By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
What looks like a factional crisis is brewing in the Ekiti State chapter of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), as some stakeholders have rejected the reelection of Ifeoluwa Iyaniwura, as the Chairman of the body.
At the election conducted at the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) in Ado Ekiti, on Thursday, Iyaniwura polled a total of eight votes to defeat his rival and State Chairman, Action Alliance (AA), Mr. Lanre Anifowose, who garnered six votes.
The Chairman, IPAC Electoral Panel from Abuja, Obe Opunkun, declared Iyaniwura winner of the election that was supervised by INEC.
However, the panel disqualified Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Advanced Democratic Congress (ADC) and Labour Party (LP) from participating in the election due to controversy surrounding the nomination of delegates to vote in the poll.
Anifowose, who rejected the outcome of the election, accused the supervising officials of conniving with the incumbent chairman to disenfranchise his followers.
He said: “I reject this election on two grounds. One, those calling themselves party chairmen today and voted had never participated in IPAC activities. Two, the PDP in Ekiti is factionalised and nobody is expecting the party to participate, but the electoral umpire connived with some few to pervert justice. The whole process was not transparent.
“Delegates of three political parties, who are my supporters were rejected to puncture my camp without reasons, despite that their chairmen confirmed their authenticity. So, I am going back to the drawing board. IPAC is not a one-man show. They have done their worst today, but I am rejecting the result of the election.
“With these itemised issues, the election cannot be deemed to be valid. A process has started, but we will begin our own process, either through legal means or otherwise. We are not going to be violent. IPAC is for all of us. We are not going to rest, even forming a parallel body is an option”.
Anifowose stated further that; “We will meet all stakeholders and decide the next line of actions. There is nothing like forced marriage in life, such marriage will crash. We are not going into a forced marriage with anybody”.
But in his inaugural speech, Iyaniwura described the process as credible and appreciated the members for imbibing the spirit of democracy.
“Politics can’t set us apart. We knew ourselves and we will do our possible best to bring everybody together. We would continue to play an advisory role to INEC as stipulated in the statute that established IPAC”.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Ekiti State, Rahman Tella, represented by the INEC Executive Secretary, Akinropo Ojewande, advised the new officers to be supportive to INEC in the conduct of good elections in Nigeria.
“We are ready to achieve a level playing ground for all parties in the conduct of elections. The commission is ready to listen to your suggestions and observations until we get to a level when the citizens are allowed to choose their leaders freely without hindrance”.
Also pronounced winners were: Chief Abiola Odeoba of the Accord Party-Deputy Chairman, Mr. Rufus Alabi of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA)- Secretary-General, Lanre Omotayo of the African Action Congress (AAC) -Organising Secretary, Raphael Adeyanju of the People’s Democratic Party -Public Relations Officer,
Others included: Tunde Agbabiaka of the Zenith Labour Party -Legal Adviser, Chief Awogbemi-Financial Secretary, Com Ade Ajayi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) – Treasurer, and Olufemi Adetumbi of the Advanced People’s Party (APP) – Assistant Secretary-General.