By Ola Ajay
IN spite of the bloody clash that greeted the campaign of the former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja and other notable chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party against the re-election of Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala, in Ogbomoso, they still insisted the outing was successful.
Supporters of both the governor and the PDP chieftains engaged in bloody clash that reportedly left two people dead when the latter visited Ogbomoso, the home town of the governor to organize a rally there.
Though, the State Police Commissioner, Mr. Baba Adisa Bolanta denied death of anybody at the rally, Sunday Vanguard gathered that the number of casualty given was just an approximation. The death toll could be higher than the two people reported to have died in the clash.
Ladoja, Senator Teslim Folarin, Senator Lekan Balogun, Alhaji Yunus Akintunde and many other rooting for change of leadership in the state come 2011, said the large turn out of people in the hometown of the governor was a clear demonstration that the governor had lost popularity in his town.
According to Senator Balogun who spoke on behalf of others in the group, the era of intimidating people guns and cutlasses had expired.
He said, “Guns and machetes are not part of the instruments of democracy. Hoodlums are alien to democracy. The three latter instruments are the only weapons our opponents know how to use. Our instruments are the people backed by intellect and character and yesterday (Friday) rally was a major triumph”.
In his response to the clash at the rally, Governor Alao-Akala through his Special Adviser on Public Communication, Prince Dotun Oyelade said though, he was not opposed to the group campaigning in his hometown, it was wrong for them to allegedly herald their entry into the peaceful town with guns and cutlasses.
Akala said, “Ladoja group is free to visit Ogbomoso and anywhere in Oyo State without let or hindrance but must comport itself decently on every
occasion. Sporadic shootings are not the hallmark of democrats
especially at a period we clamour for votes that count. Gratitude
must go to the good people of Ogbomoso, who refused to be provoked by
those clamouring for a far-fetched state of emergency in a peaceful
state.” He said.
He said further that “it was far fetched to call for a state of emergency in a peaceful state. That Senator Abiola Ajimobi’s 2007 poster is still intact at a prominent location in Ogbomoso three years after he lost the election, shows the people as true democrats confident of repeating the same feat next time around.
Still relishing in the success of the rally, Balogun alleged, “the tremendous efforts made to disrupt it was the demonstration of the hallmark of the leadership that lacks the support of the people and was out, all out, to prevent us from exposing that. Those in government do not have the support of the people anymore and people, in spite of the intimidation, came out in their thousands without weapons, to show that we are their leaders.”
The controversial state party’s Secretary, Alhaji Bashiru Akanbi who aligned with Oyelade it was very uncivilized for them to go to Ogbomoso and shoot.
“If they kill the people, who will vote for them? Why were they there in the first place? Ogbomoso people are cool-headed but they should realize that they are valiant people who will resist them if they make any other attempt. Are they trying to destabilize the state to create room for a state of emergency? Let them know that Governor Akala will reign till 2015.” He said.