Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
Armed policemen thursday took over the secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State as loyalists of the former governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, and Senator Abiodun Olujimi exchanged blows over the conduct of ward congresses.
The crisis broke out around 4p.m at the state secretariat located at Ajilosun area of Ado Ekiti when the supporters of the two political gladiators were waiting for members of the appeal panel sent to adjudicate on matters arising from the conduct of last Saturday’s congress arrived the state.
It was gathered that weapons like bottles, cutlasses and stones were deployed as members of the appeal panel sent by Chief Uche Secondus-led national executive arrived.
This prompted the police to immediately draft a detachment of policemen to the secretariat.
However, before the police could restore order, many persons were said to have been wounded in the fight.
The outcome of the congress had elicited controversy, with those loyal to the senator representing Ekiti South, accusing the leader of the team that conducted the ward congress and Taraba State Deputy Governor, Mr. Haruna Manu, of plotting to rig in favour of Fayose.
Olujimi’s supporters claimed that they overran Fayose’s political machinery in the poll conducted on the field.
When journalists visited the secretariat, over 30 policemen were at the entrance of one- storey building, while every door was locked up.
Over eight police vans deployed from Okesa and Ologede Police Stations were stationed at strategic locations while all members of the party were dispersed to stop the situation from degenerating.
Responding to the attack, Olujimi blamed Fayose and his supporters for allegedly trying to define the PDP with the emblem of violence by mobilising thugs to where the appeal panel was expected to sit.
She said: “Because we caught them in that dastardly act at Petim Hotel on Saturday, they thought they could right the wrongs with the appeal panel by being violent.
“Just because we caught them, they were on the offensive and they had to put up some violence. I don’t like violence and we will not allow violence to define us as a party. Whoever wants violence must either drop that and stay or ship out of the PDP. We won’t tolerate that.”
Fayose, who responded through his media aide, Mr. Lere Olayinka, said Olujimi was responsible for the attack.
According to him, “They went to the Petim on Saturday with thugs and today, they went to the secretariat with thugs while going to submit their petition. So, I have no reason to mobilise thugs because we won convincingly.
“I only went to the secretariat to submit how the election went and they went to submit their petition. So, I needed nothing like thugs to do that. They should be held liable for that thuggery.”