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SDP Holds Makinde Responsible for Cancellation of Ibadan Mega Rally

SDP Holds Makinde Responsible for Cancellation of Ibadan Mega Rally

Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan 

Leaders of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Oyo State Tuesday accused Governor Seyi Makinde of being behind the cancellation of the party’s rally scheduled for Mapo Hall, Ibadan.

SDP’s governorship candidate for the state, Mr. Michael Lana, while addressing the press at the party’s secretariat in Bodija, Ibadan, in company with other leaders after the cancellation of the rally, alleged that Makinde influenced the police to cancel the rally, adding that the party was surprised at the police action having mobilised members from all over the state for the rally.

Among the party leaders at the event were the South-west chairman, Silas Alani; Oyo North senatorial district candidate, Mulikat Adeola; the state chairman, Michael Okunlade; the state secretary, Michael Owokoya; women leader, Ruth Taiwo; and the party’s House of Representatives candidate in Ibadan North-East/South-East, Deji Aboderin.

Lana said: “We are surprised at the attitude of the state Commissioner of Police, Adebowale Williams, who has turned himself to a personal police of the governor rather than being the security chief of the state.

“At the beginning of the campaign season, the police directed all political parties to inform it of any political campaign or function. Thus, on January 30, we duly informed the Commissioner of Police of our mega rally, scheduled to hold today at Mapo Hall. Our letter was duly acknowledged which was an indication that no other political party applied to use the venue or hold rally in the local government (Ibadan South-East).

“After spending lots of resources for preparation, the police called around 7am today and said the rally should be cancelled because the governor wants to hold a rally at the same venue.

“This is not the first time that Makinde would try to undermine SDP because of the fear that we are the only party that can uproot him from the Government House.”

He also distanced the party from a pronouncement that he had stepped down from the governorship race to support Makinde’s re-election.

“Two or three days ago, he gathered some people to tell the people that we have stepped down for him. Knowing that this falsehood would be cleared at the rally, the governor quickly called the state Commissioner of Police to cancel our rally.

 “It is obvious that the commissioner was only informed of Makinde’s rally today. This is gross abuse of power and breach of office on the part of the Commissioner of Police. All parties and candidates are equal. Had the commissioner been professional in his job, he would know that we have the power to resist the cancellation, especially as it was done in the last minute. It is extremely injurious to us as our people had left far places as early as 5.30am in chartered vehicle to travel to Ibadan.

“The plan is to cause a clash between the two parties but being a peaceful party, we have decided to bear the losses to avert bloodshed at Mapo Hall,” he said.

Lana added that the police commissioner would be reported to relevant authorities, stating that the commissioner and the governor would be held responsible if anything happened to any member of the party.

The party’s senatorial candidate in Oyo North, Adeola, in her remarks, said it was unfortunate that the rally was put off in the last minute, calling on voters in the state to troop out to Mapo Hall on Wednesday for the rally.

The state chairman of the party, Okunlade, claimed that Makinde was no longer relevant in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) because of what he described as anti-party activities of the governor. 

He also stated that the SDP had it on credible sources that PDP might not field any candidate in the coming elections because they might be expelled soon.

The party’s presidential candidate, Adewole Adebayo, who called in, said because of the relevance of Ibadan in the politics of the South-west, the rally was important to the success of SDP in the coming elections, wondering why the rally had to be cancelled despite fulfilling all conditions to hold it.

“We have people of good pedigree as candidates in the state. We believe in the support of the people. We have mobilised our people for the rally and it will still hold on Wednesday,” he said.

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