By OLA AJAYI
IBADAN – GOVERNOR Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State, yesterday, made good his threat as the State Government locked out the Presidential Candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and his running mate, Pastor Tunde Bakare during the party’s campaign to the South West zone of the country.
Governor Akala had said through his Special Adviser on Public Communication, Prince Dotun Oyelade, that his office was not carried along when the CPC changed the earlier date both parties had agreed upon.
He added that the government had earlier given clearance for the venue to the PDP yesterday and Tuesday – today to prepare podium and tomorrow for the actual event.
He explained that the rally would not be allowed to hold at the venue because of the visit of the wife of the President, Mrs. Dame Patience Jonathan today.
But, CPC insisted that it would use the venue having paid all the necessary fees charged for the hall.
On getting to the venue, yesterday, all the gates leading to the ancient Mapo Hall were firmly locked so that nobody could access the place. However, some daring supporters of the party jumped over the fence and entered the premises as the space in front of the hall was too small for the crowd at the rally.
Loyalists of the former military ruler had been waiting at the venue of the rally – Mapo Hall, Ibadan since 10.00 a.m , but the presidential candidate and his entourage did not come until 5.30pm .
When Buhari and his entourage arrived, some people who had earlier left the venue in frustration returnedto catch a glimpse of the former Nigerian leader.
Pastor Bakare who spoke at the rally said the party had brought light and darkness had to give way. His words: “For the past 12 years, we allowed a cat to watch over our meat. PDP, like a venomous snake has suffered us, corrupted the system, given us oppression. Instead of rejoicing, we are now gnashing our teeth in hunger.
Suppression and tyranny
“We have seen you want to say no to suppression and tyranny, that is why you have been waiting for us since morning.
Sorry, we went to Pastor Enoch Adeboye, the Awujale of Ijebuland, Alake of Egbaland, Osile and the Olubadan of Ibadan. We have come to bring a change to your lives and lives of your children.
“On the election day, just look for our symbol which is pen. We want to use that pen to transform your lives. They have spoilt the name of this country. But Buhari has come to give good education to your children. Yorubas are tired of suffering and the only person who can give equal treatment to you is Buhari. That is why federalism is the first in our manifestoes.
“Buhari just urged the people to vote and stand by their votes from the polling booths to the collation centres where the votes would be counted and announced. I assure you that this time around, we won’t allow rigging.”
Buhari then presented the flags to all the governorship candidates of the party in the zone.
Governorship candidate of the party in Oyo State, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, spoke last saying the party would not form alliance with any other political party.
Meanwhile, Governor Akala has given reasons why the government shut down the Mapo Hall.
A statement signed by the governor’s Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Oyelade, said: “The CPC booked the Mapo Hall saying they will use it on Friday. Apparently, their Presidential flag bearers were not ready so they cancelled Friday and wanted Monday.
“The people who earlier gave their clearance had already given the PDP yesterday and Tuesday – today to prepare podium and tomorrow for the actual event.
“After all ACN, ANPP, Accord Party and one or two others had stagged their rallies there.
The CPC is not a threat to us in any manner so we wouldn’t have contemplated stopping them from using Mapo Hall which belongs to everybody.”