Confusion has continued to trail the ward congress of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ekiti State.
The exercise was marred by accusations and counter-accusation from party leaders and stakeholders.
The Nation gathered yesterday that the camp of Senator Biodun Olujimi has captured the PDP structure at the ward and local government areas after overrunning the caucus-led by former governor Ayodele Fayose in the PDP’s ward congress held on Saturday.
It was learnt that the aspirants from Olujimi’s camp coasted to victory, while those belonging to Fayose’s caucus lost in the 177 wards across the state to the combined forces of Senator Olujimi, Duro Faseyi, aggrieved party’s elders and stakeholders.
Fayose and Olujimi have been at each other’s throat over the leadership of the Ekiti PDP, which has for some time polarised the party into two factions.
They saw the congress to elect party officials at the ward level as an opportunity to capture the party’s machinery ahead of the 2022 governorship election.
efforts to force their way into where Fayose lodged were rebuffed by security operatives attached to him.
The ex-governor, members of the congress committee and his loyalists were prevented from going out all through the night, as the aggrieved party members locked up the guest house main entrance and deflated the tyre of Fayose’s vehicle (with number plate BDG-76ET) and that of his loyalists.
There was tension on the guest house premises, as the aggrieved PDP members chanted songs such as “Fayose ole”, “O to ge”, until the Commissioner of Police, Amba Asuquo, intervened to douse tension.
Speaking with reporters, Olujimi alleged that the members of the committee led by the Deputy Governor of Taraba State, Haruna Manu, by their actions compromised to manipulate the process for Fayose’s aspirants.
She said the Manu-led congress committee should uphold the result of the congress earlier held before his late arrival in Ekiti State, stressing that the most acceptable and valid results was the one that was duly signed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials and security operatives and not the results concocted by Fayose and his accomplice.
Olujimi, who noted that the action of the committee was an aberration, said that if not urgently addressed, could further plunge the party into irreconcilable crisis.
She said that she might seek redress if the results of the earlier congress were cancelled.
“I wonder why a peaceful and credible congress, which was monitored by INEC officials and security agents, would be cancelled.
“As stipulated by party guidelines, at 8am everybody was at the various wards. The electoral officers conducted the ward congresses. The Independent National Electoral Commission, police, Department of State Services and Nigeria Security and Civil Defenec Corps were there and everybody signed and dispersed at about 12:30pm.
“When the Chairman of the electoral committee, Manu, came in rather late about 4pm, Fayose, whose aspirants were scandalously defeated, used his fraudulent tactics to lure and brainwash him to cancel the earlier congress and he agreed to conduct fresh election. This idea, party leaders and the teeming party members rejected.
“We stood on our grounds and we said there should be two options that that result be upheld because everybody was present, that if it is not upheld, we should postpone it to a proper date when everybody can be there again. But he said no. That he will go on with it that night.
“We waited all through at Midas Hotel, which was supposed to be the collation centre and did not see the electoral officers. But suddenly we got inkling around 8:50pm that Fayose and some members of the congress committee were at Petim Guest House mutilating results already signed by INEC and security operatives.
“We had to mobilise ourselves and storm the hotel in protest. On sighting us, both fake and genuine security operatives attached to Fayose shot sporadically into the air to disperse us, but we maintained our stand because we were ready to retrieve our party from hijackers.
“We defied nature and kept vigil at the hotel till this morning to prevent Fayose and his accomplice. What we want is that this material should be brought down and handed over to the police.
“With this development, it is unarguably that Fayose has lost political relevance in Ekiti. If not, I wonder how a two-term governor would be struggling to write ward congress results.
“So, when people are struggling like this, it smacks of failure. When you have failed that is when you start struggling for little things,” Olujimi said.
But Fayose’s media aide, Lere Olayinka, who denied allegations of writing result of the congress, said: “It was those who came from Abuja for the congresses that lodged at Petim Guest House.”
He alleged that Olujimi and his loyalists invaded the lodge of the congress committee with the aim of hijacking the materials, which he said they could not hijack.
He denied that the ex-governor was at the guest house when they laid siege to the place, saying his principal “even called senators Olujimi and Duro Faseyi to inform them that he was in his house at Afao, telling them jokingly that they could eat and drink in the hotel while waiting in vain for him at Petim.
“If they deflated vehicles’ tyres, it is their headache and if police arrested them, they would answer for that. My vehicle was not there as being alleged. My vehicle is not even in Ekiti. I came from Abuja by flight; I have no vehicle in Ekiti. And I have not been to Petim in the last two years.”