By GBENGA ARIYIBI
ADO EKITI — The crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ekiti State yesterday deepened, as the chairman of the party in the state, Mr Makanjuola Ogundipe insisted that the former governor of the state, Mr Ayo Fayose and four others remained suspended over their alleged roles in the violent attack on the party executive members two weeks ago, urging the national leadership of the party to affirm the decision.
The development came as 16 out of the 25 gubernatorial aspirants within the party have declared their support for the suspension of the former governor
In a communique issued after the meeting of the 16 gubernatorial aspirants in Ado Ekiti ,weekend, the PDP chieftains equally declared their support for the emergence of consensus candidate for 2014 governorship election, ,saying consensus arrangement would produce less rancorous arrangement
Members of Fayose’s group yesterday equally raised an alarm that no fewer than three members of the party were beaten up at the Ajilosun party’s secretariat.
According to the statement by the party’s Public Relations Officer Pastor Kola Oluwawole, some members of the state executive council brought some thugs to the party secretariat to unleash terror on the three PDP members.
Speaking to newsmen after a meeting of the State Working Committee, Ogundipe said his position to suspend Fayose and three others is supported by the PDP constitution which states that only members of the National Working Committee could not be suspended in the state
“We are acting based on the constitution of the PDP which says only members of the SWC could not be suspended in the state without the affirmation of the NWC
“Interestingly, we are having three of them in the state and Fayose with the three others that are suspended are not on the list.”
Also, the gubernatorial aspirants rose from their inaugural meeting, declaring that consensus arrangement would produce a quality and marketable candidate with wide acceptability, hence their support for the advice by President Goodluck Jonathan that consensus process be used to select the 2014 governorship candidate of the PDP in Ekiti State.
The aspirants according to the communique are; Surveyor Abiodun Aluko, Senator Bode Olowoporoku, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (rtd), Senator Ayo Arise, Hon. Aribisala Adewale, Otunba O. O. Akerele, Prof. Adesegun Ojo, Amb. Dare Bejide, Rt. Hon. Femi Bamisile, Rt. Hon. Odeyemi Tunji and Prince Dayo Adeyeye.
Others are; Mr. Bodunde Adeyanju, Chief Obafemi Peters, Hon. Ropo Ogunbolude, Pharm. Bimbo Owolabi and Dr. Kunle Afolayan.
The communique reads in part; “We support the decision of Mr. President on using the consensus process to select the 2014 governorship candidate of our great State.
“Consensus arrangement will produce a quality and marketable candidate with wide acceptability.
“Unlike primary election, consensus is more efficient and brings greater harmony and cooperation, and it is impossible for a minority group to gang-up to force their choice on the larger people as the candidate.
“We support the process put in place by the State Executive of our great party to initiate the consensus process.
“We condemn the acts of violence by some members of our party and agree with the decision of the State Executive to suspend the perpetrators.
“We expect the National leadership of our great party to also start the due process of affirming the suspension of Dr. Ayo Fayose.
“Any act of violence, such as arson, infliction of bodily harm, destruction of property and attempted murder should not be handled with levity. The national leadership of our great party must take immediate steps to sanction offenders to prevent a reoccurrence and to serve as deterrence to others.
“Dr. Ayo Fayose has defected from several political parties – PDP to ANPP to PPA to ACN to Labour Party and back to PDP. He was expelled from all these parties. Therefore, this poses great question on his electability and popularity?
Reacting to the development, Fayose accused the 16 aspirants of gang up, boasting that he would defeat them any time the party arranged proper primary.
Speaking through his media aide Idowu Adelusi, Fayose said:“ They are just 16 in number, I want them to be more than that.
“Let them recruit more members or better still they jointly should present one aspirant to face me and I will defeat him to a distant second. It is very obvious that they are afraid of me.
“I made it very clear, the party’s constitution protects me. Though the President only advised, the order to adopt consensus must come from the party’s national office.