Former governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, in this interview with ALLWELL OKPI, says his suspension from the Peoples Democratic Party in the state is laughable and meaningless
It was in the news that you and some other members of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ekiti State have been suspended. What exactly is the situation and what led to it?
Nobody can suspend you from a party without the input of your ward. It is the party at the ward level that will suspend an errant member. Later, it will be ratified at the local council and state levels. It will then move from the zone to the national level. So, that suspension is laughable. The chairman has no such capacity. What informed all that is very clear; he wants to do what they call a consensus.
He just wants to pick a candidate for the governorship election, which I objected to. He set up a committee that quite clearly represents the interest of a particular aspirant. And this committee he set up does not derive its power from the constitution of the party. The chairman has neither a fiat nor a directive from the National Working Committee of the party to do so. The powers to decide on the primaries of governorship aspirant are initiated from the national leadership, according to our constitution.
He asked every aspirant to pay a non-refundable deposit of N2m and issued them receipts. He gave me a form EKPDP/Gov/2014 Serial number 002, which means I was the second person to pay. You cannot tell somebody to pay a non-refundable deposit and still be the person to choose who becomes the candidate.
If you were asked to bid for a job and you obtain a form and pay a non-refundable amount of money, is it the people that put forth the form that will equally determine who wins the tender? No. It must be done through a transparent process in accordance with the guidelines stated before the fees were paid. There must be due process as allowed by the constitution. My suspension is laughable and meaningless. It is like somebody taking his own heart out of his body or stopping his heart from pumping. I’m the engine room of PDP in Ekiti State. Time will tell. Our priority is that the party should win elections.
Are you accusing the PDP chairman of trying to impose a candidate for the election?
There was an interview granted by the PDP chairman in SUNDAY PUNCH of July 14, 2013, where he accused the Action Congress of Nigeria of endorsing (Governor Kayode) Fayemi and the title was ‘ACN endorsement of Fayemi despotic – PDP chairman.’ The heading of the Crossfire read: Ekiti State Chairman of the PDP, Mr. Makanjuola Ogundipe, in this interview, says it is undemocratic and unconstitutional for the Action Congress of Nigeria to adopt Kayode Fayemi for another term without testing his popularity at the primary.’
He said again, ‘The action is not only despotic; it is also criminal, crude, uncivilised and unconstitutional. Of course, you can’t expect anything better than that from ACN. They are not used to conducting primary elections; there is no internal democracy in their party, they run it like a cult.’ Can’t we now conclude that the chairman is doing exactly what he accused ACN of doing?
The same chairman emerged in the PDP congress of March 2012, through a democratic process. My position is that you can’t probate and reprobate at the same time. He promised the people in the South Senatorial District that he would zone it (governorship slot) to them. He promised another set of people that he was setting up the committee because of them. He is using divide and rule. I made it clear that I would not appear before such a panel because it does not take its emergence from the constitution of the party. Seven or eight members of the working committee in the state wrote and rejected the composition of the consensus committee. They signed to reject it.
They said the committee was not supposed to be because it did not comply with the constitution of the party. And at different times, the party members in all the 16 local government areas in the state have resisted what the chairman is doing. Within themselves, they had issues; some accused him of collecting money from an aspirant. He had said if I could buy him 2013 Range Rover, then I could rest assured that I would get the ticket. I’m the one that brought all of them into the executive. So, I don’t understand why he should start giving conditions and asking for such money. I told him point blank that I can’t grant his request.
Some reports said you and others were suspended because of the roles you played in the invasion of the party’s secretariat by hoodlums. How true is that?
It is regrettable. How would a former governor come to the secretariat to do that? Have the police invited me for questioning? They did not see me there. If you want to accuse people, you must have evidence.
Is the national leadership of the PDP involved in this?
Ogundipe led some elders and members of the committee that he set up to the National Working Committee and the National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, said they would look at the complaints and make their findings public later. This shows that the NWC was being cautious by telling him that ‘we have heard you, we will find out and tell you our findings.’ Automatically, they don’t want to take side and they don’t want to listen to one side without talking with the other side. The NWC said it would make its findings public after thorough investigations. Rather than wait, Ogundipe jumped the gun to suspend Fayose. I don’t know what he is up to but I know he does not have the capacity to suspend me.
Last year, you said the leadership of the PDP was in support of your aspiration to contest the governorship election in Ekiti State. Doesn’t this suspension imply that things have changed?
Nothing has changed. Everybody can’t support you. The party will go through a process of primary election. It has been demonstrated in Anambra State that there will be primary election. Ekiti will not be an exception. The primary election is going to be under the supervision of the NWC.
This shows that there is disunity in Ekiti PDP. Are you still confident that PDP can win the governorship election, which is about 11 months away?
There is disunity is every party. Opeyemi Bamidele and Kayode Fayemi are on in their own party (ACN). It is normal. Conflict resolution is about party building. The same people fighting you today might be your best friends tomorrow. Twenty-four hours is a long time in politics. Right now, we should concern ourselves with the internal issues of our party. Fayemi is out of the issue, as we speak. The issue now is the PDP’s internal affairs and how its candidates will emerge.
Were you officially notified about the suspension?
Nobody has communicated me. I heard it in the news like you heard. The chairman went overboard. I term that as politics and I’m not bothered about it. I’ve been in this game for a while. I contested elections in worse terrains than this in 2003. So, it’s not a big deal at all.