The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last week re-admitted the former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, into its fold. Making the disclosure to newsmen after the meeting, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Olisa Metuh said in a statement that, “By this action, Dr. Fayose is cleared to enjoy all rights and privileges of a member of the PDP without let or hindrance.” He said that the move took effect since September last year.
Metuh said the NWC had also approved a waiver for the former governor in line with provision of the PDP constitution with effect from the same date. Article 8.1.reads: “Membership of the party shall be open to all Nigerians who: Are at least 18 years of age, irrespective of religion, ethnicity, and gender, social or economic status.”
Article 17.2 (g) says, “There shall be a minimum of two (2) years membership span for a member to be eligible to stand for election into any party or public office unless the appropriate executive committee rules to the contrary. Where appropriate committee rules, it must be approved by the immediate higher executive committee save NEC is final authority.”
Owing to series of allegations against him, the Ekiti State chapter had reported him to the national headquarters of the PDP, which promptly expelled him from the party in 2010. Chief amongst the accusations levied against him was engaging in anti party activities.
The allegation became rife when he openly decided to pitch his tent with the candidate of the rival Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Kayode Fayemi who was contenting a rerun polls with the then incumbent, Olusegun Oni. With his expulsion, he joined the Labour Party, where he sought unsuccessfully to become the senator for the Central Senatorial District.
By backdating Fayose’s re-entry, the PDP is offering him electoral office next year, instead of 2014 when the two-year rule would have let him off the hook but his return is generating intense comments in political circles. Several questions have been thrown up, as to how the re-entry would affect the fortunes of the party not only in Ekiti but in the South West.
For one, Fayose has many hurdles to cross if his stay is to worth the while. For instance, he has to contend with the towering stature of former President Olusegun Obasanjo whose influence is so pervasive in the zone. He also has a lot of reconciliations to make with relevant stakeholders in the state chapter of the party.
For Obasanjo, Fayose will have a very hard nut to crack as the Otta based farmer is said to harbour some grievances against the Afao Ekiti born politician. This is because Fayose was said to have disobeyed Obasanjo politically sometimes in December 2010.
The occasion was a thanksgiving service held in Okuku, Osun State country home of former Osun State governor and now national secretary of the PDP, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola. Fayose had reportedly greeted dignitaries while shunning Obasanjo, who was holding court with such people as Ibrahim Babangida, former governors Adebayo Alao Akala (Oyo) and Gbenga Daniel of (Ogun States).
Apparently shocked by the treatment meted to him by Fayose, the visibly embarrassed former leader called him wanting to know if Fayose had not noticed him. In response, Fayose turned to Obasanjo and told him he would not greet such a bad person.
An enraged Obasanjo called Fayose a “bastard,” whereupon Fayose, converging on the older man, called him the “father of bastards” and gave him a stern lecture. “You created all these troubles in the Southwest,” he said, “and for your information, I did not come here as a member of your party, I am no longer a PDP member.”
Though Fayose is currently facing corruption charges preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), it is still not clear how he intends to wriggle out of the case. Apart from corruption charges, the former governor was also accused of assassinating a political opponent, Ayo Daramola, an aspiring gubernatorial candidate of the PDP in 2006, a charge that have refused to go away and that have continued to dot his career.
But apparently feeling a sense of remorse, he had become penitent and have been moving around appealing to old foes within the PDP, seeking forgiveness for old ‘sins’ he had committed against them.
Specifically, Fayose has been pleading with citizens of his state whom he might have offended or crossed their paths while he was in the saddle as the number one citizen of the state, to forgive him. This plea was made on the occasion of the reception organised for him by the ward executive of the party in his native Afao Ekiti.
Addressing scores of party members who witnessed the occasion, he stated that he had forgiven those that offended him at one time or the other. He then asked that all members of the party to work together as a team to wrest power from the Action Congress of Nigeria-led government in the state.
The reception witnessed massive turn-out of party leaders and admirers from the 16 council areas of the state, including two members of Board of Trustees, Senator Clement Awoyelu and Chief Dayo Okondo, the state chairman of the party, Chief Makanju Ogundipe and the immediate past chairman of the party, Chief Bola Olu Ojo and a host of others.
It is unknown if he had reached out to former President Obasanjo but what is certain however is that he has continued to refrained from insulting the wily politician, saying, “At over 50, you can’t expect me to be behaving the way I used to some years back; what we need in the party now is reconciliation and not blame game,” he said.