Pandemonium in Abeokuta as PDP factions clash

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By DAUD OLATUNJI

ABEOKUTA—Hell was let loose in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, yesterday, following the bloody clash between the members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, factions loyal to the party financier, Prince Buruji Kashamu and former President Olusegun Obasanjo over the control of the state party secretariat leaving one person on danger list.

Members of the two factions which had been at loggerheads  over  the possession of  the Party  Secretariat located on the Presidential Boulevard, Abeokuta, caused a stir when they  allegedly used dangerous weapons, charms and missiles against one another.

According to an eye witness, the violence  started at about 10:00a.m. when the members of the Bayo Dayo-led State Executive Council  stormed the party premises for an emergency meeting which was resisted  by the Obasanjo faction and  resulted in the bloody clash which created panic among residents of the area.

Vanguard gathered that several members of the two  factions sustained various  degrees of injury in the fracas brought under control by security operatives 30 minutes later.

Further findings revealed that, during the melee, one of the hoodlums in the Obasanjo’s faction  was allegedly hit  with an object suspected to be a charm which made him to vomit  blood.

The security operatives which included armed policemen, operatives of the State Anti-Robbery Squad and State Security Service arrested five of the hoodlums and subsequently took over the Secretariat.

When Vanguard visited the place some armed and stern-looking policemen and  plainclothe security operatives prevented journalists from gaining entry into the premises after the situation was brought under control.

The Chairman of the State Executive Committee of the Ogun PDP, Chief Adebayo Dayo described the development  as “an illegality of the highest order being perpetrated by some elders of the party in the state.”

Dayo who spoke with newsmen  in Abeokuta  however, insisted  that his exco remains the only recognised  leadership of the PDP in  the state.

In his reaction to the fracas, the Publicity Secretary of the Obasanjo faction, Mr. Bidemi Osunbiyi accused the other faction of initiating violence.

He, however, denied that there was a bloody clash.

Osunbiyi said: “We normally hold our meetings on Wednesday but this morning they (Kashamu faction members) came and said that they wanted use the secretariat.

“They were led by some security men. But while we were still talking, one over-zealous boy hit one of us with a charm and people now held him.

“But the police came and asked us to leave the secretariat. Tomorrow, we shall surely be back at the secretariat. What happened today is the beginning of the end of the crisis”.

Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Ikemefuna Okoye who led other senior security chiefs to the Ogun PDP secretariat told newsmen that his men were at the party premises to maintain peace, law and order.

Okoye said that he rushed to the party secretariat when he was informed that there was a “little problem” in the party premises.

The Ogun police boss however assured the residents of the area not to panic as policemen had already “taken over the secretariat.”

Meantime, the Ogun State chapter of the PDP has announced the suspension of four of its chieftains from the Ogun West Senatorial District for alleged “anti-party activities, malfeasance and other acts inimical to the interest of the party.”

The party said  “those suspended included, “Hon.Kazeem Salako, a former member of the House of Representatives; Alhaji Alli Ajibode, former Commissioner for Forestry Resources; ex- Special Adviser to former Governor Gbenga Daniel, Chief Wale Egunleti and former Chairman of Yewa North Local Government, Evang.Olusoji Eweje.”

In a statement issued in Abeokuta on Wednesday by the State Publicity Secretary, Waliu Oladipupo, the party alleged that the suspended members had been fraternising with the opposition parties and groups “while pretending to be with us”.

The statement read in part  “the suspension would, in the first instance, last 30 days within which they are expected to appear before the party’s disciplinary committee.”

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