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PDP candidates in Ekiti reject suspension

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National Assembly candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State on Saturday dismissed their suspension by the party, describing it as an unnecessary distraction.

They said their suspension did not follow due process as the principle of fair hearing was breached.

On Friday, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Barrister Debo Ologunagba announced the suspension of some party leaders in Ekiti, Enugu and Imo States over allegations of anti-party activities. Those affected from Ekiti State included Jennifer Emiola, Samuel Ajayi, Olayinka Olalere, Oluyinka Akerele and Oluwajomiloju John Fayose. Others are Funso Ayeni and Oladimeji Ajijola.

Also suspended were former Enugu State governor, Dr Chimaroke Nnamani, and Chris Ogbu from Imo State.

The suspended candidates issued a statement in Ado-Ekiti on Saturday, which reads: “We are unperturbed. Rather, we are being propelled to work harder to ensure victory in the elections, while we explore appropriate means of handling the issues”.

On Friday, the PDP National Working Committee also dissolved the acting Ekiti State Executive Committee.

The seven affected candidates – two senatorial flag bearers, Lateef Ajijola (Ekiti Central) and Funso Ayeni (Ekiti North) – and five House of Representatives candidates – Yinka Akerele (Ekiti North I), Babatunde Ajayi (Ekiti North II), Lere Olayinka (Ekiti Central II), Joju Fayose (Ekiti Central I) and Mrs Adenike Emiola (Ekiti South II) – called on party members and supporters to remain calm.

They said the purported suspension would not affect their candidacy, as “our concern now is how to win elections and we will not be distracted”.

While describing the party’s action as “unfortunate and unguided”, the candidates said: “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”.

Trouble started for the candidates when they questioned the workability of the inclusion of Social Democratic Party (SDP) members in the party’s presidential campaign council for the state on the grounds that the SDP was fielding candidates for National Assembly elections, which would hold on the same day as the presidential election.

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