Segun Oni, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) governorship candidate in Ekiti State, has come forward to explain why he dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the SDP.
Responding to Allegations of being a ‘notorious defector’ at a debate organized by Channels TV on Sunday June 12, the former Governor of Ekiti affirmed he left the PDP because he does not collaborate with cheats.
In his words: “I do not like cheating. I don’t cheat and don’t like people who cheat. If I see a party that has no respect for its own rules, I see it as not my type of party.”
He explained further: “I contested the PDP primary and it was supposed to be a secret ballot and the world saw how it became open to the extent that one man was being shown every ballot.”
Oni who resigned his membership of the PDP on February 5, days after failing to secure the party’s ticket, continued to argue that he left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) because of “cheating.”
He buttressed: “I believe if the party meant business, it should have said no. If it aspires to rule Nigeria and put confidence in people, it would have said no.”
Then he concluded: “I detest cheating and don’t collaborate with cheats.”
Olusegun Oni, also known as Segun Oni, is a Nigerian politician and a former Governor of Ekiti State between May 29, 2007, and October 14, 2010. Originally, he was a member of the ruling People’s Democratic Party.
Oni was the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2007, while Fayemi was the candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), and at the end of a keenly contested election, Oni was declared winner. After spending three and a half years in office and after two rounds of runoff elections, he was removed on October 15, 2010 by an Appeal Court sitting in Ilorin, Kwara State, presided over by then President of the appellate court, Justice Ayo Salami.
In 2014, in a move that surprised many in and outside the state Oni, who was the Vice National Chairman South West of the PDP, left the party, citing irreconcilable differences with Fayose and the national leadership of the party as reasons for doing so. He then teamed up with his perceived political foe in APC, Kayode Fayemi. He was rewarded with office of Deputy National Chairman (South) of APC. Oni’s election as governor was contentious with his main opponent in the 2007 general election, Kayode Fayemi challenging his victory at the Election Petition Tribunal in Ekiti State.
Oni resigned the position to participate in the 2018 APC primary, where he came second behind Fayemi. Dissatisfied with the conduct of the primary, Oni headed to court to challenge the candidacy of Fayemi, whom he alleged refused to resign from the Federal cabinet within the stipulated time and also over allegation that he was indicted by the Judicial Panel of inquiry set up by Fayose’s government. He eventual lost the legal battle at the apex court. For taking the party to court, Oni’s supporters were schemed out of both appointive and elected positions by Fayemi.
He was suspended indefinitely for anti-party activities.
These developments left Oni with no other choice than to return to his former political party, the PDP in 2019 to activate his governorship project. He was the first politician to openly declare his intention to contest the 2022 governorship poll.
Before joining the PDP, the party was already badly fractured due to intractable crisis that bedeviled it dating back to 2017. There were two factions, which included the Osoko Political Assembly and the Repositioning Group, led by Fayose and Senator Biodun Olujimi respectively. Oni refused to join either faction, preferring to act as a mediator. He was hoping to benefit from both factions, but was resisted by the two groups. He was also unable to convince Senator Iyorchia Ayu-led National Working Committee (NWC) to be given the party ticket to fly PDP’s flag. In the primary election held on January 27, 2022, he came second behind Mr Bisi Kolawole, who became the party candidate. Oni and some other aspirants faulted the conduct of the shadow election, which they alleged was manipulated in favour of the candidate. He again dumped the PDP.
After dumping the PDP, Oni left many political observers guessing for three weeks as to the platform he would use to realise his governorship ambition. Some even speculated he had picked the ticket of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), before he eventually picked that of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).