Six House of Representatives aspirants from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ekiti State, for the 2019 general election, have protested over an alleged imposition by Governor Ayodele Fayose.
The aspirants and their supporters who stormed the PDP secretariat in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital yesterday, in a violent protest called on the National Chairman of the party, Chief Uche Secondus, to overrule the screening committee, which had earlier disqualified them.
The protesters also accused members of the PDP Screening Committee , led by Mr. Seye Shonuga , sent by Chief Uche Secondus led National Working Committee, NWC, to screen the aspirants of allegedly subverting the process to give way for automatic tickets to Fayose’s loyalists, who are present occupants of the seats.
The supporters of the aspirants beat up members of the Appeal Committee, led by Mr Kazeem Oladipupo and State Working Committee, SWC, of the party that were in the Secretariat to entertain their complaints .
The Chairman of the Screening Committee, was said to have been ferried out of the venue by party men and security agencies to prevent the irate party members from descending on him.
The aspirants, who forcefully opened the Secretariat located in Ajilosun area of Ado Ekiti, smashed the louver windows to send a signal that they were prepared to take on the governor.
The aggrieved aspirants, who were vying for the House of Representatives contests in their various federal constituencies include: Mr Segun Olanipekun, Ademola Salami, Temitope Oluwatosin Ajayi, Goke Omidiran Chief David Arowolo, Adekunle Ojo, Ibrahim Mumini Adewale, Mr. Victor Alale and Mrs Kemi Adewumi .
Speaking on behalf of the aggrieved contestants, Mr Segun Olanipeun, accused the screening committee sent to Ekiti of doing the bidding of Governor Ayodele Fayose to edge them out of the primary.
He said the Committee allegedly screened them out of the contests under the flimsy excuse that some of them defaulted in the payment of taxes when such did not happen.
Olanipekun said it was wrong for the committee to have allowed an individual to tele-guide them for him to have his way and ensured that he imposed his candidates on the party.
“It was bad for the PDP that just lost the governorship election to be behaving in this manner. We were supposed to be given the opportunity to test our popularity in the primaries rather than restorting to imposition.
“Governor Fayose had earlier held a meeting with all aspirants and told us to withdraw from the race and made it clear that the candidates will be handpicked but we insisted that the primaries must be held.
“Our intention then for insisting on the primary was that, Ekiti electorates are very sophisticated . If they see PDP as being unserious by way of imposition, we may not make any remarkable showing in the elections.
“But we were taken aback to see the screening committee disqualifying us on flimsy excuses that we didn’t pay taxes or have primary school certificates when we presented same to the committee.
“What they did now is to ensure that the present occupant of the seats emerged through consensus, without challengers.
“Even in Ekiti Central constituency 2, where Hon. Olamide Oni had defeated to APC, they technically edged other aspirant out of the primary to give way for the serving Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Bisi Kolawole to emerge automatically..
“We are not happy with this. The NWC must intervene in the crisis to ensure that we approach that elections with a united house”, he advised.
When contacted to react to the protest, the State Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Jackson Adebayo, said he was not in Ekiti to witness the outrage and that he has not been briefed by the Chairman of the party, Chief Gboyega Oguntuase.
He said: “I don’t want to comment on issue I have not been adequately briefed. I don’t want to join issues with them, because they must have told lies.
“But let me clarify that the party has not hold its primaries. The primaries for the House of Representatives, Senate and House of Assembly will be held on September 30, October 1 and 3 respectively”.