Chuks Okocha in Abuja
Internal dissensions are taking their toll on the strength of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the security of members is increasingly becoming the victim. From the poor financial position of its national secretariat to division and squabbles within its state chapters, the troubles of PDP seem to be present everywhere.
At the weekend, it emerged that the PDP national secretariat had a premonition of Monday’s attack by armed thugs on the Ogun State secretariat of the party in Abeokuta, and actually sought protection from the police, which refused the request for extra security.
The Senator Oladipo Odujinrin-led executive of the party, which is loyal to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, and recognised by the national headquarters, had penultimate Friday taken over the state secretariat from the Chief Adebayo Dayo-led executive. But on Monday placard-carrying members from the different local government areas of the state, suspected to be instigated by another faction of the party, stormed the secretariat to protest the takeover. They were countered by an armed group that invaded the state secretariat.
However, a memo dated August 27, 2012, signed by the PDP National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, which was available to THISDAY, showed that the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Muhammad Dikko, turned down the party’s request for additional police protection for the Ogun State chapter.
The letter to the IG from the national secretary, with reference PDP/N5/08.12, titled, “Occupation of the Ogun State Secretariat of the PDP,” read, “Further to my last correspondence to you notifying you of the recognition of a new state executive committee of the PDP in Ogun State by the National Secretariat, I wish to inform you that the new executive committee headed by Senator Dipo Odujinrin is the body that should legitimately occupy the state secretariat of the PDP in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
“Accordingly, I should be most grateful for your assisting the Odujinrin-led executive committee to take effective possession of the PDP secretariat in Ogun State for its operation as the validly recognised body that is administering the PDP in Ogun State.
“Your directive for the compliance to the Commissioner of Police, Ogun State Police Command, would be deeply appreciated in order to allow for peace and orderly conduct at the state PDP secretariat.”
A presidency source, however, told THISDAY that the IG did not heed the request, rather he directed the Commissioner of Police in the state to advise him on the line of action to take.
It was, apparently, due to the security lapse at the secretariat that the armed hoodlums took over the premises, THISDAY gathered.
Another letter by Oyinlola to the IG, dated July 31, 2012, and titled, “Request for Adequate Police Protection to the National Vice Chairman, South-south at No. 1 Orisejobor Street, Otovwodo, Ughelli, Delta State, and Orderly,” was also turned down. No reason was given for the rejection.
The PDP national secretary’s letter seeking police security for the party’s vice chairman read, “The Inspector General of Police is earnestly requested to, please, consider and authorise the release of police security to the National Vice Chairman South-south PDP, Dr. Stephen Orise Oru, in his residence at No 1 Orise Jobor Street, Otovwodo, Ughelli, Delta State, and orderly with full security to shuttle between Delta State and Port Harcourt in River State, the zonal headquarters.
“Consequently, I request your continuous gesture and assistance to the members of the National Working Committee and the PDP in general in view of the current security challenges.”
The request was not granted.
According to a source, “This is not a sign of good things in the party, as in the past, the police would quickly accede to the request of the party, immediately on asking.”
An NWC official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, lamented the attack at the Ogun State PDP office, saying, “If there was a police protection as requested, the armed hoodlums would not have taken over the party office.”
PDP had also been refused security beef-up at its national secretariat at Wadata Plaza. When the present National Working Committee led by Alhaji Bamanga Tukur assumed office, the national secretary, Oyinlola, wrote a letter to then Minister of Defence, Dr. Harilu Bello Mohammed, requesting that an Armoured Personnel Carrier be stationed in front of the national secretariat of the party to reinforce security at the headquarters, but the request was disallowed.