A former Commissioner for Information, Ekiti State, Lanre Ogunsuyi, who belongs to Senator Biodun Olujimi’s camp tells ABIODUN NEJO that the results of night congresses’ being supported by former Governor Ayo Fayose will not stand
Is it right to say Ekiti PDP is split into factions going by what happened last Saturday?
Let us just say that in a contest, there will always be more than one side. I will not say Ekiti State PDP is polarised, I would say there is a group of people who believe that things should be done properly and another group of people who believe things should be done the way it had always been done, which is imposition and not following due process. Some of us feel that a level-playing ground should be provided for everybody and that there should be collective decision-making system, not that a person would sit somewhere and determine who takes this or that.
But some people believe it’s a battle for leadership between Senator Abiodun Olujimi and former Governor Ayo Fayose?
A star does not struggle to shine. In the PDP constitution, there is nothing like the leader of the party. We have party chairmen, vice chairmen and so on. Also, in the principle of separation of power, you will know that the party is different from government. When we were in government, the party was subsumed by government and the head of government that time, Fayose, assumed the leadership of the party. But like a yoruba adage you don’t get out of the road for a man who had a horse yesterday. I had it before and I still have it are miles apart. What I believe is that there is no leadership crisis. Leaders evolve. In fact, when you have a crisis, we can have a leader evolving from that crisis. A leader is one who sacrifices for the general good of the group. A leader is not one who takes all the pecuniary benefits. It is not about leadership crisis, but ego crisis.
As it is now, who is the leader?
Nobody has been elected as the leader. It is who does more, who puts more, who serves more, who sacrifices more that would be the leader of this party. As is it, I would say that Senator Olujimi and Senator Duro Faseyi represent the pillar of true democracy. They are the people who are saying that democracy should be about the people and that party as the PDP slogan says, ‘power to the people’, the party should be returned to the people.
There were parallel congresses a few days ago. What actually happened
There can never be two sun rises in one day. The law is very clear. It says that the congress shall take place within the hours of 8am and 2pm and at most 4pm. Some of the PDP members gathered together and had their congresses which were witnessed by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission and the police. Those who were close to the former governor believe in the old ways. Therefore, they did not hold any congress. They are alleging that they did their congresses in the night and the constitution of the party does not allow that. It is actually dangerous to gather people in the night. There was only one congress and that was the one that was held between the hours of 8am and 2pm. Any other congress purportedly said to have been held is just a deceit.
What about the congress committee chairman?
The procedure for the congress is that the national body will appoint five supervisory people. They are not expected to go to 177 wards, but to sit in the centre, observe and collect collated results. Then we have two persons per local government appointed by the NEC to collate the results. What happened was that the people were kidnapped. Some of them merely came to impersonate. We have strong evidence on our side that at least four of those who came to say that they came from Abuja actually impersonated. The congress committee members, led by the Taraba State Deputy Governor, Haruna Manu, who are the people supposed to supervise the congresses showed up 4pm. They had been highly compromised. Manu insisted on fresh congresses. We told him that if there must be fresh congresses, it had to be on another day because already, the day was far spent, but he said no. The National Working Committee, when we reported, said it should be moved to Monday if there was going to be fresh congresses. We were surprised when the other side said that the congresses had been held in the night. And I want to say that that is political irresponsibility. Although, it is true the Abuja team has the power to supervise and collate, they have the corresponding responsibility to be here.
What is the stand of your group on the exercise?
Our stand is that we have done our congresses. But because we want progress for the party, let them choose a day (for another one), we will meet the other group and beat them again.
Who won the congresses?
We won with a large margin and we have the videos. They saw that they were losing; the former governor could see that his charisma could not carry him through among party members.
What do you think can be the implication of what happened on the forthcoming council and state congresses?
The fact that the NEC has not released the results of the congresses that were done and computed since shows that there is hope.
What is the fate of your state chairmanship aspirant?
Our aspirant, who is a former House of Representatives member, Kehinde Odebunmi, will win. You know it is supposed to be an internal party affair, but the former governor took it to the streets.