By Rotimi Ojomoyela
Ado-Ekiti—There was palpable tension in Ado-Ekiti yesterday, as members of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, RTEAN, clashed over leadership tussle within the union.
Several persons were reportedly wounded in the clash, which locked down a section of the state capital for several hours.
RTEAN had been in crisis since a faction loyal to the former chairman of the union, Mr. Rotimi Olabiwonnu, and six others were released from the prison through court judgment in January.
Olabiwonnu and others were arrested over alleged connection with the murder of the former Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers in Ekiti, Chief Omolafe Aderiye.
They were kept in the prison for over three years, before they were set free by a judgment of the court.
Aderiye was murdered by suspected assassins in his office in Ado Ekiti on September 24, 2014 at the twilight of Dr Kayode Fayemi’s first term tenure.
What fueled the crisis was the alleged arrest of Olabiwonnu by the Police, which some of his loyalists misinterpreted to be another ploy to incarcerate him.
There were sporadic gunshots along Ijigbo and Old Garage up to Okeyinmi axis in Ado Ekiti, yesterday, by rival groups over a violent clash between Olabiwonnu and Samuel Agbede groups.
Shop owners around the area and other locations within the state capital hurriedly closed their shops at about 12 noon and returned home.
Those loyal to Olabiwonnu had been making efforts to take over leadership in all RTEAN units.
While Olabiwonnu is a loyalist of the governor-elect, Dr. Fayemi, Agbede, the Chairman of RTEAN is a loyalist of Governor Ayodele Fayose.
The popular and ever busy Oja Oba could not operate for several hours as gunshots by members of the drivers’ union rend the air.
Eyewitness revealed that several people were wounded as they fled in different directions to prevent being killed and the victims were said to be receiving treatments in the hospital.
Following tension generated by the crisis, the Police immediately drafted their men and cordoned off the flash points by erecting barricades, which prevented motorists from plying that road for several hours.
When called for confirmation, the Police Public Relations Officer, Ekiti Command, Mr. Caleb Ikechukwu, said the situation has been put under control.
Ikechukwu said no arrest has been made in connection with the crisis, assuring that policemen have been deployed in all the areas affected to quell the crisis.