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Group wants Ekiti PDP to determine Akerele, Others' Status

By Kazeem Adekunle

As preparations for the 2011 general elections begin to hot up in Ekiti State, the Elections Transparency Group (ETG) has urged the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the State to come out with a definite position on the membership status of the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) governorship candidate during the April 14, 2007, April 25 and May 5, 2009 gubernatorial election, Mr. Yinka Akerele and others, who defected from the party in 2007.

ETG, in a statement issued in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital after its consultative meeting with its members in the State, said the clarification has become necessary in view of the need to “sanitise the political space before the general elections.”

According to the statement signed by the National Coordinator, Alhaji Kazeem Adekunle; “It won't be right for people to be spending their hard earned resources on electioneering campaign only to be told that they are not qualified to run at the eleventh hour.

“From our findings and interaction with stakeholders since we came to Ekiti State last week Tuesday, most of the people, who left the PDP in 2007 are now back in the party.

“For instance, Senator Gbenga Aluko, who left the PDP to fly the flag of Labour Party (LP) during the 2007 elections returned to the PDP in a well, attended public declaration ceremony.

“However, the same cannot be said of Mr. Yinka Akerele, who was the ANPP governorship candidate in 2007 and also flew the party's flag during the April 25 and May 5, 2009 rerun governorship election.

“The implication of this is that as at May 5, 2009, Akerele was a member of ANPP and could only have joined the PDP thereafter. And if he (Akerele) returned to the PDP say on May 6, 2009, which we doubt, questions as to his eligibility to contest elective post under the party must be answered by the State Central Working Committee (CWC) of the PDP.

“That clarification is necessary so as to avoid confusion(s) associated with nomination of candidates in 2007 whereby some people won elections, got sworn into office only for them to be asked to vacate the office for other people.

“For instance, in the case of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, who is now the governor was not the one, who stood for the election. It was Mr. Celestine Omehia that campaigned for the election and won. He (Omehia) was subsequently sworn into office only for the Supreme Court, judgment on who was the PDP candidate for the election to give the governorship to Amaechi.

“Therefore, in other to avoid this kind of embarrassing developments, party positions on candidates must be settled now before the primary elections and the election proper.