Candidates of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the National Assembly seats in Ekiti State, have described their suspension by the national leadership of party as “unnecessary distraction,” saying that they will rather continue reaching out to voters in their various constituencies so as to emerge victorious in the forthcoming February 25, 2023 elections.
The seven candidates gunning for federal legislative seats in Ekiti, who said the purported suspension will have no effect whatsoever on their candidacy, noted that “our concern now is how to win elections and we will not be distracted.”
LEADERSHIP reports that the PDP national publicity secretary, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, had on Friday night issued a statement announcing the suspension of the seven candidates, who are loyalists of former Governor Ayodele Fayose, from the party over alleged anti-party activities.
But, addressing journalists in Ado Ekiti on Saturday, two Senatorial candidates, Alhaji Lateef Ajijola (Ekiti Central) and Hon. Funso Ayeni (Ekiti North) as well as House of Representatives candidates namely Otunba Yinka Akerele (Ekiti North 1), Hon. Babatunde Ajayi (Ekiti North 2), Lere Olayinka (Ekiti Central 2), Joju Fayose (Ekiti Central 1) and Mrs Emiola Adenike Jennifer (Ekiti South 2), called on members and supporters of the PDP in the State to remain calm, assuring that nothing will be left undone to ensure their deserved victory in the forthcoming general elections.
While describing the party’s action as unfortunate and unguided, they said by the Constitution of the PDP, the purported suspension was null and void because none of them was informed of committing any offence before the suspension was pronounced.
“We were never informed of any wrongdoing. They didn’t tell us our offense so that we can defend ourselves as provided by the party’s constitution and the Constitution of Nigeria.
“Section 57 (6) of the PDP constitution is clear and unambiguous. It states that ‘Any decision taken against a member who has not been informed of the charges against him or has not been given any opportunity of defending himself shall be null and void.’
“Also, Section 33 of the Electoral Act is very clear on candidates for elections and as it is, we remain candidates in line with law and we shall remain focused. Our party is a constitutional institution and we will ensure it obeys its constitution.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Section 33 of the Electoral Act provides clearly that; ‘A political party shall not be allowed to change or substitute its candidate whose name has been submitted under Section 29 of this Act, except in the case of death or withdrawal by the candidate.’
“We are, therefore, unperturbed. Rather, we are being propelled to work harder to ensure victory in the elections while we explore appropriate means of handling the issues.
“Ultimately, it will be victory for us as candidates of the PDP.
“Members as well as supporters of the party should keep up with this spirit as we continue with our campaign activities,” they stated.