The lawmaker representing Ekiti South Senatorial District, Senator Biodun Olujimi has said the former governor of the state Mr Ayodele Fayose did not own the state chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), calling on him to retrace his steps so as to save the party from collapse in the state.
The former Senate Minority leader who spoke at the weekend in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital said that the camp of Fayose was trying to take advantage of her gender to sideline her from the management team of the party, even when she has given her best to the service of both the party and the state.
The duo had been locked in a fierce battle for the soul of the party in the last one year which has seen the opposition party polarised into two factions in the state.
Fayose had spoken through his media aide, Lere Olayinka accusing the senator of being used by the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC) to destabilise the party.
According to him, “We don’t have time for a loser who is being used by APC to destabilize the Ekiti PDP. If she wants to leave PDP, she can leave. She has right to ventilate her frustration having failed to take over PDP so that she can become the party flag bearer in 2022.”
But Olujimi who said that leadership could only be earned and not served a la carte said that she was prevailed upon by some concerned members of the party to provide leadership that was lacking in Ekiti PDP.
She said, “I believe it is what we do that will make people believe in us. What happened is that some people came together and said they want new leadership. I didn’t compel anyone. They came and said they needed a breath of fresh air, a new beginning and inclusiveness and then we started a movement which gathered so much momentum to such an extent that they believe that we are eroding the ground upon which they, the former governor’s men, stand.
“The bottom line is that if you have done well, you won’t need to wrestle at all. Fayose that I worked with and I had great respect for? How did he lose it? he needs to answer that.
“What is happening is a misconception which came about because of the belief that one person owns the party and the other person is trying to wrestle the party from the owner. But that is not the situation; the situation on the ground is that everybody in the party including the lowliest joined the party because there are free entry and free exit.
“And so, nobody owns the party. Yes, there are some individuals who are established in the party and who are parts of the management team. As a former governor, Ayodele Fayose is one of those. But to exclude every one of us from the management team is one of the major issues at the front burner.
“When we held the congress, of course, if we hold the congresses hundred times, the group which I and others lead, will always win 100 per cent. So we had a congress which was marred with irregularities.
“Can you imagine how I struggled to get my mandate back and went back to the senate and one person will sit and compile lists of the ward executives of the six local governments that I represent in the Senate, I think that is not fair for people to treat my gender as a woman and think that I can’t fight. We are quite fighters, I will not take that and the people I represent won’t take that.”
When asked on the reported ambition for the 2022 governorship poll, she stressed that she was qualified to seek for the number one position in the state, saying ” I have paid my dues and done what I am supposed to do in Ekiti. I am eminently qualified to participate. Don’t forget that I participated in the 2018 governorship election.”
On the allegation that she was on her way to the All Progressives Congress (APC), she said she remains a PDP member. “For me, contrary to insinuation, I am wholly PDP through and through. They tried to brand me APC because I worked well with people, especially Mrs Fayemi, the governor’s wife. We have met at different fora including the United Nations. I see her as a leading light on gender issues but I differ with her when it comes to issues of politics.
“I am a die in the wood PDP. But the easiest thing they do is to play to the gallery, blackmail people and say they are working for the opposition. I can say to you that I have not met Fayemi in the last five years. I can recollect that maybe when he was a minister I met him once since then I have not had the opportunity.
“However, when a thing happens in Ekiti, I sent messages and when things go wrong, I tried to correct it. The kind of opposition they want is the one whereby you wake up in the morning and start to abuse people. I am not cut out for that. I believe in opposition that is constructive and focuses.
“If they had allowed us, we have played the role properly by sitting down and marshal our strategy. A situation where the boys of Fayose will go on air and start maligning people including me, and saying all kind of lies and slandering people, I will not be part of that. That is why I pulled back and the pulling back is what they termed working for the opposition. I will never leave issues and start to attack personalities.”
On the Edo State crisis, she urged the National assembly and the Executive to collaborate and find a way to solve the crisis.
According to her, “This brigandage is unfortunate and Edo State has become the epicentre. Serious-minded people from that axis ought to have been able to take precaution over time, but since they have not been able to do that the National Assembly and the Executive must find a way to resolve the crisis so that election can hold. And we can then have a credible election. If we continue this way, I foresee violence and that is not the best especially when we are dealing with the pandemic.
“There have to be collaborative efforts to solve it and the government must not sit down and watch till the situation gets out of hand. We want the government to do something about this.”
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