By Julius Adebiyi
For members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in Ekiti state, the future of our great party appears bright but at the same time bleak. Bright, if stakeholders in the party, especially those who are currently working against the interest of our all-time leader and oracle of election victory in Ekiti, Peter ‘the Rock’ Ayodele Fayose, quickly readjusted and accept Fayose as the leader in the interest of all. Bleak if the so called Ekiti PDP Repositioning Movement, being promoted by Senators Biodun Olujimi and Duro Faseyi and other members in their marriage of inconvenience continue to hold on to the jugular of the party.
While I will not dwell much on what qualifies Fayose for the party’s leadership, because the reasons are obvious, I want to use this piece to appeal to Senator Olujimi to quickly look back before the house she built crumbles on her. A pragmatic, nice, and committed loyal party leader, it is on record that it was Olujimi that singlehandedly head-hunted hundreds of party leaders, who had left PDP before Governor Fayose ended his second term in office, back into the fold of Ekiti PDP, following the party’s colossal loss in 2018 . Today, she controls, at least, 80% of the party’s main structure -but for the time being. It’s no more secret that the party is in court over the Ward Congress election held in March 7th and whoever wins naturally becomes the leader. For those of us who have consistently stayed with the Oshoko of Africa, we know the leader doesn’t lose in war. Agreed, Olujimi is a fighter too but she has never led a battalion singlehandedly unlike Fayose, who has rescued our party on number of times. At the end of the ongoing legal tussle, if the judicial pendulum swings in Fayose’s way, then what becomes of Olujimi and his group of betrayers, who are out to stab the same man who made them, at the back. I say this because, except, perhaps Yinka Akerele, an age-long political foe of Fayose, at least 95% of people behind Senator Olujimi are ex-students of Ayo Fayose School of Politics.
Marriage of Inconvenience
In every political marriage of inconvenience, the beginning may be sweet, the end is always fatal with casualties. If anybody is in doubt, ask PDP gladiators who joined APC, ask ACN leaders who aligned with Buhari’s CPC to form APC, ask the Sarakis, ask the Tinubus and ask the Akpabios. The current problem started after the 2018 election when PDP lost in Ekiti. Perhaps because of the fear of the unknown, our leader, former Gov. Ayo Fayose hibernated for few months and Olujimi saw a vacuum and swiftly grabbed the party. As a serving Senator then, Olujimi was quick to sell a dummy to some sycophants and some inexperienced politicians in the party that she had naturally assumed the position of the party leader over Fayose, a two-term governor and former chairman of PDP governors’ forum.
For her leadership to have credibility, Olujimi, extended her dragnet to new and old enemies of Ayo Fayose -some of them she hadn’t worked with before. Of course, in batches, her new political converts started coming back to PDP to inherit the party. This was the beginning of Madam Senator’s political romance with the likes of Ambassador Dare Bejide, Dr. Sikiru Tae Lawal, Chief Bode Ajewole, Chief Diran Omotosho, Otunba Yinka Akerele, Chief Mrs. Titilayo Oluwatuyi Chief Segun Akinwumi and a host of others.
During the build up to the Atiku Presidential campaign, when everybody expected Senator Olujimi to shift ground for her leader, Fayose, who was fully back at his Ekiti political base, the Senator went behind door to introduce Yinka Akerele to Atkiku Campaign Organisation to be made Director General. At the end, Fayose group inaugurated Dipo Anisulowo, his former Chief of Staff as DG, while Olujimi group inaugurated Akerele. Akerele was though more recognised but in a desperate move to pay Olujimi back, Akerele was more committed to the senatorial re-election campaign of Olujimi than to Atiku’s campaign across the 16 local governments in Ekiti.
The first sign that Olujimi’s group is a marriage of inconvenience was the way and manner the group handled the last party leadership election in the state. From day one, Fayose group knew where they were heading and settled for only one person, Bisi Kolawole from Efon Alaaye. But because they represented different interest and caucuses, Ekiti PDP Repositioning Movement, had many candidates -Olujimi was pushing Hon Kehinde Odebunmi from Ekiti West, Faseyi was pushing Tope Aluko from Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government, while other candidates like Hons. Agbaje of Efon, Ibikunle Martins and Awise Adeosun also participated in the shadow election within the group. But for the manipulative political prowess of Akerele, TK Aluko would have emerged as the group’s State Chairmanship candidate and this may have ended the struggle of the group.
