Ekiti 2022: PDP crisis and unending protests at Wadata Plaza

Abulraman Zakariyau reports that crisis is taking its toll on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Ekiti state chapter and if not resolved before the June 18 governorship election, might rob the party of victory   

It has been one week since last week Monday, continuously, unbroken and unabated that protests broke out simultaneously and spontaneously continued unabated in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital as well as the Wadata Plaza housing the headquarters of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) over the conduct and the outcome of ad hoc ward congress held in Ekiti state. 

Yet, the hope of earlier resolution of the crisis is not yet in sight two days to the gubernatorial primaries as PDP exco met again last Monday at the party headquarters  in Abuja.

The ad hoc ward congress was meant to select three delegates from each of the 177 wards to round up to 531 party members as part of those delegates to vote at the PDP governorship primaries to be held this week today, Wednesday 26, 2022 at the state capital at the Ado Ekiti. 

A hitch-free ward congress would have averted the current situation and nipped the crisis in the bud but stakeholders and all the leading contestants and aspirants under the platform of the party pointed accusing fingers at the same direction, namely: the camp of the former governor of Ekiti state, Dr. Peter Ayodele Fayose, for master-minding the failure of the elections.

Allegations started flying that no meaningful elections were conducted throughout the 177 wards as materials were hijacked by groups allegedly loyal to Mr Fayose claiming that the result sheets were allegedly witten at Fayose NTS Hotel, Fajuyi in Ado-Ekiti.

According to sources, this allegation was said to be with the collaboration of the National Working Committee members sent from Abuja to conduct the ward congress election in Ekiti state.

While the leading protesters at Wadata House Hon. Kala, Hon. Lanre Oni, Chief Eniola Eponlolaye and other Ekiti PDP stalwarts advocated total cancellation of the botched congress and urged the the National Working Committee of the party to deploy special delegates for the prosecution of the gubernatorial primaries. 

According to those who hold this position, by so doing, a level playing ground would have been created and justice seen to have been done.

In apparent astonishment, a former governor of the state, Engr. Segun Oni, lamented, “We have to complain formally to the National Working Committee chairman of the People Democratic Party on the conduct of the congress and the hijack of democracy through compromise by the people saddled with the responsibilities of ensuring that the right things were done by following directives and due process. 

“We believe that the party will take a look at what happened and take appropriate steps with a view to correcting such anomalies and occurrences in the nearest future” Oni appealed.

Engr. Segun Oni further stressed the need for PDP in Ekiti state to unite for the general elections as division would further put the party asunder and tear it apart. 

“Before now, we were getting it right. We were talking across all divides and we believe we would end up together but what had happened in Ekiti during the congress has shown that there is a big problem”, Oni said.

In a similar vein, the Erelu Atayese of Iyin Kingdom and a strong supporter of PDP in Ekiti state, Chief Mrs. Josephine Kemi Elebute-Halle urged Ayo Fayose to come out in the open and test his popularity on the field of play if he is so popular among the electorate as he claimed and urged the NWC to cancel the compromised exercise in collaboration with some of the executives sent from Abuja to conduct the ward congress election. 

She said, “Those who made peaceful coexistence impossible and political advancement difficult by refusing to engage in collaboration and dialogue; moral and political principle shall make violence at the end of the day inevitable,” Erelu warned.

In a related development, other aspirants also condemned the ad hoc congress and tagged it as a one man show. 

While reacting to the conduct of the elections, Professor Kolapo Eleka, the immediate past deputy governor of the state described the whole exercise as ‘a charade.’

“All the materials were diverted across the state and the national leadership should take a look at the activities of those sent to conduct this congress because it is not acceptable for an event which we started with great hopes, that things will be done properly to end up as what I can describe as a complete charade”, Prof. Eleka submitted.

Meanwhile, to end the crisis, the National Working Committee of the PDP set up a ward congress Electoral Appeal panel with a view to addressing all complaints emanating from the the congress from various quarters.

Members of the panels are: H.E. Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo (Chairman); H.E. Dr. Ibrahim H. Dankwambo (member); Amb. Dr. Mrs. Kema Chikwe (member); Dame Dr. Esther Uduehi (member); Barr. Kingsley Chukwu (member); Barr. Musa Elayo (member/secretary), while the National Organising Secretary, Hon. Umaru M. Bature appealed for calm.

Whether the crisis would be resolved before the election scheduled for the June 18 is still in the realm of conjecture.