Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
A viral video which flooded social media on Monday purportedly showing an oath-taking session administered on some supporters of former Governor Ayodele Fayose has continued to deepen the lingering crisis in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State.
Some members of the party in Ijero Local Government Area of the State were seen in the video cursing themselves during the oath-taking session that sudden death be visited on them should they betray ex-Governor Fayose.
The media aide to former Governor Fayose, Lere Olayinka and his counterpart to Senator Biodun Olujimi, Sanya Atofarati, traded words on Tuesday on the appropriateness or the otherwise of the oath-taking on “SABENKO”, a Yoruba current affairs programme in Ekiti.
– Prominent PDP members in Ekiti state, allegedly recorded swearing oath of allegiance to former Gov. Fayose pic.twitter.com/w5K0ZPTXZN
— Vyrãl Treñdz (@TheViralTrendz) July 20, 2020
Olujimi’s spokesman, Atofarati, who frowned at the entirety of the oath-taking exercise, said Fayose’s action of coercing party members into a secret oath to sustain their loyalty was not only shameful but also dented the image of the party.
Reacting to issues on the programme through a telephone chat, Fayose’s spokesman, Lere Olayinka, denied that party members were coerced, insisted that they only affirmed their loyalty to Fayose voluntarily.
Atofarati, who wondered why a political leader would compel his followers into an oath, accused Fayose of ‘harbouring a plot to enslave everybody in Ekiti PDP” adding that “there are shackles on the legs of Fayose’s supporters in the party.’
The senator’s spokesman said the entire people of Ekiti State were scandalised by Fayose’s alleged desperation by the video of the oath-taking noting that a good leader need not coerce his followers into such an exercise.
But Olayinka countered by saying there was nothing secret about the exercise claiming that it was Fayose’s supporters themselves that uploaded the video on the social media in affirmation of their loyalty to the leader.
According to him, that was the usual method adopted by PDP members in Ijero and it was a message to the Olujimi’s camp that they were for Fayose.
Atofarati said: ‘Forcing party members into an oath is very bad and the video is saddening and shameful and it shows the type of leader they have chosen to follow and the people of Ekiti are scandalized by the video.
‘If you claim you love the people, why are you forcing them to curse themselves? Since I saw the video, I have been praying to God to forgive them all for what they have done.
‘It is bad for somebody like me to go to Senator Olujimi and tell her that we should force an oath on our supporters. You said will not betray Fayose, what if Fayose betrays you?
‘Fayose sees himself as a little god that all of us must worship. If Fayose says he has helped Olujimi, has he forgotten that Olujimi helped him to become governor?
‘The issue of oath-taking is bad and should we continue to do it? Many of those following Fayose don’t like what he is doing. We have rejected Fayose’s selfishness in Ekiti PDP and we are out to reposition the party.
Olayinka said: ‘There is a difference between taking an oath and expressing your mind and what they have done is an agreement among them, it’s just like an agreement between husband and wife.
‘The video was released by those who participated in it. If they have done something bad, would they have the boldness to release it? These people did it by themselves and they have shown that they are with Fayose.
‘If my brother in the studio is saying that they are taking oath in Fayose’s camp, that means that Olujimi herself had taken part in oath-taking because Fayose made her Special Assistant, House of Reps member, Deputy Governor and Senator.
‘This is how PDP members in Ijero do their own things and I want to ask, do they record anything that is secret? It was not an oath, they only affirmed their loyalty to Fayose.
‘People also affirm in the court of law, has anyone of them told you that he was coerced?’