Former governor, Ayo Fayose
By Toba Suleiman
Political thuggery and violence appeared to have reared up its ugly head in Ekiti State Monday, as no fewer than six persons were said to have been injured during a fracas which broke out between supporters of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oye-Ekiti area of Ekiti State.
But, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Victor Olu Babayemi confirmed that two people have been arrested in connection with the violence.
He said: “two persons were arrested for conduct likely to cause breach of the peace and we are yet to ascertain whether they are members of any political party.”
Although, details of the clash still remained sketchy at press time, it was however alleged that the ACN members first launched the attack on members of the PDP who were also supporters of the former governor, Ayo Fayose, while on their way to the party’s meeting in Ekiti North senatorial district of the state.
It was further alleged that the Fayose team was first attacked at Ire-Ekiti on their way to Oye, where they ran into a roadblock mounted by some hoodlums, clutching brooms, the symbol of the ruling party in the state.
Speaking in Afao-Ekiti, the spokesman of the Fayose Campaign Organisation, Mr. Gboyega Oguntuase, decried the situation, saying no fewer than 10 of his members sustained serious injuries.
According to him, Fayose group duly got police permit for the event and that policemen were drafted but that they were cautious in meeting force with force.
But the ACN Director of Media and Publicity, Mr Tai Oguntayo, said it was not true that their members attacked the PDP members, claiming that “the ACN is a disciplined and well-organised party.”
He said “PDP and ACN have been coexisting peacefully in the local government area without trouble,” saying “why must it be today that ex-Governor Fayose was there that there was crisis.”
According to him, “Fayose should check himself because the information we have was that the issue in Oye was a case of a person who went there to campaign and spited the leadership of our party.”
Oguntayo, said his party also had a meeting in Oye on Monday, but said he was not aware that the ACN’s meeting was at a location opposite that PDP secretariat in the council area.
Commenting on the incident, the state police command through its Public Relations Officer, Mr. Victor Olu Babayemi, however, said: “We had information that there were political thugs from one or two parties trying to foment trouble in Oye and the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Sotonye Wakama, personally led a team of officers and men to the place.”
Babayemi added in the telephone interview that, “it was the presence of the CP and his team that prevented the thugs from causing crisis in the area.”