PDP South-West congress: Makinde, Bode George, Olu Alabi fault Fayose over rigging allegation
TWO elders and members of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have dismissed the allegation by a former governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayodele Fayose, that the South-West congress of the party held on Monday in Osogbo, Osun State, was rigged.
Fayose had, in an interview on a television programme, claimed that the process that led to the victory of Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja as the new national vice chairman (South-West) against the immediate occupant of the position, Chief Eddy Olafeso, was compromised.
On Thursday, Olafeso, in Akure, Ondo State, said he conceded defeat to give peace a chance in South West and move forward to build a stronger and virile PDP that can win future elections.
According to him, a lot of things went wrong during the congress, saying the whole process was fraught with irregularities.
“There are a lot of things the public didn’t know about the congress. There are a lot of flaws and frauds. But as a party man who has been a member for 22 years, I decided to give peace a chance in the PDP South-West.
“It’s a fact they used thugs; it is obvious and should be noted how the rules were broken when Oyo State people were to cast their votes. “They broke the rules when they merged all the tables and the people of Oyo State were writing together against the doctrine of a secret ballot system used for the conduct of the election when the other five states voted.
“Apart from the controversial delegates list from Oyo State, it may interest you to also know that 10 out of my votes were voided and, also, a clear case of over-voting was established.”
However, Speaking to Nigerian Tribune on phone, Chief Bode George said Fayose was being economical with the truth after he was humbled at the poll.
“You [Fayose] went into a contest, played the game; you were defeated. So, it is either some people are deceiving him or he is deceiving himself. The ship of state has left the harbor,” he stated.
Recalling the intense intrigues that preceded the conduct of the congress, the former PDP deputy national chairman noted that the Oyo State governor, Mr Seyi Makinde, exhibited ‘give and take’ in his bid to guarantee a seamless process and exercise.
George stated: “You forced the governor to concede the venue. In his humility, apart from Ibadan being capital of the South-West, he accepted to go to the new venue for him to show that he is more committed to the party and has no hidden agenda.
“Now, we have to rebuild the party, so if Fayose wants to stay with the PDP, he should fall in line. I’m appealing to him to live by his words that the election has been won and lost and the party must move forward. If he wants to remain in the PDP, so be it.”
On his part, Dr Olu Alabi described the allegation of rigging at the congress as the “common speech in Nigeria of a loser,” stating that “Fayose eulogised everybody and affirmed Governor Makinde as the leader” at the function.
“During his tenure as governor, Fayose was not the only leader of the PDP in the zone. It was him and a former governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko that time as governors elected on PDP ticket. Everything Fayose said was final.
“So, what I am saying is that Fayose should not have any cause to disagree with Makinde. The Oyo State governor may be a young person and I recall that at the time Fayose joined politics, he was young.
“Therefore, on that election conducted at the congress held in Osogbo, nothing can be more transparent because we counted the number of booklets. They (booklets) were distributed to accredited delegates who were inside the hall. If delegates decided to change their minds before casting their votes, there is nothing anybody can do about it. You cannot say the election was not free. It was very transparent, so what Fayose is saying is a general statement of a loser.
“At the congress in Osogbo, Chief Eddy Olafeso gave the vote of thanks and an acceptance speech. He is not a small boy. He has been involved in primaries all his lifetime in politics. So, he is an experienced man when it comes to elections. If he was in doubt about the election, he would feat and start congratulating the victor, and that he is now ready to work with him.
“My message to Fayose is that he should bury the hatchet. If he is still interested in the PDP, he should work with other former governors in the party,” he said.
Chief Press Secretary to the Oyo State governor, Mr Taiwo Adisa, chided both Fayose and Olafeso for masterminding an assault against Governor Makinde over the party congress. In a statement issued on Thursday, Adisa expressed surprise that Fayose, despite conceding defeat of his candidate, was engaging in media warfare to impugn the personality of the governor and rubbish the congress. While decrying what he described as an ungodly pattern of building a false narrative around the congress to rubbish it, Adisa cautioned Fayose against making unguarded statements and spreading falsehood against the governor.
Adisa admonished the former governor and other leaders on the need to stand by the truth, be men of their words and give the necessary support to the new zonal chairman of the party, Ambassador Arapaja.
“It should, therefore, come as a surprise to the public that the same camp that claimed that it had conceded defeat and was ready to work with Arapaja, is now engaging in media warfare against the governor.
“In the morning of Wednesday, Mr Eddy Olafeso was on national TV to lay the foundation for what would be a sustained effort to tarnish the image of the governor. By evening, the cycle was completed by Mr Fayose, who also appeared on the same medium. This has proven that false alarm and deliberate falsehood are being deployed to rubbish an otherwise peaceful congress.
“While we would not like to join issues with Mr Fayose and those who contested against Ambassador Arapaja over the outcome of the congress, we would like to caution that no one should attempt to impugn the personality of Governor Makinde, a peace-loving individual, who has never got anything by violence. The peaceful conduct of his campaign while running for office as governor of Oyo State is an attestation to this fact.”
The statement further described the statement by Fayose, where he described Makinde as being ‘quiet but deadly’ as baseless, made in bad faith and should be discountenanced by all well-meaning individuals. Also, a chieftain of the PDP in Oyo State, Chief Wale Oladoja, cautioned Fayose over his verbal attacks on Makinde.
“Why did Fayose refuse to complain of irregularities at the election venue? The truth is that Makinde is a gentleman politically and in real life. In a short period of time he had led Oyo State, he has done a lot for us and we are happy. He has demonstrated leadership by example,” he said.
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