The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State may be headed for a deeper crisis ahead of the June 18 governorship election, as Biodun Olujimi and her supporters are considering the option of exiting the party in reaction to the outcome of the last party primaries.
Ms Olujimi, the Senator representing Ekiti South, aspired for the party’s ticket during the primaries, but pulled out at the last minute, alleging unfairness and maltreatment by the party.
She had also alleged that the treatment meted out to her showed she did not matter much to the party and her efforts were not recognised.
She and her supporters have, however, said they would take a decision on their possible exit in a few days.
After a meeting in Ado-Ekiti with supporters to deliberate on the outcome of the primaries on Tuesday, Ms Olujimi told journalists she would allow a collective decision on the matter.
She said her group had constituted a committee under the chairmanship of the former acting governor, Tunji Odeyemi, to consult widely with her loyalists in all the 16 local government areas and turn in its report.
“Well, we just came to hold a meeting with a few of our people whereby we could brief them about happenings in the party,” she said.
“You know there were erroneous beliefs over the time on having been betrayed by the leadership of the group. So we needed to clear the air on that and we have cleared the air so that they got to know what was really on the ground.
“So, we have briefed them and told them of the situation on the ground and they told us of what they think and their feelings. And we decided to set up a committee headed by the former acting governor, Tunji Odeyemi, with a timeline of three days in which to report back to us on what the large house has agreed to do. And then we will have a larger meeting on Sunday where we would take a proper decision and what we will do.
“There are options on the table. One, that we would all go and kneel down and beg former governor Ayodele Fayose that we have sinned and we are returning back to his fold.
“Two, that we should pull out of the party. And we say that can’t be done in a hurry because tempers are high and we need them to calm down to be able to talk and hold a big meeting on Sunday when we would announce to the public where we are going.”
Ms Olujimi expressed sadness that the party she sacrificed for its growth would pay her back with evils, adding that she was being treated badly by the PDP national leadership due to her gender.
“We are no longer children and we have been in this business for quite some time. If it is a former governor that is a sitting senator, can they do what has happened to me? No. My gender has affected and beyond that, the fact that people take everybody for granted has also affected all of us. You can’t take people for granted.”
She also denied that Mr Fayose had reached out to her for reconciliation, saying neither he nor anyone called her for a peace talk.
She added that her committee’s next line of political action would depend on the recommendations of the report to be submitted in the coming days.
Leaving the party
A former governor, Segun Oni, who contested the primaries, had earlier announced his exit from the party on account of irregularities in the exercise.
He is being touted as heading for the All Progressives Grand Alliance(APGA), but the Director of Communication of his campaign, Jackson Adebayo, said a decision was yet to be taken as to Mr Oni’s new party.
Mr Adebayo, also a former chieftain of the PDP, said they have effectively pulled out of the party, despite the ongoing consultations and would not be returning to the party.
“We are still engaging in consultations and we are yet to settle for any new party for now,” Mr Adebayo told PREMIUM TIMES.
“But we are certainly not returning to the PDP as our statements have indicated.”
But Mr Fayose’s spokesman, Lere Olayinka, has dispelled any fears coming from the move by either Mr Oni or Ms Olujimi.
Although he said the planned exit of Ms Olujimi was news to him, he insisted that efforts had been made to reach out to the senator through the reconciliation committee and Mr Fayose himself, contrary to her claims.
According to him, the party was reaching out to all other aspirants and stakeholders involved as it was in the party’s interest to do.
“But in politics, you cannot force people to live under the same roof with you,” said.
On Mr Oni, Mr Olayinka said it was not surprising that he left the party and that his exit would have no effect on the party’s fortunes in the election.
He argued that those who left with Mr Oni were APC members who came in with him and had not spent up to two years in the party.
Mr Fayose leads the major faction of the party torn between him and the senator.
His candidate, Bisi Kolawole, also won the primaries, defeating Mr Oni and others.
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