GIST OF THE DAY: Ekiti crisis Asiwaju Tinubu issues Statement defending Hon Opeyemi Bamidele

It has been reported that members of the Ekiti
State Caucus in the House of Representatives
suspended Hon. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, as
their leader because of his alleged declaration to
contest the governorship election next year. I
have not seen an official word through the party
machinery about this action. However, I feel
compelled to speak to dispel rumor and false
report from assuming the aspect of fact.
The news of the purported removal of Opeyemi
Bamidele came as a surprise. The decision of the
members of the Ekiti House Caucus in this
regard truncates ongoing efforts at
reconciliation. Notwithstanding thefact that the
party leadership is working hard to reconcile all
sides. What took some members of the
leadership of the party to Ekiti State recently
was a continuation of the process of appeal and
reconciliation. The objective here is to first
understand and iron out the issues that have
resorted in a gulf between Opeyemi Bamidele
and Governor Kayode Fayemi on one hand and
the party towards building a formidable political
house in Ekiti.From my vantage point, I don’t
believe the members of the Ekiti caucus could
possibly take such a step for such a scant
reason. I trusttheir democratic pedigree to
highly believe that they would not be used to
takethis false step which would violate
established party rules, processes and traditions.
For instance, decisions of this critical nature
must be done with the consultation of the
national leadership of the party. From what I
can gather, our National Chairman and the
party’s leadership were never consulted or
notified about the pendency of such a stark
action. For that reason alone, if such an action
has been taken, those who did so should retrace
their steps to avoid creating an unnecessary
difficulty for themselves and the Ekiti chapter of
the party.
Beyond the issue of procedure and rules, there
is the tiny matter of internal party democracy to
consider. I have said before, any party member
has a right to contest the governorship of Ekiti or
any other state. Any other person, including
Opeyemi Bamidele, has the right to. This right is
so fundamental to internal democracy that I do
not believe he should be sanctioned at this
point where the most he has done is make
unofficial statements about contesting. Our party
cannot join the club of other parties that punish
members for expressing interests in an office.
While Opeyemi Bamidele’s position may not be
popular among his colleagues he has the right
to believe as he does. We must protect and
smother unpopular and minority positions. If we
don’t like it, we vote against it at the
appropriate time but we do not punish people
simply for thinking differently, this is how we
must grow our democracy.Thus, Opeyemi
Bamidele was expressing his democratic rights.
To unilaterally suspend him as leader of the
House Caucus is a questionable one they should
reconsider. It would appear to contravene the
letter and best spirit of party democracy. While
we have no problem in him pursuing his
democratic ambition without intimidation and
persecution, we will continue our efforts at
persuading him not to rock the boat and play
into the hands of our opponent particularly the
PDP shenanigans. Political conflict, challenges
and resolutions are the hallmarks of political
association and leadership, orderly means of all
efforts at democratically resolving those conflicts
are not endless in any way. Accordingly, I urge
our five lawmakers; Robison Ajiboye, Bamidele
Faparusi, Bimbo Daramola, Dr. Ifeoluwa
Arowosoge, and Oyetunde Ojo to reverse
themselves and embrace the process of amicable
resolution already put in place by the party and
that have been producing good fruit. To do
otherwise is to give comfort to those who would
seek to divide the Ekiti State chapter of the
Action Congress of Nigeria. W appeal to those
promoting these divisions to sheathe their
swords in the interest of the party and its
ardent followers. We cannot forget so soon the
struggle and what it cost us to get to where we
are today. We owe it to the Ekiti people and all
democrats in the country to sustain and protect
this hard won democracy. All true progressives
must rise up in defence of individual freedom
and promotion of democratic values. We shall
overcome for the good of all. Thank You.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu
July 10th, 2013

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