The Oyo state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries exercise which was held on Monday, 8th March was disrupted in Lagelu local government as one of the party chairmanship aspirants, Gbadamosi Kazeem Adeyemi allegedly marshalled members of the banned National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) to violently disorganize the process in Lagelu local government.
The exercise was meant to hold at Community Primary School, Alegongo, but it was disrupted by NURTW men numbering over 200 in about 40 vehicles allegedly spearheaded by Hon Adeyemi, even before the arrival of supervisors, party delegates, party members, and other critical stakeholders who are expected to be on the ground before the beginning of the exercise.
In a statement jointly signed by no fewer than 3 Chairmanship aspirants, Babalola Asimiyu, Kelani Abdulahi Sola, and Taiwo Adesina, out of the 9 aspirants in Lagelu and made available to newsmen, they alleged that the exercise was a total contraction of the principle of internal democracy, and what Governor Seyi Makinde, as well as Oyo state PDP, represents and therefore, dissociated themselves from the party primary which was marred by violence and gross irregularities that resulted to one of the aspirants, Honorable Olufemi Ajibade, being seriously injured and currently receiving medical attention at an anonymous hospital.
The chairmanship aspirants in the statement said that the aim of Gbadamosi going to the extent of mobilizing hoodlums and thugs to the venue of the primaries was to wreck havoc on party members who had gathered peacefully to conduct themselves to elect who should represent them at the next local government election on May 15.
According to the three aspirants who spoke to media officers, at least 3 other aspirants have revoked their decision to contest for fear of their lives and the fear of terror which has been implied before the beginning of the party primaries.
“We are not a party to today’s disrupted party primaries occasioned by Hon Gbadamosi and his thugs from NURTW who besieged the venue of the primaries with over 200 boys who came in over 40 vehicles to create fear, cause violence, and hijack the exercise with the sole aim of making a kangaroo self pronouncement as the winner of the primary.
“We call on Governor Seyi Makinde as the father and leader of our great party, our party leaders in Oyo state especially in Lagelu local government, to as a matter of urgency call this desperate fellow to order as we have completely dissociated ourselves from today’s process.
“We urge our party leaders and various committees of the party saddled with the responsibility of monitoring local government primaries across the 33 local government to urgently reschedule a new date for Lagelu so that we can call peacefully without terror or intimidation participate in our party primary by exercising our rights as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution,” the aspirants said.
The lawmaker representing Lagelu State Constituency at the Oyo state House of Assembly, Honorable Akintunde Olajide, in his reaction condemned the violence and described it as “desperation taken too far by any aspirants”
“I understand the anger and frustration of our party aspirants following the disruption of today’s primaries by just one aspirant who had taken his desperation to the extreme. This is nothing to call a democratic process but we all know what our able governor and party leader stand for.
“Governor Makinde is the father of modern-day democracy no doubt and the PDP remains the toast of other politicians so we will not allow any one individual to attempt to subvert the collective will of our people by trying to superimpose themselves on the collective will of the party via the instrumentality of political brigandage, violence, and sheer abuse of political opportunities,” AKT stated.
Hon Adeyemi, who is the current Caretaker Chairman of Lagelu West Local Council Development Area (LCDA) was, however, not available for comment as of press time.