For record purpose, I want to impress it on those who care to listen in the Olujimi/Faseyi Group that their Ekiti PDP Political Collegiate Leadership is nothing but vague. It is like a pack of card put on nothing; it will eventually crumble. This is where Fayose’s political hegemony and legendary will come to play -Oshoko will inherit all the spoils of war. I arrived at this conclusion because Fayose, being the sole head and leader of his group, has from day one, picked his party chairmanship candidate while the Olujimi/Faseyi Group were still groping for which h candidate to pick. Meanwhile, the candidate of Fayose had worked extensively on the field and was already making converts all this while.
Olujimi and co know that they cannot, under any circumstance, have their way at the national level of the party because the current chairman, Uche Secondus was a product of Fayose’s political gargantuan. Besides, Hon Wale Aribisala, currently the national Treasurer of the party and one of NWC cabals is a known protégé of Fayose political school.
Bravo! They want to capture the grassroot. But as things are, it is a dream that can never come true because of many factors.
All things being equal, PDP stands a better chance in 2022 to come back to power in Ekiti but this can only happen if we put our house in order. And for this to happen, the party needs a rallying point in the person of someone like former Governor Peter Ayo Fayose, who has no interest in becoming governor. May be Ekiti PDP Repositioning Movement, would have been the messiah the party earnestly need at this period but for the inordinate ambition of its principal leaders. They can only deceive their teaming followers, not many of us who know their history and have our ears to the ground about their behind-the-scene moves. As at the last count, not less than seven members of the group, including Olujimi are eyeing the Oke Ayaba’s government House. Check the list; Abiodun Olujimi, Sikiru Tae Lawal, Duro Faseyi, Yinka Akerele, Tunji Odeyemi among others.
Olujimi: In fairness to her, having served as a member of the House of Representative, Deputy Governor, Commissioner for Works and two times as Senator, Olujimi believed she has seen it all but unfortunately, she has domestic influence. Her Akoko Edo born husband and one of her sons want her to cap it up with the state’s number one citizenship. To convince her, the husband was said to have told the Senator that he had gotten spiritual conviction that his wife would make the first female Governor in Ekiti. As part of the plans, her hubby and co have started selling the Ekiti South zoning agenda by recruiting the usual machinery for its propaganda, knowing well that Olujimi as the most colourful politician in the group from the South will naturally become the beneficiary. The question now is what becomes the fate of the group the moment Olujimi declares her interest in the governorship race? How many of the so called collegiate leaders will go along this ambition knowing fully well that it’s purely experimental? It will be the beginning of the end for the group.
Tae Lawal: A former Director in the state’s ministry of Education and later Deputy Governor to former Governor Segun Oni, Sikiru Tae Lawal, from Ado Ekiti, is also interested in becoming the state number 1 citizen. Before he was paired with Oni by PDP on the recommendation of Ado Progressive Union, Lawal was targeting the post of Governor. Of course, everybody knew that 5th columnist within and outside Ekiti didn’t allow the Oni administration, where he served, to have smooth reign. At the end, they were kicked out by the Appeal Court. Like Oni, Lawal, has remained unfulfilled man since then. Unfortunately, rumour had it that he’s also building his ambition on a certain spiritual revelation that he would one day rule Ekiti.
Akerele: As some of our friends echoed at Abe Aba last night; “Aluwala Ologbo Akerele, Ogbon ati ko eran je ni”. By inference, this can simply be translated to mean that Akerele’s decision to become Olujimi’s man-friday, is mainly to clinch the ticket by holding tight to the Senator’s apron. This explained why he remained her foot soldier, even after losing the 2019 election. Inside source has even revealed that it was Akerele that went ahead to encourage the woman Senator to challenge Dayo Adeyeye’s victory in court. Akerele played significant role in the return of the woman senator to the NASS as attested to by the woman senator in every for a she had the opportunity to including the church during her thanksgiving. The rest is now history as Akerele has become the proverbial ’’Afi fila pa erin’ with only a day’s worth.
Talk of any politician in Ekiti who has become a veteran in governorship contest and Akerele’s name will come to mind. It will be recalled that he won the primary that later produced Oni as Governor in 2007 before the entire process was scuttled by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Afe Babalola and a few national leaders of PDP. After losing that, he carelessly played kite with a senatorial ticket which was given to him on a platter of gold. At the end, he lost all. Since then he has tried unsuccessfully to become Ekiti Governor. One thing you cannot take away from Akerele is his doggedness and political astuteness. He is a smart political strategist no doubts but unfortunately for this Ayede Ekiti born politician, he doesn’t want to bow to the leader that could make him, Peter Ayo Fayose. Rather he tagged along with Olujimi who is known with the hubby for open unpreparedness to remember past favors. She uses and then dumps. Now, Olujimi was alleged to have told those who care to listen that Akerele hasn’t told her he’s still interested in trying his luck in governorship. Did I hear you say end of the road?
