Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti
Ekiti State House of Assembly’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members have pledged their support for Senate Minority Leader, Biodun Olujimi, asking the immediate past governor of the state, Ayodele Fayose, to respect their choice, having urged them to support Governor Kayode Fayemi in the interest of Ekiti.
The lawmakers denied to have decamped to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
They made the disclosure yesterday, when the Deputy Speaker, Adewumi Olusegun, briefed newsmen in Ado Ekiti, on behalf of other caucus members.
“We remain committed members of the PDP as against insinuations in some quarters that we have decamped to APC.
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“We made bold to say our support for Governor Fayemi is at the instance of the out-gone governor Fayose, who directed that we co-operate with the governor-elect, then, in the interest of Ekiti
“It was on the premise of his advice that we acted, because Ekiti agenda is bigger than any individual or political party,” the deputy speaker said.
Olusegun said Olujimi is the most eminently qualified, at the moment, to be in the leadership position, as the highest political office holder presently in the state.
He described those having different opinion as “mischievous, lazy and political jobbers, as there is no contest about the leadership of the party, since the position is not contested for, but earned.”
Olusegun described the House of Representatives members in Ekiti as yes men who are not capable of having opinion of their own.
The lawmakers declared that Tope Aluko, the erstwhile secretary of the party in the state, remains a bonafide member of PDP and was not, at any time, expelled.
Meanwhile, Olujimi’s Special Assistant on Public Communication, Sanya Atofarati, has advised the House of Representatives members from Ekiti state to paddle their canoe and be humane as much as possible, to understand that Fayose had just concluded a rigorous four-year term in office as governor, and would need some quality time for rest.
He urged them to allow the former governor to rest and not be distracted.
Atofarati was reacting to the attack on Olujimi by the House of Representatives caucus, that she was rejected as the new leader of the party in Ekiti and South West. He also replied the 16 council chairmen, who accused Olujimi of causing division with her adoption as new leader of the party.
He said: “Fayose did well as member of the PDP national caucus and as national executive member, and by the constitution of our party, we all worked with him, we supported him as the then party leader.
But, now, Fayose is no longer a member of both apex bodies, and by the provisions of our party’s constitution, Olujimi is the highest ranking officer of the party, today, which automatically makes her the PDP leader, not only in Ekiti State, but all over the South West geopolitical zone of Nigeria.
“I will only advise the lawmakers to focus more on their political careers, especially those unpopular ones, who are merely products of imposition and are seeking reelection, to return to their respective
constituencies, to canvass for votes, rather than sitting idle in Abuja, issuing empty statements.
Painfully, many of them were shamefully defeated in their wards in the July polls.
“As for the council chairmen accusing Olujimi of allegedly dividing the party, they should know the Oguntuase-led state executive has been accused of fraudulently withdrawing N20 million from the state party accounts. There is a bank alert that testified to that.
Nobody is muscling anybody. The PDP in Ekiti State is one. What we demand is that our party leaders should live by law.”
Regardless, PDP women in the state, under the aegis of Forum of PDP Young Women, have told Olujimi to thread with caution in pursuit of her bid for power.
The women said contesting the party’s leadership in Ekiti State with Fayose is an insult taken too far.
“Having used the political ladder of Fayose to rise to where she is today, Olujimi should not hinder other upcoming Ekiti women from using the same ladder to rise,” they said.
The forum’s convener and former commissioner for Works and Transportation, Mrs Funmilayo Ogun, at the forum’s discussion in Ado Ekiti, yesterday, expressed the group’s displeasure at Olujimi’s actions, which they described as ‘treacherous and unfortunate’.
“Women are known from Bible days as better organisers, promoters of peace and unity, truthful and faithful to a defined course. But, the roles being played in our party by the senator is to say the least, despicable.
“It is even more absurd that she was indirectly regarding herself as the PDP leader in the South West just because she is the Senate minority leader.”