in the primary before the disruption of the exercise.
The delegates with Fayemi’s agent which cited the Bible story of King Solomon’s wise judgment over the two mothers of one dead and the other living child where the owner of the living child would not want her living child to be killed to balance the equation for the dead child as illustration stated,
“just as we that we know we are leading we will not want the casted votes to be cancelled,” threatened that they will drag the APC to court if the results of the inconclusive Ekiti governorship primary is out rightly annulled by party top hierarchy
Mr. Samuel Abejide and others gave their experience at the venue of the primary while speaking with newsmen at the JKF Centre in Ado-Ekiti, on the crisis that that led to the suspended exercise.
The agent said people who were not supposed to be at the venue were allowed into the venue and later came to disrupt the exercise, but the security agencies were helpless as they arrested and later released them to continue to cause crisis at the primary.
According to Mr. Abejide, other agents of the aspirants insisted that they would not allow Kayode Fayemi’s agents to assist any delegates who cannot identify the candidate who they would vote for.
They called on Chief John Oyegun to look into the matter, querying why “those who will not vote at the primary were allowed to come into the venue of the exercise.”
Some agents working for other aspirants had accused Fayemi of colluding with some security agencies and members of the Governor Tanko Al-Makura-led APC primary Committee to skew the outcome in favour of the Minister.
Addressing journalists, Fayemi’s agent in the primary, Mr Samuel Abejide , said five local governments had voted before the uprising that led to abrupt suspension of the exercise, saying the results of that were valid in the face of the Law and Electoral Acts.
Dr. Fayemi in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, said the disruption of the primary election was the height of desperation on the part of some aspirants, who having seen defeat staring them in the face, conspired together to ensure that the exercise was not concluded.
Dr. Fayemi said the aspirants resorted to violence and destruction, having realised that he was already in a clear lead in the five local governments that had cast their votes.
“It is quite painful seeing some desperate elements trying so much to rubbish the party we all laboured to build to national reckoning, out of share lust for power.
“If the quest for political position is to serve, then one wonders why the desperation being displayed by the likes of Femi Ojudu and Bimbo Daramola.
“Certainly the conduct of these desperate aspirants falls short of the minimum standards expected of anyone that professes progressive ideals.
“We urge our teeming supporters and loyal party members not to be discouraged by this despicable act. This surely shall pass, and better days are ahead. Our collective rescue mission has indeed begun.”
Similarly, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, has dispelled the allegation that he and Hon. Bimbo Daramola allegedly masterminded the violence that marred the primary, describing it as spurious and senseless.
Ojudu clarified that he never exhibited any desperation and that accounted for why he didn’t go to the election venue with party supporters.
The crisis reached its climax on Monday when a group called APC stakeholders sacked Awe leadership state EXCO alleging that “Our supposed members of the State EXCO have mortgaged the future of our party through a reckless ambition propelled by greed, by collusion with the quislings and opposition elements to disrupt the last Saturday primary election.
“Former Chairman of our party, Chief Jide Awe, and his other members of Exco have mismanaged party administration and money in a reckless manner that deserves prompt action to salvage our great party.
“He and a few acolytes have been running our party as their fiefdom but we felt that the next convention would allow us to resolve the issues.
“But the latest misconduct and gangsterism spearheaded by Awe’s men as witnessed in the last Saturday where two members of his Exco were directly involved in shameful and unpatriotic disruption of the primary election has left us with no option than to ask Awe and his Exco to step aside to enable us address the issues adequately in the interest of our party.
“Consequently, Awe and his EXCO are hereby removed from office for the following reasons and in their place are members who are to act as a caretaker committee to direct the affairs of the party till another election is conducted to fill their positions.”
They therefore put in place a new caretaker committee to man the party pending the time another election will be conducted for new state EXCO.
While Kayode Egunjobi will serve as Chairman, Michael Akinleye as the Secretary with other members are Bose Yakubu from Ijero Local Government; Akinlabi Idowu from Ikole Local Government and Abiodun Fawekun from Ido-Osi Local Government appointed as member of the new caretaker committee.
But Awe who described the group as a “group of hoodlums who came to attack the party secretariat” vowed to report to the police for possible arrest of the perpetrators, insisted that “the action is unconditional and would not stand”
The embattled state chairman who said he never committed any of the offences he was said to have committed, denied ever working with Fayose to rock the APC’s boat in the governorship poll, saying he remains Fayose’s number one political enemy in the state.
Oni, in his reaction to the formation of a caretaker committee to replace the SWC, said: “This is a political party and nobody can just wake up and say he wants to remove party leaders without following due process.
“There are processes spelt out for the removal of a state chairman and other members of his council. Unfortunately, these people are getting desperate and they continue to get desperate and this will lead us nowhere.
“We can’t be coerced, intimidated or repressed by anybody, this party belongs to all of us. They should be careful, so that they won’t lead us into chaos. We beg those propelling them, those behind them to take caution in the interest of our party,” he stated.
Similarly, Fayemi, also faulted the removal of Awe and other members of the State EXCO, urging them to rescind the decision for the sake of the party and democracy.
The Minister said APC remains a political party with a very rich democratic culture, adding that removal of its elected executives, on whatever ground, must be in line with laid down procedures.
Dr Fayemi in a statement by his Special Adviser of Media, Mr Yinka Oyebode, said he would not support any attempt to subvert the rule of law within the party, hence he is opposed to the sacking of the Jide Awe-led executive regardless of the weight of the allegations, without recourse to the party’s laid down procedure.
He urged those desirous of a change in the leadership of the party in the state to wait till September when the party would hold its congresses for the election of new officers in Ekiti State. “Anything short of this is not acceptable,” he said.
The statement reads: “The report of the alleged removal of Chief Jide Awe as the state chairman of our party is quite troubling, especially giving the method adopted by the aggrieved members.
“The aggrieved members had cited, among other reasons, Chief Awe’s perceived biased position in the current governorship primary exercise in the party, where he was accused of overtly supporting a particular aspirant as well as hobnobbing with the Governor Ayodele Fayose-led government.
“Regardless of the weighty nature of these allegations, removal of state executives in APC through a Gestapo style is not acceptable. In fact, it is condemnable.
“I, for one, cannot be part of this. Our party is built on democratic tenets and the rule of law. So, I urge all those who desire a change in the current leadership in the state to wait till September when the state congresses for the election of new set of officers would hold in Ekiti.
The Minister also urged well-meaning members of the party to work for the unity of the various tendencies within the party ahead of the governorship election in the state.
“Regardless of the differences we might have, especially in the ongoing process of choosing the flag bearer of our party for the July 14 governorship election, we must unite in our efforts to chase out the incompetent and insensitive PDP –led administration. That we cannot afford to compromise,” he added.
There are processes spelt out for the removal of a state chairman and other members of his council. Unfortunately, these people are getting desperate and they continue to get desperate and this will lead us nowhere. We can’t be coerced, intimidated or repressed by anybody, this party belongs to all of us. They should be careful, so that they won’t lead us into chaos. We beg those propelling them, those behind them to take caution in the interest of our party