Like he did in 2018, Ex Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti state has single handedly picked a candidate for the governorship election slated to hold in the state next year.
But, unlike when he was the incumbent governor of the state between 2015 to 2018 when he handpicked his deputy, Prof. Olusola Eleka as his successor, his present decision has ignited criticisms from members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
They have vowed to thwart his effort this time around and ensure a candidate that will stand for the election emerges through the constitutional process.
Fayose’s anointed this time is the person he picked as the Factional chairman of his group in the state, Chief Bisi Kolawole, having dumped his erstwhile choice, Prof Olusola Eleka, who is believed to still be nursing Governorship ambition.
The leadership of another faction of the PDP, Repositioning Forum, has reacted to the endorsement saying it was not the position of the party.
In a statement, signed by the chairman of the group, Alaba Agboola, the repositioning group stated that “it is imperative to clear the air on the position of the former Governor, to avoid the unsuspecting public from mistaking this position as that of the generality of Ekiti State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party.
“The choice and endorsement of Hon. Bisi Kolawole as Governorship candidate is a sole decision of Mr Ayo Fayose and his Osoko Political Assembly and does not translate to that of Ekiti PDP.
“The Forum on behalf of the entire members of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) wishes to dissociate from the showmanship of former Governor Ayo Fayose on his purported endorsement of any candidate.
“We appeal to members, leaders and stakeholders of our great party PDP to remain calm and unperturbed as efforts are in top gear to avert possible repeat of the 2018 scenerio in Ekiti.
“PDP Repositioning in Ekiti State, which constitutes the greater majority of registered members of the party, has consistently demonstrated globally acceptable democratic norms which rest on Collegiate leadership and shall at the appropriate time ensure the emergence of a generally acceptable candidate with traceable records and proven integrity for the 2022 Guber election.
“We urge all members of our great party to ignore in totality the shenanigans and dictatorial tendencies of Mr Ayo Fayose which has been his stock-in-trade and consider the purported endorsement as a fresh ploy to destroy the chances of our party ahead of 2022 Guber polls.”
In his reaction, Prof Eleka, Fayose’s deputy who is still nursing an ambition to govern the state, remarked that as a beneficiary of the ex-Governor, his ambition is divine and would only listen to God to give directive in which way to go.
“The events of the past few days have generated serious ripples in our party and among members, particularly after the endorsement of the current Party Chairman, Hon. Bisi Kolawole was the preferred aspirant by our leader, former governor Peter Fayose ahead of the party’s primaries, which has given birth to questions challenging the morality and legality of the process that led to the decision.
“I had taken time off to reflect on the issues involved and following biblical injunction that exhorts us to be quick in hearing but slow in speaking or reacting. I sincerely acknowledge H E’ s leadership role and right in the choice and endorsement of Hon Bisi Kolawole as the most preferred aspirant from Osoko Political Assembly. I’m not and cannot be grieved by this. H E had also similarly favoured me in the recent past.
“My coming out to indicate my interest in the 2022 gubernatorial contest is based on Divine leading and not just on personal human ambition. I’m constrained to seek God’s face on every subsequent action and until I receive anything to the contrary, the aspiration remains intact.
“Whatever happens, H. E, Peter Fayose remains my leader, whom I have adored and respected in my humble capacity as his deputy for four years; who in-turn believes in my capability to lead our state and provide good governance for the Fountain of Knowledge. H E should be rest assured that by God’s grace, my respect and honour for his person and leadership can not diminish.
“As a matter of right, he has spoken on his choice and preference concerning who flags the party’s gubernatorial ticket this time around and also on the right of other aspirants to pursue further their ambition if they so desire. In all these, may God’s will be done.”
Former Gov Fayose spokesman, Were Okayinka said anyone that was not pleased by Fayose’s choice should go and join another faction.
Another former Governor of the state, Chief Segun Oni has also indicated his interest to contest the governorship election on the ticket of PDP.