…one aspirant injured, hospitalised
By Adeola Badru
Following the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries towards producing a candidate to represent the party at the forthcoming local government election in the state, the exercise has been disrupted in Lagelu Local Government Area of the state, as one of the party chairmanship aspirants, name withheld, allegedly mobilised members of the proscribed National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) to disrupt and hijack the process in the local government.
This was made known to journalists who had gone out to monitor the party’s primary held in Ibadan on Monday, shortly after the exercise was disrupted in Lagelu Local Government.
The exercise which was scheduled to hold at Community Primary School, Alegongo, was, however, disrupted by NURTW men numbering over 200 in about 40 vehicles allegedly spearheaded by the chairmanship aspirant, even before the arrival of supervisors, party delegates, party members, and other critical stakeholders who are expected to be on ground before commencement of the exercise.
In a statement unanimously signed by no fewer than three chairmanship aspirants, Babalola Asimiyu, Kelani Abdulahi Sola and Taiwo Adesina, out of the nine aspirants in Lagelu and made available to newsmen, they alleged that the exercise was a total contradiction of the principle of internal democracy and what Governor Seyi Makinde, as well as PDP in the state, represents, therefore, dissociating themselves from the party primary which they said, was marred by violence and gross irregularities that resulted to one of the aspirants, Honorable Olufemi Ajibade, being seriously injured and currently receiving medical attention at an undisclosed hospital.
The chairmanship aspirants in the statement, explained that the aim of the chairmanship aspirant (name withheld), was to use the transport union members to wreck havoc on party members who had converged peacefully to elect who would represent them in the forthcoming local government election slated for May 15.
According to the three aspirants, no fewer than three other aspirants have withdrawn from contesting following being fearful for their lives and the fear of terror which has been speculated before commencement of the party primaries.
“We are not party to today’s disrupted party primaries. We call on Governor Seyi Makinde as the father and leader of our great party, our party leaders in Oyo state especially in Lagelu Local Government, to as a matter of urgency, call this desperate fellow to order as we have completely dissociated ourselves from today’s process.”
“We urge our party leaders and various committees of the party saddled with the responsibility of monitoring local government primaries across the 33 local governments to urgently reschedule a new date for Lagelu so that we can participate peacefully without terror or intimidation by exercising our rights as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution,” the aspirants said.
The lawmaker representing Lagelu State Constituency at the Oyo state House of Assembly, Mr. Akintunde Olajide, in his reaction, decried the disruption and described it as “desperation taken too far by any aspirants,”
He called for calm, stressing that, nothing meaning could be achieved in any atmosphere of terror and violence, urging other aspirants to ensure peace and orderliness in their various wards.
The lawmaker maintained that the party hierarchy would surely look into the situation with the aim of ensuring peace returned to the local government in the spirit of equity and justice among party faithful.
“I understand the anger and frustration of our party aspirants following the disruption of today’s primaries by just one aspirant who had taken his desperation to the extreme. This is obviously nothing to call democratic process but we all know what our able governor and party leader stand for.”
“Governor Makinde is the father of modern-day democracy no doubt and the PDP remains the toast of other politicians so we will not allow individual to attempt to subvert the collective will of our people by trying to impose themselves on the collective will of the party via the instrumentality of political brigandage, violence, and sheer abuse of political opportunities,” the lawmaker stated.