A former minister of works and Ekiti governorship aspirant, Dayo Adeyeye, has described Saturday’s ward congresses of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as a charade, saying they were largely manipulated.
He also accused the committee deployed by the national headquarters for the congresses of bias, saying it failed to produce the materials at the wards.
The ensuing controversy seems to have undermined the truce brokered by the party’s national chairman, Uche Secondus, and former Senate President, David Mark, last Wednesday ahead of the primaries.
Supporters of the three major aspirants of the party: Kolapo Olusola, the deputy governor of the state; Mr Adeyeye; and Biodun Olujimi, the senator representing Ekiti South, engaged in a battle of wits as the congresses held at the 177 wards in the state.
The congressed held to produce the delegates that would participate in the May 8 primaries of the party.
The state governor, Ayo Fayose, whose support for his deputy has been unmistakable, vowed to ensure Mr Olusola clinches the PDP ticket for the July 14 election.
Mr Adeyeye, a former spokesman for the PDP under the caretaker leadership of Ahmed Makarfi, called for the cancellation of the congresses due to alleged irregularities.
According to him, the congresses were “brazenly manipulated” in all the 177 wards. He accused the leaders of PDP ad-hoc committees sent to the 16 local governments of diverting the materials meant for the election.
There was a skirmish at Ikere Ekiti, the hometown of Mr. Olusola, as his supporters and those of Mr Adeyeye fought over control of the delegates of the local government council.
A former council chairman in Ikere local government, Banji Aluko, was manhandled by supporters of the deputy governor for allegedly working against his kinsman and supporting Mr Adeyeye.
Mr Aluko, while leading a group of youth to the secretariat of the party to register his protest over alleged irregularities, was suddenly attacked and beaten up by some thugs said to be loyal to the deputy governor.
He, however, accused the deputy governor and a member of the Ekiti State House of Assembly representing Ikere constituency 1, Wale Ayeni, of masterminding the attack.
“Our group won election at Ogbonjana ward 7 and we were jubilating, only for these thugs to pounce on me and started beating me for no just cause,” said Mr Aluko.
“However, I have reported the case to the police and proper action will be taken against the sponsors.”
Officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), who monitored the exercise, said although there were a few skirmishes, the congresses were largely peaceful.
“There was no election anywhere in the state, those loyal to Fayose sat somewhere and wrote the list of delegates,” Niyi Ojo, the spokesman for Mr Adeyeye, said.
“What really marveled me was that, the committees sent by the national headquarters to conduct the election didn’t go to the wards, they diverted it somewhere.”
Meanwhile, the Publicity Secretary of the party in Ekiti State, Jackson Adebayo, told PREMIUM TIMES it was possible that Mr Adeyeye’s field officers were not reporting to him the correct position of things.
He said it was impossible for anyone to manipulate the process because option A4 was adopted where supporters queued behind their candidates.
“We are not the ones conducting the election, David Mark and those conducting the election came from Abuja, and there is no way anyone can manipulate the process,” Mr Adebayo said.
“We used Option A4, those voting queued behind the one they wanted to vote for and it was so transparent, there is nothing to hide. The election has been concluded and the committees in charge are collating the results.”