By Gbenga Sodeinde
Ekiti State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is in turmoil and the crisis bedeviling it on Friday turned dramatic yesterday as a group loyal to Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu and a former minister, Dayo Adeyeye, suspended Governor Kayode Fayemi for alleged anti-party activities.
Also hit with suspension was the state APC chairman, Hon Paul Omotoso, who was said to have been allegedly brought into office by Fayemi via illegal means.
Sequel to Fayemi’s suspension and the widespread belief that Omotoso didn’t emerge through a credible process, the factional group elected a former National Assembly member, Senator Tony Adeniyi as Acting Chairman of the State Executive Council pending when a validly elected body will be put in place.
This scenario played out barely 24 hours after Ojudu and 10 other party stalwarts were suspended by APC, for allegedly defying the directive of the National Executive Committee that all cases pending in court should be withdrawn.
Fayemi’s alleged suspension was communicated in a statement signed by Ojudu and other bigwigs like: Senator Adeniyi, Senator, Senator Ojudu , Senator Dayo Adeyeye, Senator , Bimbo Daramola, Hon Robinson Ajiboye , Ekiti North Federal Constituency, Hon Oye Ojo, Ekiti North Federal Constituency, Hon ( Dr.) Adewale Omirin, Hon Femi Adeleye.
They alleged that Fayemi manipulated the congress that brought Omotoso and members of the State Working Committee into their respective offices, while also using his position to work against the party in some elections.
The group said: “Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the Executive Governor of Ekiti State is hereby suspended from the Party in view of his numerous anti-Party activities especially his role in the recent concluded governorship election in Edo State which is contrary to the provisions of Article 21 (A) (ii) of the APC Constitution.
“For five days prior to the Edo elections Governor Fayemi hosted Mr Femi Fani-Kayode in the government house in Ado Ekiti.
It was here they perfected the coup against our party in Edo State.
This is the same Fani-Kayode who daily abuses President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. We have evidence of celebration by his aides in the Ekiti government house and on social media.
“We also recall his role in the gubernatorial election in Oyo State where he supported the PDP candidate to defeat the APC candidate.
A second tranche of money he sent to Governor Makinde in the election was intercepted by soldiers.
“That the Paul Omotosho-led faction of APC Executive in the State is hereby declared illegal and suspended from the Party for failure to emerge in accordance with the Constitution of the Party.”
But APC Chairman, Omotoso, who reacted through the party’s Director of Media, Sam Oluwalana, trivialised the issue and directed the signatories to deny the publication with immediate effect.
The statement signed by Omotoso said: “The attention of the Ekiti State APC SEC has been drawn to the publication which is in circulation in the social media titled, ‘Dr. Kayode Fayemi AntiParty Activities’ purportedly signed by the following people: Senator Tony Adeniyi, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Senator Dayo Adeyeye, Congressman Bimbo Daramola, Hon. Robinson Ajiboye, Hon. Oye Ojo, Hon. Dr. Adewale Ominrin, Hon. Femi Adeleye.
“We hereby call for the confirmation or denial of the said publication by the purported signatories between now and the close of work today, September 25, 2020.”
In his reaction to the purported suspension of Governor Kayode Fayemi, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Yinka Oyebode, described it as a joke taken too far. Oyebode said the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a party is governed by laws, adding that members of the group cannot hide under their recent suspension to announce a dubious suspension they lack the locus to handle.
“While one would have dismissed their claims as another failed attempt to polarise the party in the state, it is also important to put it on record that the action of the group smacks of criminal impersonation as none of those who signed the purported suspension letter were executive members of the party at ward, local government or state level.
“The action is but a joke taken too far as they never had such power they want to arrogate to themselves while they were members of the party, much less now that they have been suspended.
“Governor Fayemi however remains unperturbed by these antics of suspended members.
Well meaning members of the public as well as members of APC are urged to disregard the news of the purported suspension as it only exists in the imagination of members of the group.
Dr Kayode Fayemi remains the indisputable leader of the APC in Ekiti State.”
Meanwhile, APC headquarters has nullified the purported suspension of Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State by the party’s state chapter.
Mr Yekini Nabena, APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, made this known in a statement on Friday in Abuja, while reacting to the development.
“The attention of the APC national secretariat has been drawn to a purported and widely reported suspension of Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, as well as an earlier reported indefinite suspension of some other party members in the state.
“The actions are a nullity as the party’s national secretariat is yet to receive communication from the state chapter on the purported suspensions,” he said.
Nabena, therefore, advised all members of the party to adhere to its Constitution, adding that Fayemi remains the party’s leader in Ekiti State.
He further called on members and leaders of the party in Ekiti State to be duly guided and to work to support the ongoing settlement of internal party disputes.
This, he said, was in line with the mandate of the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led APC Caretaker and ExtraOrdinary National Convention Planning Committee and President Muhammad Buhari’s admonition.
He stressed that the Mr Paul Omotosho-chaired APC Ekiti State Working Committee remains the authentic, valid and duly recognised executive.
The APC spokesman added that there were no factions or divisions in the Ekiti State chapter of APC as was being speculated.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Ekiti State chapter of the APC had in a statement, announced the suspension of Fayemi and some others.
The chapter specifically accused Fayemi of anti-party activities, saying he supported the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the Sept. 19 Edo State governorship.
The chapter alleged that for five days prior to the Edo State governorship elections, Fayemi hosted PDP bigwig, Mr Femi FaniKayode in the government house in Ado Ekiti.
The statement announcing Fayemi’s suspension was signed by Sen. Tony Adeniyi, Sen. Babafemi Ojudu, Sen. Dayo Adeyeye and Dr Adewale Omirin, Speaker Ekiti State House of Assembly among others.