Posted By: Odunayo OGUNMOLA,Ado-Ekiti
The battle for the control of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State, assumed a violent dimension yesterday, when a factional secretary of the party, Dr Tope Aluko was injured during a shootout at the party secretariat in Ado Ekiti.
Residents including passersby, commuters and motorists scampered for safety __as gunshots rent the air.
Aluko, was shot at close range as he led members of the Tunde Olatunde faction to take over the party’s secretariat shortly after the Idowu Faleye faction left the building shortly after announcing the suspension of four members of the State Working Committee (SWC) led by Olatunde.
While Olatunde is the acting chairman of a faction that has 11 out of 14 SWC members, Faleye is the chairman of the faction recognized by Governor Ayo Fayose.
The Olatunde faction maintained that the appointment of Faleye which was masterminded by Fayose to fill the vacancy created by the former chairman, Makanjuola Ogundipe’s appointment as Southwest PDP chairman runs contrary to the party’s constitution.
There was tension in Ado Ekiti earlier on Friday as riot policemen were mobilized to the party secretariat in about 10 vehicles and an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC).
The presence of the minions of law was to prepare ground for the arrival of the Faleye faction who announced the suspension of Olatunde, Aluko, Women Leader, Mrs. Busola Oyebode, Auditor; Tunji Olanrewaju and Assistant Secretary, Femi Esan.
The ‘suspended’ leaders of the party, according to the Faleye faction are to be tried for alleged anti-party activities by a disciplinary panel to be chaired by Commissioner for Local Government, Kolapo Kolade.
Other members of the panel are Babade Ige; Animasaun Bamidele; Mrs. Lanre Fajuyi; Smart Adebusuyi; Dele Ajibola and Kola Lawal
But the Olatunde faction later came to take over the secretariat about two hours after the Faleye faction had left.
The riot policemen were later drafted to the party secretariat at about 3.40 pm and there was shooting with the PDP scribe hit by bullets.
In a telephone conversation with our correspondent, Aluko said: “I was shot at close range by policemen. As I was parking, they opened fire on me at about 3.40 pm. I went there and the policemen were waiting for me and what followed was shooting. My cloth was drenched in blood and I am receiving treatment as you speak with me. I went to the party secretariat because that is my office as the PDP secretary in the state.
“I have taken care of myself, no shaking. I want you to tell Fayose that the war has started and Fayose cannot intimidate us. We will never leave the party for Fayose or any other person. Tell him that the war has started and we are battle-ready and the people of the state will know the real members of the party”.
The spokesman of Ekiti Police Command, Alberto Adeyemi, said: “Our men were there until they (members of Faleye faction) left and we are not aware of any other meeting held after they had left.
“The DPO also told me that nobody had come to the station to complain that he was shot or that any shooting incident took place”.
The resolution of the faction loyal to Fayose to take disciplinary action against the five was read by its Publicity Secretary, Jackson Adebayo.
Before he was attacked, Aluko at a news conference described the action of the Faleye faction as a breach of the party’s constitution, saying that he and other duly elected and recognized party leaders remain bonafide members of the party with right to all privileges being enjoyed by registered members.
Aluko, who spoke on behalf of the aggrieved SWC members, said the state SWC was constituted by 14 members, wondering where Idowu Faleye-led faction had got the quorum to suspend them.
“Nobody can push me out of PDP. I have invested and sweated so much to
build the party. But if the party is heading to implosion, then I will take my destiny in my own hands, because nobody has right to my happiness more than myself.
“PDP is being run in line with the constitution of the party. If this is the case, it came to me as a shock that the party could come up with this action through Jackson Adebayo and Idowu Faleye, who have been suspended by the authentic PDP leaders.
“Though, we owe it a duty to respect the NWC, but for suspended chairman to do that was a deliberate attempt to destroy the party; it is rather frightening, embarrassing and also disturbing. Up till now, Faleye has not been properly registered as a PDP member in his ward, having defected from Labour Party (LP) where he ran for the House of Representatives’ seat for Ekiti North Federal Constituency 2 in the 2011 general elections.
He added : “How can eleven members be suspended in SWC. Only the State Executive Committee acting on the directive of the NWC can do that. If anybody thinks the best way to save the party is by illegal suspension, I won’t be part of that game. Since we assumed office, we have worked hard to win so many elections. We were the ones that put Governor Ayodele Fayose on that seat. I was the state agent in the last governorship poll. I can still not recollect where the meeting was held to ratify our suspension. It was just a decision of Faleye and his faction. The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Olisah Metuh, could not have authored the statement about our suspension , because he was the one that communicated to us about a truce meeting slated for next week.”
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