National Assembly candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ekiti State on Saturday dismissed their suspension by the party, describing it as unnecessary distraction.
They said their suspension did not follow due process as the principle of fair hearing was breached.
The suspended candidates spoke in a statement issued to journalists in Ado-Ekiti on Saturday.
The statement reads, “We are therefore unperturbed. Rather, we are being propelled to work harder to ensure victory in the elections while we explore appropriate means of handling the issues.”
The PDP National Working Committee had on Friday dissolved the acting State Executive Committee and as well suspended seven of the nine National Assembly candidates in the state for alleged anti-party activities.
The National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, who announced the NWC decisions in two separate statements, stated, “The PDP urges all leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of our party in Ekiti State to remain united and focused on the task ahead.”
But the seven affected candidates comprising two senatorial flag bearers – Lateef Ajijola (Ekiti Central) and Funso Ayeni (Ekiti North) and five House of Representatives candidates – Yinka Akerele (Ekiti North 1), Babatunde Ajayi (Ekiti North 2), Lere Olayinka (Ekiti Central 2), Joju Fayose (Ekiti Central 1) and Mrs Adenike Emiola (Ekiti South 2), called on party members and supporters to remain calm.
They said the purported suspension would have no effect whatsoever on their candidacy, saying, “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 offence 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 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 with the presidential election.