By Dayo Johnson
The protest in Ondo State, over the weekend, took a bloody dimension as a secondary school student was said to have been hit by the tear gas canister, released by the police in dispersing the rioters in Ondo town, near Ife garage.
This came as opposition political parties in the state, weekend, called for calm and caution over the protests.
The name of the pupil has not been identified as at the time of filling this report.
But Vanguard gathered that the student of St Joseph College was on his way to the school on Friday when he was hit by the canister.
Moreso, Akure, the Ondo State capital, was not left out, as rioters again trooped to the streets, protesting the decision of INEC.
The Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi, emerge from his Palace, over the weekend, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the Ondo PDP crisis arising from substitution of Eyitayo Jegede with Jimoh Ibrahim as governorship candidate by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) according to court orders.
Aladetoyinbo made the appeal while addressing aggrieved PDP members and the supporters, who again came out in their thousands at his Palace, in Akure.
He also enjoined INEC to be not be partisan.
“The judiciary should also intervene and make sure that all parties get justice because we don’t want any injustice in Ondo State,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, PDP Chairman in the state, Engr Clement Faboyede, called on the president to prevail on INEC to look into the issue.
“We don’t want Ondo State to be on fire because our state is peaceful. Some cabals in All Progressive Congress (APC) are using Jimoh Ibrahim against the candidacy of Jegede, Jimoh is not a PDP member but rather a card carrying member of Accord party,” he said.
The supporters carried placards with inscriptions such as ‘Return Jegede to us’, Buhari should not interfere in Ondo politics’ and ‘Remember 1983’.
In Akure, the state capital, the protesters led by Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Jumoke Akindele and Ondo State PDP Chairman, Clement Faboyede marched from Alagbaka through the popular Oba Adesida road and climaxed at the Palace of Deji of Akure chanting “Eyitayo is Our Choice.”
The action paralyzed vehicular, business and commercial activities as all shops in the city were under lock and key in solidarity with Eyitayo Jegede.
Weanwhile, the Social Democratic Party, SDP, called on security agents in the state to be more pro-active in combating criminal activities as the governorship election draws near.
In a statement by the state Publicity Secretary, Mr. Remi Olayiwola, the party said that the protest that trailed the removal of Jegede’s name and its replacement with Jimoh Ibrahim had to do with the flag bearer of only one out of the 28 participating political parties in the election.
The SDP said: “The other day, it was the APC disturbing the people of the state, today, it is the PDP. These are political parties in government at various levels in the country. So, if there’s any violence during the forth coming governorship election, the two parties must be held responsible.”
Also, the Alliance for Democracy, AD, condemned the acts of brigandage and blocking of roads by protesters were organized by government.
State Secretary of the party, Sola Agboola called “on the law enforcement agencies to call Governor Mimiko and his protégé, Mr Eyitayo Jegede, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria to order and hold them responsible for any infraction and breakdown of law and order.
THE Jimoh Ibrahim faction of the PDP in the state has accused the state government of stage managing the series of protests in the state.
The faction’s Director of Media and Publicity, Yemi Akintomide said that the move was to “deceive the public that the candidacy of Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim was rejected by the populace.”
Akintomide frowned at the “desperation and pull-it-down at all cost attitude of Governor Mimiko who swore on oath to protect the people and maintain peace and order across the state.
“We call on human right groups to rise against this unholy action of ridiculing, disparaging and dis-humanising the dignity and sanity of womanhood, all in the name playing destructive politics that will do nobody any good.
“We are appealing to our resourceful market women, darling wives, beautiful sisters and brilliant ladies to shun any act capable of jeopardising their hard earn, long standing family names and core values; and not to dishonour and disrespect their dignified bodies to march half naked in exchange for any amount of money not worth the pride of their womanhood.
“We urge Governor Mimiko to toe the line of peace by pursuing the case against Jegede in the appellate courts as demanded by the Constitution.”
He added that “We also urge them not to rest on their oasis by ensuring nobody, no matter how highly placed, further disrupted the relative peace we have been enjoying in our state.
“The AD, as a peaceful party, abhors violence and destruction of public properties and we view with seriousness this shameful act of brigandage to force the hands of the law to do your wish by fire by force as Mr Mimiko is doing.
“The present mayhem is an organised one being perpetrated by the Ondo State Government and not that of the reaction of the people.”