There was palpable tension and confusion for several hours yesterday in Oyo State as the rescheduled ward congress of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) failed to take-off on time in many of the wards visited by journalists.
By mid-day, both camps of the state Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, and the Unity Forum, the estranged group within the party comprising a serving Minister of Communications; Mr. Bayo Shittu and a senator for Oyo Central and few other lawmakers at the federal and state levels claimed victory in the areas where the exercise took place.
Last Saturday when the congress was supposed to hold, political thugs chased away politicians from the stakeholdersâ€™ meeting called by the Alhaji Musa Haliru-led Congress Committee in the state, necessitating its reschedule for yesterday.
The state governor has however, expressed satisfaction with the peaceful conduct of the rescheduled ward congress of the party held across the state, according to a statement by his Special Adviser, Communication and Strategy, Mr. Bolaji Tunji.
The Secretary of the Unity Forum, Wasiu Olatubosun, also said their members statewide conducted themselves peacefully throughout the exercise, adding that â€œthe results are being collated by the congress committee. It was successful, credible and free and fairâ€.
Haliru was however, not available for comment as calls made to his mobile were not answered as at the time of filing this report.
The governor in the statement described Saturdayâ€™s disturbances at the APC state secretariat which forced the postponement of the congress till Sunday as one of those things expected in a political gathering of highly placed political leaders with vested interests.
According to him, followers and supporters of such leaders have been known to instigate crisis in their bid to outdo one another and to impress their principals who often time were never in support of such violent conducts.
The governor said, â€œThe reports I have heard so far across the state indicate that the congress went peacefully without any form of acrimony or rancour. That is what we have been preaching and I am happy that the players have embraced peace.
â€œAs the leader of the APC in the state, Iâ€™m also father to all and that informed my conciliatory moves. No good father will stand aloof while his children are at loggerheads. Thank God all have been settled now and we have had a peaceful outing.â€
â€œAs the leader and father to all, I was able to douse the tension that enveloped the party secretariat on Saturday when our supporters were trying to outdo one another. All the APC leaders that came for the stakeholdersâ€™ meeting were well protected.
â€œI even shielded one of our honourable members from the House of Representatives from reprisal attack from those who attempted to assault him. APC is one large family. There may be diverse interests, but we are one.
â€œI will continue to sue for peace among our leaders and followers, because that is the cardinal programme and achievement of our administration. Our party and administration are known for peace and that must be sustained.â€Â
The governor debunked some newspapers report, which claimed that the incident at the APC secretariat was a â€˜bloody violence,â€™ describing it as exaggeration.