Former Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose yesterday described the recent Southwest Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) congress as a scam.
He alleged that the congress held in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, was rigged.
Fayose alluded to intimidation, manipulation, violence and vote counting discrepancies, which he attributed to the Collation Officer, Senator Chris Anyanwu.
Although he conceded defeat, the former governor maintained that the poll was marred by malpractices.
Fayose said deceased and sick party members were accredited as delegates.
However, Oyo State PDP faulted Fayose’s claims, saying they were false.
Its Publicity Secretary, Akeem Olatunji, said the election was free, fair and peaceful
Former Oyo State Deputy Governor Taofeek Arapaja, who was backed by the zonal leader, Governor Seyi Makinde, polled 343 votes to defeat Dr. Eddy Olafeso, a loyalist of Fayose, who got 330 votes in the zonal chairmanship poll.
Fayose, who reflected on the congress on a Channel Television programme, explained that he accepted the outcome, not because the poll was transparent, but due to his commitment to PDP’s battle to bounce back in the Southwest.
Currently, Oyo is the only PDP state in the geo-political region. Other states – Lagos, Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo and Osun – are controlled by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Explaining his acceptance of the results, Fayose said:”I have conceded. I conceded, not because they won. I conceded because the PDP is a bigger picture. I want to say that conceding does not amount to defeat; it is sheer exhibiting leadership.”
The former governor described himself as a one-man army contending with key big wings at the congress.
He said: “Take a look at the result and the characters behind the result before I will tell you the issue. I am on one side alone; they have on the side of Governor Makinde, two former governors – Segun Oni and Olagunsoye Oyinlola – they have on their side seven deputy governors and two speakers and serving senators.
“The results in quotes: Arapaja scored 343. My candidate, Eddy Olafeso scored 330, a difference of 13 votes. I’m glad because that is a show of strength. Whether the result is right or wrong, the world can see in the one-man army that has faced them all and without rigging, they lost.”
Asked if the poll was rigged, Fayose replied in the affirmative, saying: “Very clearly.”
Fayose also reflected on his battles with Makinde ahead of the congress, recalling that he had approached the court to obtain an order to prevent the PDP from conducting the congress in Oyo State due to the fear of violence.
He alleged that the congres took a violent turn when suspected thugs from Oyo State with 200 buses invaded the congress and blocked the venue.
Fayose said: “They came with cutlasses and guns all night. It was in the public knowledge.”
The former governor accused Senator Anyanwu of discrepancies un the votes cast.
Fayose added: “For me, as to that election, it was a scam. But, I must agree as a leader of the PDP. I have been working for this party. I am one of the voices that cannot be forgotten in the PDP.
“And I will not sit down here and say because of 13 votes, because of manipulation the party must not move forward.”
Olatunji however denied that the poll was rigged in favour of Arapaja.
He said the poll was the freest and fairest in the history of congresses in the country.
Olatunji, who spoke on telephone, said: “The allegation by our respected leader former governor Ayodele Fayose that the congress was rigged is totally untrue.”
“Delegates from each state were screened and accredited and total number for each state was announced before voting started.
“The national leadership sent delegates‘ list to all the states days before the congress. By the time the number of accredited delegates was announced for Oyo State, nobody raised eye brow because the process was transparent. “The number of ballot papers also tallied with the number for each state. If truly anyone saw names of dead and sick people who voted, such would have been reported right away at the election venue.”
Urging Fayose to cooperate with the new zonal leadership, Olatunji added: “We respect former governor Fayose but he got it wrong on this because it is not true.
“We appeal to him to support the new zonal leadership by showing the love he has for the party so PDP can become stronger and be ready to dislodge the All Progressives Congress (APC) in all our states.
“He has said he can’t defect to another party. That is laudable. We are not taking this allegation against him as our respectable leader.
“He should erase it from his mind that the election was rigged. Ekiti delegates voted massively for Eddy Olafeso while Oyo delegates voted massively for Arapaja. He should please, join hands with Arapaja who is now the zonal chairman.”