NewsOndo PDP In Crisis

Ondo PDP In Crisis


January 14, (THEWILL) – With two elections coming up in February and November this year, the main opposition party in Ondo State, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is already enmeshed in a crisis that may cost it its possible victory in the elections.

On February 3, there will be a bye-election in Akoko North-East/Akoko North-West Federal Constituency and in November, there will be a governorship election in the state.

A bye-election became inevitable in the federal constituency following the resignation of a former member of the House of Representatives, Mr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, who had been appointed as Minister of the Interior by President Bola Tinubu.

The crisis came into the open early this month, when the Chairman of Ondo PDP, Fatai Adams, was suspended by the State Working Committee (SWC). The suspension letter was approved and signed by nine out of the 11 members of the SWC.

A statement signed by the committee stated that Adams’ suspension was due to his involvement in anti-party activities. Adams was also accused of allowing a purported infiltration of the party by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). The statement read in part, “Pursuant to section 58(1) (b. c, f, h and i) of the PDP constitution as amended in 2017, the State Working Committee has approved the suspension of the State Chairman, Mr Fatai Adams, for anti-party activities and for engaging in activities likely to bring the party to disrepute.

“He is accordingly advised to appear before the State Disciplinary Committee of the party for further interrogations within the next one week.

“The party wishes to state emphatically that it will deal decisively with any incursion by the ruling party, the APC, into its ranks,” the statement added.

Those who signed the suspension notice are Tola Alebere, Deputy Chairman; Oluseye Olujimi, Secretary; Kennedy Peretei, Publicity Secretary; Dare Akinwale, State Organising Secretary; Amos Fadope, Vice Chairman (South); Dayo Awude, Vice Chairman (Central); Moses Awofade, Legal Adviser; Boluwaji Bamidele, Financial Secretary and Olawumi Fasonu, Treasurer.

The Ondo SWC said that Adams’ alleged actions against the party were capable of bringing disrepute to the PDP in the state.

It said the suspension of the chairman was in consonance with the provisions of the PDP Constitution. They gave Adams one week to appear before the disciplinary committee of the party to answer questions on the allegations.

But the suspended chairman insisted that he remained the chairman of the party and described his purported suspension as something that would not stand because it was politically motivated.

He alleged that the suspension was done so that those involved would carry out what he described as an agenda for the Akoko North East/North West Federal Constituency bye-election in February. He accused some elements of trying to destroy the party.

Reacting, the National Working Committee of the party nullified the suspension less than two hours after it was pronounced. The PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, in a statement, said the party’s NWC had declared the said suspension null and void and of no effect.

The purported suspension comes as political parties prepare for primaries ahead of the November governorship election.

Party primaries are expected to hold from April 6 to 27, while the submission of the list of nominated candidates via the Independent National Electoral Commission’s online portal will start at 9 am on April 29 and close at 6 pm on May 20, according to the electoral body’s timetable.

Ologunagba described the suspension of the Ondo chairman of the party as illegal and of no effect. He said no state executive had the power to suspend a state chairman without due recourse to the national leadership as provided by the PDP Constitution. He maintained that Adams remained the party chair.

Ologunagba said: “The NWC declares the said suspension as null and void and of no effect, not being consistent with provisions of the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017) and laid down rules. The PDP is an organised political party governed by strict adherence to the provisions of its Constitution and Rules and will not allow any individual or group at any level to violate its Constitution and Rules.

“The NWC cautions those involved in this illegal act in defiance of the PDP Constitution to retrace their steps as the NWC will not hesitate to take appropriate disciplinary or punitive actions to preserve the stability of our party and the sanctity of our Constitution and Rules.”

But the State Working Committee countered the NWC over its stand on the suspension of Adams. It said that all levels of the party have powers to discipline erring members of the executive, whether at the ward, local government, state, or zonal levels.

The state publicity secretary of the party, Kennedy Peretei, dismissed the statement credited to Ologunagba, on behalf of the NWC, as embarrassing, accusing him of not being fully grounded in the constitution of the party, as well as happening within the PDP in the state.

Peretei said what the party had done was a minor surgery that would help the health of the PDP in future elections in the state.

Speaking with THEWILL, he said the constitution of the PDP allowed the executive at every level to discipline any of their officers.” So I don’t know what is the business of the National Working Committee of the party in what we are doing in Ondo State”.

Nonetheless, the crisis took a new twist last week when the SWC appointed the Deputy Chairman of the Ondo chapter, Tola Alabere, as acting chairman of the state PDP to avoid a vacuum.

The choice of Alabere was ratified by nine out of the 11 members of the SWC, who alleged that Adams was suspended over anti-party activities and actions detrimental to the party’s reputation.

When asked about the situation in the party, Peretei said, “It is only one leg remaining and that is the report of the disciplinary committee. The disciplinary committee has not brought its report. When it brings its report, which is when the matter will be laid to rest either to uphold some measures of punishment or to say no. For now Adams remains suspended.

He assured that Adam’s removal will not affect next month’s bye-election and the governorship election in November, saying, “If you know the jubilation that is going on. We have a stakeholders’ meeting on Wednesday where the decision of the executive committee was ratified. The party is moving on. Everybody knows that the man has outstayed his usefulness. If he has integrity, if 10 out of 12 people said they don’t want you, you should resign. If he doesn’t resign, he will be disgraced.”

Sources informed THEWILL that the immediate cause of the latest action was all about the House of Representatives bye-election coming up next month in the Akoko area of the state.

About the Author

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AYO ESAN, has been actively reporting and analyzing political events for different newspapers for over 18 years. He has also successfully covered national and state elections in Nigeria since the inception of this democracy in 1999.

AYO ESAN, has been actively reporting and analyzing political events for different newspapers for over 18 years. He has also successfully covered national and state elections in Nigeria since the inception of this democracy in 1999.

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