A faction has emerged in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State seeking to prune the “dictatorial” powers of former governor Ayo Fayose.
The group, which claimed to be top members of the party in the state, met on Saturday in Ado- Ekiti and held the former governor responsible for the poor performance of the party at the 18 June governorship election.
The party’s candidate, Bisi Kolawole, came a distant third at the poll which was won by the All Progressives Congress’ Biodun Oyebanji.
The group’s meeting was convened by a former deputy governor, Kolapo Olusola, and a former House of Reps member, Adewale Aribisala.
They described Mr Fayose’s leadership as “authoritarian” and “despotic,” which had cost the party the last election and could adversely affect the PDP’s fortunes in the 2023 general elections.
The group resolved that the party would henceforth adopt a “collegiate” style of leadership, rather than the “one-man-show” represented by Mr Fayose.
A communique issued by the group after the meeting stated that the party could only be fortified ahead of the 2023 presidential poll to be able to deliver victory for its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The group agreed that there was an urgent need for the party to fashion out a new leadership style that would engender unity.
“That henceforth the party in Ekiti State adopts a Collegiate Leadership style for the collective rescue mission of the party losses and liabilities,” the communique read.
“That the current style of One-Man-Show Leadership of Mr Ayo Fayose, is ineffective, totally primitive, outdated, bizarre, and utterly rejectable.
“That our members that had earlier migrated to SDP are welcomed back to the party and great efforts shall be made to reach out to His Excellency, Engr Segun Oni.
“That members must continue to engage all others still outside the party, with a view to securing their cooperation towards the success of the Atiku Presidential Project.
“That all members should go back to their units and wards and begin serious mobilisation for the Atiku Presidential Project.”
Mr Olusola, who was deputy to Mr Fayose and also ran for governor as the PDP candidate in 2018, urged party members to comport themselves in a manner that would engender unity in the party.
“We can’t afford to be in the desert for another four years. But when Alhaji Atiku Abubakar wins the presidency, then the desert will become a fertile land for all of us in Ekiti PDP,” he said.
“That is why we have to make a lot of sacrifices to rejuvenate this party. We need to make a lot of sacrifices to survive the present situation”.
Other leaders who attended the meeting were former Deputy Governor, Tae Lawal; former National Assembly Members, Yemi Arokodare and Wale Aribisala; former Deputy Governorship candidate and PDP Chairmanship designate, Deji Ogunsakin; former Ekiti State House of Assembly members, Abeni Olayinka, Samuel Omotoso and Omodara Posi, among others.
However, an aide to Mr Fayose, who is also a House of Reps Candidate for the party, Lere Olayinka, denounced the meeting, saying they do not truly represent “stakeholders” of the party.
According to him, they could not be “true stakeholders” when Mr Fayose, as a former PDP governor, the PDP candidate in the last election, Mr Kolawole and all the senatorial and House of Reps candidates were not in attendance.
“There are organs of the party, the state executive committee, the state working committee and the state caucus and the chairman of the party has the authority to convene the meetings,” he said.
“Those who called themselves stakeholders do not have the authority to call any meeting of the party and so their resolutions are not binding on anyone.
“We also do not know what they meant by collegiate leadership. It has no authority from the party’s constitution and so it is not binding on anyone.”
Mr Olayinka noted that it was, however, their right to meet and say whatever they wished, but such decisions could not be said to have been made by the party’s leaders.