The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) today re-admitted Ayo Fayose, the former governor of Ekiti State, into its fold.
“By this action, Dr. Fayose is cleared to enjoy all rights and privileges of a member of the PDP without let or hindrance,” National Publicity Secretary Olisa Metuh said in a statement.
The re-admittance took effect from September 14, 2011, one year ago. Fayose was expelled from the party in 2010. He joined the Labour Party, where he hoped to become the Senator for the Ekiti Central Senatorial District, a race he lost.
The NWC said it had also approved a waiver for Fayose in line with the provision of Article 8(a) and Article 17.2 (g) of the PDP Constitution with effect from the same date.
Article 8.1.a provides as follows: “Membership of the Party shall be open to all Nigerians who: Are at least 18 years of age, irrespective of religion, ethnicity, and gender, social or economic status.”
Article 17.2 (g) says, “There shall be a minimum of two (2) years membership span for a member to be eligible to stand for election into any party or public office unless the appropriate executive committee rules to the contrary. Where appropriate committee rules, it must be approved by the immediate higher executive committee save NEC is final authority.”
In effect, by backdating Fayose’s re-entry, the PDP is offering him electoral office next year, instead of 2014 when the two-year rule would have let him off the hook.
The NWC has also approved a 32-member National Campaign Committee, to be led by Vice President Namadi Sambo, for the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Ondo State, an election the party is hoping to win following its humiliating defeat in Edo State in July. The Committee will be inaugurated by the National Chairman, Alhaji Dr. Bamanga Tukur.
Fayose’s return to the PDP is interesting to political observers for many reasons. As the PDP fell apart in the West following Obasanjo’s failure to win support for his third term bid in 2007, few things illustrated the scale of the bitterness within the PDP as his relationship with the former Ekiti governor.
Arriving in a thanksgiving service in Okuku, Osun State in December 2010, Fayose greeted all the notables while seeming not to have noticed the presence of Obasanjo, who was holding court with such people as Ibrahim Babanginda, Alao Akala and Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State.
Called by name by Obasanjo who wanted to know if Fayose had not noticed him, Fayose turned to Obasanjo and told him he would not greet such a bad person.
An enraged Obasanjo called Fayose a "bastard," whereupon Fayose, converging on the older man, called him the "father of bastards" and gave him a stern lecture.
"You created all these troubles in the Southwest,” he said, “and for your information, I did not come here as a member of your party, I am no longer a PDP member."
Mr. Fayose is facing corruption charges filed by the Economic and Finacial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Apart from corruption charges, the former governor was accused of assasinating a political opponent, Ayo Daramola, an aspiring gubernatorial candidate of the PDP in 2006.