What could be regarded as a wide gulf is now existing among leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State over the suspension of former governor Segun Oni from the party for anti-party activities.
Leaders of the party in the two wards in Ifaki Ekiti, in Ido/Osi local government, had condemned the suspension and branded it as shameful and illegal, having allegedly violated the procedures of the party.
Those who signed the statement from the two wards rejecting the party’s position are: Michael Durodola, Tayo Okanlawon, Ebenezer Ogunlana and Sola Ilori.
For allegedly been involved in action considered anti-party, the APC executives in Ifaki ward II, had on 1st May, 2019, slammed Oni with indefinite suspension from the party.
Aside other undisclosed allegations tagged anti-party, Oni had shortly after the July 14, 2018 governorship election won by Governor Kayode Fayemi went to court to challenge his eligibility to participate in the May 12, 2018 primary of the party.
Oni, among other issues, described Fayemi’s refusal to resign as a Minister of the federal Republic of Nigeria as a infraction and flagrant violation of the party’s constitution and guidelines.
The letter conveying Oni’s suspension was signed by the chairman and secretary of Ifaki ward II, Shina Akinloye and Ogunyemi Taiwo , respectively and 24 other executive members in the ward.
Meanwhile, a statement signed by some leaders of the party on Saturday, dissociated themselves from the suspension, saying it was an act of disrespect.
The statement said: “The ward executives’ decision to suspend Segun Oni did not receive the blessing of generality of Ifaki wards’ APC Leaders.
“The concocted allegations were unfounded. Names of those said to have raised allegations of anti party against Oni were not mentioned, neither were they invited.
“The faceless committee they said they set up did not property invite the former governor. The suspension letter written to the former Governor has no signatories and this rendered it useless.
“With the above, we the entire elders of the APC in the two wards in Ifaki reject this suspension and we urge the party members and the public to discountenance it,” they said.
Oni’s suspension from the party also enjoyed the backing of the APC executive in Ido /Osi local government area through its Assistant Financial Secretary and Assistant Organising Secretary, Messrs A. Suleiman and Olanrewaju Olamope, signed respectively .
Apart from being a former governor, Oni also served as the Deputy National Chairman(South) of the APC under the tenure of Chief John Oyegun.
The letter titled: ‘Suspension From All Progressives Congress Ward II, Ifaki Ekiti’ reads: ” Subject to Article 21 Subsections I, II and X of the APC constitution 2014 as amended, we undersigned executive members of the APC hereby suspend you indefinitely from our great party, based on your refusal to honour our invitation for investigation and fact finding into the allegation of anti party activities leveled against your person by the members of our party.
“We are by the copy of this letter informing both the local government and state working committee of the party for necessary information and action”.
The party, had in a letter dated 24th April, 2019 and signed by the ward executive, invited Oni to appear before a panel.
The letter reads: “We the executive members of the APC in Ifaki Ward II, hereby request your presence at the Ilero town hall, Ilogbe , Ifaki Ekiti to clear air about the allegations by members of the APC in your ward.
” Kindly indicate by informing the APC chairman the convenient time and date to appear before members within the next seven days of the reception of this letter”.
The letter of invitation was received on Oni’s behalf by one Segun Adetunji on 25th April, 2019.
Oni had gone to court after the May 26, 2018 APC governorship primary to challenge Governor Kayode Fayemi’s eligibility to participate in the election.
Oni said going by the constitution of the party, Fayemi, being a Minister in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari, ought to resign 30 days to the primary.
Fayemi later won the July 14 governorship election, by defeating the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prof Kolapo Olusola.
But the supreme court, in its judgement, dismissed Oni’s suit for lack of merit, saying Fayemi didn’t breach the law by resigning after the primary.
Fayemi in his reaction to the court verdict, handed out an olive branch to Oni, with a promise to work with him to move the party forward.
But some party members were said to have insisted that Oni needed to be punished for disrespecting the party, by declining the Senatorial ticket and proceeding to court to upturn Fayemi’s victory.
Reacting personally to his kinsmen’s action, Oni, who said he was not sure of the said suspension, said: “I am not sure. There is a structure in the party. There is a way things are done in the party.
On his failure to heed the invitation of APC Ifaki Ward as conveyed in a letter dated April 24, the former governor queried the people behind the said invitation, saying: “Who are they? I am not a nobody in the party. So I cannot be expected to honour such a faceless invitation.
“Who are they? What is their pedigree? If a group of rascals signed a letter, how can they expect me to give any thought to such. Let those who wrote the letter show face and levy allegations,” Oni said.