Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s appointment of caretaker chairmen and education secretaries in Oyo State has taken a violent dimension as some APC members clashed at the State Secretariat, Ibadan. Reports have it that the protesters used rods, canes, and charms against one and another. Those against the appointments, especially from Akinyele Local Government Area of the state and the 10 local government areas in Oke-Ogun zone, who had stormed the Secretariat at Agodi with placards bearing various inscriptions, later engaged in a clash with those in favour of the appointments, who were at the Secretariat on a solidarity visit to the governor.
The pro-Ajimobi from both Akinyele and Oke-Ogun zone later overpowered and chased out the anti-Ajimobi supporters out of the Secretariat. While the pro-Ajimobi camp maintained that the appointments were fair, those against the development argued that the they were lopsided and tilted to favour the group loyal to Governor Ajimobi, known as SENACO, rather than that of the late former governor of the state, Alhaji Lam Adesina, known as LAMISTS. On the pro-Ajimobi side, APC secretary in Akinyele Local Government, Mr Olufemi Oyedele, said the appointments were fair, urging those with grievances to remain calm.
“We are here to show our solidarity with the governor and to express that we are fully satisfied with all his appointments, especially in Akinyele Local Government,” Oyedele said.
A party leader in Oke-Ogun zone, Mr Ahmed Ayinla, however, expresed displeasure at what he termed perceived lopsidedness of the appointments, calling for a review.
“The appointments are lopsided. Majority of us worked for the governor to succeed but a few are enjoying the dividends to our displeasure,” he said.
The group from Oke-Ogun accused the governor of putting their destiny in the hands of two personalities in the zone.
Alhaji Kareem Adebayo, a party leader from Saki West Local Government Area, said the alleged imposition of the chairmen on them by the government was an embarrassment to the party.
Adebayo said it was wrong for the governor to pick the chairmen without consulting the party, adding that party supremacy must be respected.
Addressing the protesters, Executive Assistant to Governor Ajimobi on Political Matters, Mr Morounkola Thomas, called for calm, urging all those who were aggrieved to allow the state House of Assembly carry out the screening of the nominees.
He expressed the commitment of the state government to conduct local government election, noting that the appointment of caretaker chairmen was only temporary.
“If you are supporting the government of Ajimobi, you will not fight. Those selected now are to be there for a while because the council poll is still going to be conducted,” he said.
The state assembly is expected to reel out the names of the nominees at its plenary scheduled for today where the list would then be passed to its committee on local government and chieftaincy matters for screening.
However, some of the nominees were seen around at the complex of the assembly holding their credentials.
Prior to the arrival of loads of buses of people from Oke-Ogun, Nigerian Tribune gathered that the protesters were earlier challenged at Moniya area of Ibadan by persons alleged to be members of the Nigeria Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).
It was gathered that the NURTW members allegedly acted on the orders of state chairman, Alhaji Taofeek Oyerinde (Fele), to prevent them from holding their protest.
When contacted on phone, Alhaji Oyerinde confirmed the incident but added that the team were only stopped to confirm if the drivers obtained the union ticket or not.