Thousands of members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), in Oyo State Monday protested against what they described as the planned imposition of candidates by the State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi ahead of the May 12 local government election in the state.
The protesters who stormed the Oke-Ado State Secretariat of the party which also doubles as the campaign office of the governor since early hours of Monday insisted that there would be no local government election in the party without free, fair and credible primary which will encompass all groups within the party from wards to local governments.
They alleged that the governor had perfected plans to substitute the delegates’ list with his own people so that only those who were loyal to him can emerge as candidates of the party.
One of the protesters who simply identified himself as Ola accused the chairman of the party, Chief Akin Oke and Secretary, Mr. Mojeed Olaoya of acting on the order of the governor.
He alleged that they were not surprised that the duo was acting the script of their paymaster who was paying them N500,000 and N250,000 respectively.
The placards carrying protesters with various inscriptions such as “Stop imposition of candidates Ajimobi”, “APC do not belong to SENACO alone”, “No credible no election” and “Ajimobi Ole” among others, blocked the popular Molete-Oke Ado- Dugbe Road for several hours and later caused traffic gridlock in the area.
It was after they made their intention known at the party office when the joint state security outfit, code-named “Operation Burst” came to bring the situation under control.
The arrival of the leader of the Operation Burst Team who ordered his subordinate to shot directly at the protesters made them take to their heels and run for their lives.
Efforts to get reactions of the party during the protest proved abortive as the State Secretary of the party, Mr. Mojeed Olaoya who was asked to speak on the protest said he was not ready to speak, alleging that the journalists were being mobilised and sponsored to monitor the protest by some aggrieved members of the party.
Olaoya alleged that the protesters and the journalists who came to monitor the procession were being sponsored by the likes of Ex-Chairman, Caretaker Committee for Ibadan North West local government, Dr. Wasiu Olatunbosun and former Special Adviser on Political Matter to the governor, Alhaji Fatai Ibikunle.
The state scribe while speaking further said he was surprised that journalists had bombarded the secretariat to monitor the protest, as he accused them of being biased.
He said he was surprised that no journalist came to the secretariat the two times when the governor was at the secretariat to address members of the party on the proposed local government election.
Olaoya said “When the governor was here to address party members on the proposed local government election, none of you was here, now that some members of the party that have benefitted immensely from the party, Fatai Ibikunke and Wasiu Olatunbosun who have benefited from the party are now sponsoring some people against the party and the governor, you are here”.
Efforts to get reactions of the duo of Olatunbosun and Ibikunle to speak on the allegations levelled against them by Olaoya proved abortive as at the time of filling this report.
All efforts made by newsmen to get reactions of the State Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Wasiu Olawale Sadare also proved abortive as calls put through his mobile phone were not answered.