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CRS PDP And Reflections From Ekiti 2022 Gubernatorial Election

By Coco-Bassey Esu

The recent Ekiti Gubernatorial election (2022) should serve as a litmus test for PDP in CRS as she approaches the 2023 General elections. Particularly, it should be a warning to those who played key roles in the emergence of candidates for the State House, National Assembly to Governorship. They must seek to understand and reflect on the way things played out in Ekiti State. Last Saturday's elections produced an unacceptable outcome for the PDP, as Engr. Segun Oni, the flag bearer of the SDP, (with no political structure,) came 2nd in the polls, while the candidate of the PDP (with structures), came a distant 3rd. 

This poor showing is the result of actions taken by political leaders, who out of ego and self-serving interest, were not ready to act in tandem with the general wishes of the party faithful. Consequently, they must be blamed for the setback suffered by the PDP at the polls. Ekiti State PDP's travails started when former Governor Ayodele Fayose, (even though PDP is in opposition) threw away his thinking cap and forced his anointed candidate on the party in Ekiti State.

In protest, Ex-Governor Segun Oni, resigned his membership of the PDP on February 5, barely a week after failing to clinch the party’s ticket. In the PDP primaries, Oni purportedly lost the election to Bisi Kolawole, the preferred choice of Ex-Gov. Ayodele Fayose. 

This imposition was seen as arrogant, insensitive and unacceptable by a majority of leaders and stakeholders of the party in the State. 

It precipitated a mass defection to SDP and prompted others to act in ways referred to as "anti-party activities". 

It is my opinion, that their REACTION as party faithful cannot be separated from the bad decision made by Gov Fayose, and so should not be termed as "anti-party activities". 

Ex-Governor Segun Oni and those party men and women who disagreed with the decision were forced out of the party by the overbearing influence of one leader and its attendant consequences. It is also on record, that Gov. Fayose's decision had the backing of ambitious leaders from outside Ekiti state. 

Howbeit, we cannot ignore the impressive showing of Engr. Segun Oni ran as the candidate of the SDP. It is safe to say that his outing was remarkable, despite not having the requisite funds and "structures" that were available to the APC and PDP. Now just imagine if Segun Oni was the PDP flag bearer, the PDP would have enjoyed the advantage of having the SDP protest votes along with that of the PDP. The bandwagon effect on the elections would have propelled PDP to victory. On the contrary, the PDP had to deal with many dampeners and success eluded her. 

These are lessons which must be shared here. The politics of imposition and undue interference whether by direct, indirect, subtle or other means by a leader of an opposition party, can only have negative effects.

Leaders must learn to take a broad range of interests into account and seek what is widely acceptable to most. In the future, the NWC must act preemptively to avoid the kind of embarrassment PDP has suffered in Ekiti State. 

It must consider working through Strategic Committees to ameliorate the influence of individuals intent on having their way over the party's interest. Indeed, it's the stakeholders in the States that know the aspirants and can bring up better approaches for garnering broad support such that people would not waste money and time on an unacceptable choice.

It was further reported that Gov. Makinde, who was the Chairman of the Ekiti Campaign Committee was not on the ground in Ekiti, and most national leaders of the party did not show up for any Ekiti rally by the PDP. The message was clear. Those who arbitrarily impose, have the responsibility to deliver their candidates on behalf of the Party. Now that former Gov. Fayose and his candidate have lost, who will we blame? 

For the records, those thinking the #BackToSouth campaign is dead, may need to rethink. The result on election day may produce some upsets for the PDP because of existing grievances. 

The General election is not the election of a delegate, where only about 0.01% of party members decide on the candidate for the general public. In the General elections, the choice rests squarely with the people, who are influenced by sentiments that are outside the control of the PDP.

As we march towards 2023, there is a lot to bear in mind. If the leadership of the party from the National does not set up strategic teams to address the healing of wounds from the primaries, we will see several upsets across states. Those who inflicted the wounds on the party may not necessarily be the best ones to address the problems they have created. In some instances, they are already carried away by their 'victory' and do not see the need to act. Winning primaries when mixed with ego and arrogance could mean- we have no business soothing frayed nerves. If I must speak proverbially, there is a gathering dark cloud that speaks more about the expected rain, than the rain itself.

In the 'dark cloud' are sown seeds of mistrust, many of which would not be forgotten quickly but could be ameliorated. The victims of these primaries may also have ideas which may not favour the leaders of the PDP. It is common knowledge that the mischief and disdain suffered by the Southern Senatorial District will certainly need time to be resolved. 

No one must rub further insult on injury. Like Ekiti State, these victims only suffered at the primaries but they still have the general elections ahead of them. My wish and hope is that the Ekiti saga will not show its ugly face in Cross River State as some PDP persons 'gleefully'

sets out to RECLAIM CRS without the full complement of its troops.

Coco-Bassey Esu - An Ardent Believer in Equity, Justice and Fairness/Advocate for BackToSouth

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