Emerging dangerous trends in Ekiti politics

Emerging dangerous trends in Ekiti politics

In the last few weeks, the relative peaceful political atmosphere in Ekiti State has been upset due to inter and intra party crises involving members of the two dominant political parties, All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Some officials of the PDP recently took on one another in a bloody clash at the party secretariat in Ado-Ekiti with many sustaining injuries. The crisis was caused by the consensus option being contemplated by PDP leadership ahead of the 2014 governorship election in the state.

The latest is the crisis involving members of the ruling APC.  Last Friday, the Iyin-Ekiti home of the former military Governor of Western States, General Adeyinka Adebayo, was in turmoil when supporters of Governor Kayode Fayemi and a member of House of Representatives, Hon. Michael Opeyemi  Bamidele, believed to be nursing governorship ambition, clashed .

The battle ground was a primary school compound, venue of a burial reception for Chief Mrs Felicia Akinwumi, mother of a chieftain  of the  All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Dipo Akinwumi.

Tension heightened at the reception when a male singer sang praises of Fayiemi after a female singer had dedicated similar song to Bamidele. Supporters of the two gladiators at the event had exhibited some level of maturity until a leader of Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Niyi Adedipe, burst into the stage, causing pandemonium.

Stones and other dangerous weapons were thrown from different direction with people sustaining various degrees of injuries.

As a result, the APC secretariat at Iyin and Bamidele’s campiagn office at Ado-Ekiti were torched and vehicles including that of the OPC leader were damaged.

When journalists visited the campaign office of Hon. Bamidele at Basiri area of Ado-Ekiti, broken bottles littered the place and the louvre blades of the windows were broken. Also, the Ekiti Bibire Coalition flags were pulled down, ostensibly by thugs.

Addressing journalists, the Director General of Bamidele Campaign Organisation, Ropo Ige, accused Adedipe and the special assistant to the governor on internal security, Mr. Deji Adesokan, of leading thugs to the event to attack the federal lawmaker.

He expressed disappointment that supporters of the lawmaker were not being given the needed security, adding that it was not a crime for the lawmaker to have indicated his interest in the governorship race.

Ige, who said the matter has been reported to the police, pleaded with security agents to investigate the fracas with a view to ascertaining those behind it.

He recalled that this is not the first time the lawmaker would be attacked since he indicated his governorship interest.

The interim chairman of APC in Ekiti, Chief Jide Awe, who condemned the incident, distanced APC from it, saying that all the dramatis personae were not acting in the name of the party.

Awe lamented that the issue was being blown out of proportion, clarifying further that what is being painted internal crisis within the APC, which has to do with the ambition of Bamidele, had been addressed by leadership of the party when it visited Ekiti recently.

His words: “When the leadership of our party came to Ekiti, they mentioned it in the open and I think that has put paid to that matter .The issue is whether Bamidele is having intention to run for governorship in 2014 or not. With all intent and purposes, our leaders have cleared the air on the issue. Even before then, the 16 local governments and the party have taken a decision that come 2014, Dr Kayode Fayemi will be re-presented as arrow-head of the party”

According to him, what transpired at Iyin-Ekiti was not the making of APC. Awe also denounced the OPC leader, saying he was not a member of APC.

“I learnt that one Niyi Adedipe, a leader of Oodua People’s Congress(OPC) was there. He is not a member of our party. All along he has not been a member of our party or the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). So, if Adedipe has done anything there, he is on his own,” he reiterated.

The APC leader also dismissed the rumour making the rounds that the secretariat of the party had returned to Bamidele, all the items he donated to the party.

He said: “What would have led to that?  Bamidele voluntarily donated some buses to our party when he wanted to run for the House of Representatives and we accepted them. The one given to the party headquarters is still in my House; only that it is having some mechanical fault. Nobody has ever come here to say that we have returned those gifts and we at the party level have not given any order in that regard. So, nobody has returned anything. But I wouldn’t know of individual gifts.”

In their different reactions, however, both Adesokan and Awe denied being the brain behind the crisis but Awe said Adedipe was at the ceremony on his invitation but did not say why he invited him.

Awe, who took newsmen to the Ward A secretariat of the party at Iyin-Ekiti, also alleged that the party’s flags were pulled down by Bamidele’s supporters, disclosing that one Ayodeji  Olofin was given matchete cuts on the head by the lawmaker’s supporters.

Awe, who called for a thorough investigation by the police, alleged that MOB’s supporters invaded the area with dangerous weapons to attack those at the event.

Giving his own side of the story, Adedipe, who is the Coordinator of Otunba Gani Adam’s faction of O’odua Peoples Congress (OPC) in Ekiti State, denied being the mastermind of the bloody clash.

He said instead, he was one of the few people who escaped the clash miraculously, claiming that many of his lieutenants were not so lucky as they were caught up in the melee.

Clarifying his role, the OPC chief, who said he was actually invited by the caretaker Chairman of Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government, Femi Awe said: “I didn’t attack anybody or caused the problem. Truly, I was invited by the caretaker Chairman of Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government and son of the soil, Mr Femi Awe, to attend the ceremony.

We were not there to foment trouble and I only went there with two of my aides.

“As I am speaking, my driver, Friday, is still at the Ekiti State Police Command Clinic at Okesa in Ado Ekiti due to the machete cut inflicted on him by Bamidele’s thugs. Even my bus, which they vandalised, is still at the police headquarters. So, I was not in any way involved.”

Also on Monday, August 26, 2013, three persons were shot by yet-to-be identified gunmen, when youths committed to the governorship ambition of Hon. Bamidele protested alleged intimidation of their mentor by certain agents of government in the state. The names of the victims were given as Ola Fatokun, Rasaki Bello and Ige Adeola.

But Adesokan, in a swift reaction, said he knew nothing about the crisis since he is not the police. He also denied instigating the arrest of Bamidele’s supporters, just as he explained that the disruption of the protest and the arrest of some people must have been ordered by the Commissioner of Police, Sotonye Wakama.

Police authorities in Ekiti State have also confirmed the arrest and detention of seven persons in connection with the incident.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Victor Babayemi, who confirmed the incident, said the injured have been taken to hospital.

Babayemi explained that the police intervention was to forestall an escalation of the crisis, saying the command cannot fold its arms and allow people to take laws into their own hands.

Going by records, the trend is not entirely strange in state’s polity, as successive administrations had contended with one political crisis or another with reports of fatalities.

Some time in 2002 during the administration of Otunba Niyi Adebayo of Alliance for Democracy (AD), a staunch member of the party, Mrs Aborisade (a.k.a Thatcher) was bathed with acid in the build-up to the second term of the former governor.

The administration of Ayo Fayose of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who succeeded Adebayo, also had its political turmoil. Notable among these were the ones that led to the killing of two prominent indigenes of the state, Dr Ayo Daramola, a World Bank consultant and PDP chieftain, who was murdered in cold blood at his private residence in Ijan-Ekiti. Daramola, until his death, was PDP governorship aspirant while Tunde Omojola of AD also lost his life during a councillorship election at Ifaki-Ekiti.

During the era Segun Oni, a senior officer of PHCN, Kehinde Fasuba, said to be nursing a senatorial ambition under PDP, also felled to assassins’ bullets in Ado-Ekiti.

There were casualties during and after the controversial re-run election in some communities like Oye, Ilawe-Ekiti, Omuo-Ekiti and Erijiyan-Ekiti.

Pundits are of the view that with the emerging frightening developments in the political terrain, coupled with the growing number of governorship aspirants across party line, tension could heighten in the state ahead of 2014 unless a deliberate attempt is made by stakeholders to check the situation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s