Governor Abiola Ajimobi
By Tunde Sanni
Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has vowed to punish the perpetrators of last Thursday’s political violence between perceived supporters of the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Accord Party (AP).
The governor, through his spokesperson, Dr. Festus Adedayo expressed surprise at the violent political attack, which he noted had threatened the peace and tranquillity his administration engendered in the state and declared that he would not hesitate to visit the full weight of the law on anyone, who breaches the peace of the state.
However, chieftains of the Accord Party doubted the neutrality of Governor Ajimobi, whom they alleged was behind the mayhem unleashed on members of the party.
The party, at a press conference jointly addressed by its National Leader, Senator Rasheed Ladoja and the chairman of the party in the state, Alhaji Bashir Lawal, said members of the state chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), led by its Chairman, Alhaji Taofeek Oyerinde a.k.a. Fele and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) with the support of men in security uniform in two vehicles of the state security outfit, ‘Operation Burst’, that disrupted the rally held to receive people, who decamped from the PDP and ACN, did so on the instruction from the state Government House.
Lawal, who disclosed that the party got the necessary permits from security agencies in the state to hold the rally, said 11 vehicles, including three of the Accord Party were destroyed during the clash.
He called on the national leadership of the NURTW to call the Oyo State chairman to order before he destroyed the image of the union.
He said, “We all thought that we had passed the age of brigandage in which NURTW members were used against political opponents, but what happened on Thursday has proved this otherwise.
“The party would then want to appeal to the national leadership of the NURTW to, as a matter of urgency, save Oyo State from people like Fele, who on the altar of political patronage want to plunge the state into darkness again.”
He warned that if nothing was done to nip such political brigandage that happened on Thursday in the bud, the state may soon assume the status of the Boko Haram insurgency, insisting that the people of the state desired to live in peace.
He said the party, after compiling the necessary information, would make formal complain to the state Police Command, stating that if not for the quick response from men of the Command only God knows what would have happened.
Ladoja, while tracing the history of political crisis in the state, said it was the underdog that normally has the upper hand, stating that despite the fact that it was Governor Ajimobi that broke the agreement between his government and the Accord Party, he was the one, through his actions, that was not ready to tolerate opposition in the state.
The former governor of Oyo State said the party would continue to receive more decampees into its fold, saying that the party’s criticism of the ACN-led government was done in good faith such that the people of the state would have good dividends of democracy.
He said, “It is quite unfortunate that the present government in the state is intolerant of opposition, whatever our criticism of the urban renewal programme was done in the interest of the people of the state. This is not the first time that we would be having urban renewal in the state, but of what value is this if government should continue to demolish where the people are earning their livelihood without providing alternatives.”