Duro Faseyi: One of Fayose’s most trusted lieutenants, Faseyi is also interested in governorship. Humble, easygoing and loyal, the former Senator’s interest in the contest informed while he decided to partner Olujimi in the first place. Like many members in the group, Faseyi didn’t assume that Olujimi could show interest in governorship contest. Having learnt the ropes under Fayose and with considerable financial war chest, Faseyi believes he could clinch the ticket and wrestle power from the ruling APC, hence his decision to join the race. But now that he has started seeing the hand writing on the wall, he will not waste time before going back to his benefactor.
Rt Hon Tunji Odeyemi: A one-time Speaker and later Acting Governor, Odeyemi is one of the few Ekiti men who have experienced what it means to be the number one citizen. Though he was in office for a short stint, the alluring perk of the position and the influence are still inviting the former lawmaker. Besides, Odeyemi sees his Ekiti Southern origin as a plus that could help his ambition but can he beat Olujimi to it?…hmnnnnn.
Sitting on gunpowder
Yes, for the Olujimi/Faseyi Group, things will soon fall apart, apology to the late Chinua Achebe. The reason is simple, all the major stakeholders have ambition and the moment they fail to actualize their ambitions, they will move out in drove. It will remain only the carcass of Ekiti PDP Repositioning Movement. End of the road!
Now, if Olujimi clinches the ticket and leaders prevail over Duro Faseyi to go back to Senate, will PDP leaders in Ekiti key into a trial and error flagbearer as Ekiti doesn’t seem to be ready for a woman governor? Will Sikiru Lawal, another Ado man like the current deputy governor, Bisi Egbeyemi, agree to be the proverbial ‘extra tyre’ again? Will Odeyemi, from the same Senatorial District with Olujimi take it in good fate? What becomes of Akerele, the methuselah gubernatorial hopeful who sleeps and wakes up on the field daily? I beg, they are all bunch of jokers. Even with the best and most popular of the the famous of the other aspirants as the deputy governorship candidate, it still and cannot fly because it will simply amount to building something on nothing.
Again, from anywhere anybody chooses to look at it, Olujimi and Akerele may end up becoming sworn enemies for life as the later would feel he has been used and dumped by Olujimi. Of course, his case will be the worst because he would not have anywhere to go. As Fayose’s greatest political albatross, Oshoko hasn’t pretended for once that he doesn’t like Akerele’s face. To him, the founder of Ajinde Ekiti Group will always be a Judas under his (Fayose’s) leadership. But in another way round, if Oshoko sees the situation and that winning Akerele to his side will add to his political capital, I trust our leader will not hesitate to approach him and a few other strong people in the group.
After Olujimi/Faseyi/Akerele’s political alliance must have failed, Peter ‘Oshoko’ Fayose would again inherit the structure. Fayose, the political Mathematician of Ekiti will naturally push whoever he wants as candidate to fly the ticket.
The outcome of the whole saga may also become another opportunity for Engr Oni to taste power again. A lucky man any day, the Asiwaju of Ifaki, with already many loyalists within the APC will quickly welcome willing members of the Repositioning Movement to his fold and collapse the structure to the mainstream PDP.
The crowd they currently command notwithstanding, the bottom line is that the political equation of the group will NEVER balance for obvious reasons.
It’s a simple Arithmetic; it is now two years to Ekiti guber election with group still fighting within. Fayose has nothing to lose and so has started planning without any distraction. His anointed candidate (whoever he is) has also started putting his campaign group in place. And as things are, Segun Oni is already a candidate and on the field.
But in the other camp, Olujimi and her co-travelers are still playing hide and seek, because they are basically reactors – allowing Fayose to act first before they know what to do. The current drama has simply reminded political watchers of what happened prior to 2018 PDP primaries in Ekiti when both Dayo Adeyeye and Olujimi were contesting on parallel grounds instead of forming alliance. They did so at the eleventh hour but The Bull has carried the day. Both of them failed. Again, history is about to repeat itself as Fayose would soon come out victoriously.
*Adebiyi, a PDP Leader writes from Mojere, Ado Ekiti.