By Oluwaseun Akingboye
THE National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has condemned the roles of students in partisan politics describing the attack on the convoy of the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Alhaji Ali Olanusi last Monday in Akure, by persons suspected to be students, as barbaric and politically motivated by some politicians in the state.
According to the Chairman of NANS Joint Campus Committee (JCC) Ondo Axis, Mr Oladimeji Ayodele, who distanced the student body from what he said was an uncivil and indecent act, “The purported protest held by some unscrupulous elements under the aegis National Association of Ondo State Students (NAOSS) in collaboration with a NANS careerist called Ayenuro Timileyin said to be the Vice President of the NANS, can be referred to as another step into the Ocean of Stupidity and Mediocrity.”
He lamented the degeneration among the Nigerian students and how they allow themselves to be used by some maverick politicians for their selfish interests and inordinate ambitions, faulting their protest to the state assembly demanding the impeachment of the Deputy Governor.
Olanusi’s convoy was attacked by the students chanting protest songs and carrying placards with several inscriptions like, ‘No way for Olanusi in government house,’ ‘Ali Must Go,’ ‘Olanusi is a traitor’ and Jasper Ali Must resign;’ as they marched ahead after some confrontations with the Deputy-Governor’s security men, asking him to resign.
Addressing journalists at the scene, the leader of the protesters and National President of NAOSS, Afolayan Simeon said the Deputy Governor was no longer active in office and therefore should resign within seven days and failure to do so would lead to his impeachment.
He said, “We don’t want a dormant Deputy Governor, we want a younger person who will be active, so ‘Baba should resign within seven days and if he fails to do so we will appeal to the State House of Assembly to impeach him.”
The NANS JCC Chairman stated that “Alhaji Olanusi has been the Deputy Governor for 6 years and there has been no single protests from these bodies, but on the defection of the man to the opposition party, they suddenly remembered that he was a ‘Grandpa’ and too old to be in power. Those jobless miscreants are not students and have no right to speak for the student populace. They are either graduates or rented miscreants with a price tag. Student leaders have no business at all with partisan politics and should not be found working for political paymasters.”
In his reaction, the Deputy Governor alleged that the protest was directed and orchestrated against him by Governor Mimiko to molest him and further intimidate him, after he had deprived him of his entitlement since he abandoned the PDP for the opposition, 48 hours to the March 28 election.
According to him, “it is very surprising and a rude shock that a sitting governor after conducting election is still going around with thugs to attack me in the State House. You can see things yourself at the roundabout, the thugs he hired there and at the gate there, if I had not come with my convoy, they would have attacked me.
“Nobody has told me to resign. If they are talking about impeachment they should go about it in a lawful way, not that they should use thugs to attack an elected deputy governor. They should realize that as Mimiko was elected as governor, I Ali Olanusi was equally elected. He cannot be chasing me with thugs.”
The Deputy Governor urged the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of the zone and the Inspector General of Police to strengthen his security as he was ready to resume duty as the duly elected deputy governor of the state.
Refuting Olanusi’s allegation, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Eni Akinsola said nobody had used political thugs to harass the deputy governor. He alleged that some people were only trying to reverse the trend of peace which the state has been enjoying for the past six years.
He accused Olanusi of shooting sporadically to the air and described the protest as a reaction from the aggrieved residents, who had never witnessed such scene in the past six years saying politicians should accept democracy as normal way of life and “accept when their calculation went wrong and learn how to accept defeat.”
The Deputy-Governor has however dragged his principal, Mimiko to court, seeking an order of the court restraining the governor from stopping his allowances and salary of that of his political aides. His counsel, Barrister Oluwole Kehinde argued that Olanusi is still constitutionally empowered to enjoy all his allowances and benefits.
A source from the Governor’s office, who pleaded anonymity, disclosed to The Guardian that Mimiko took the decision in order to witch-hunt all those who are loyal to the deputy governor and to frustrate them politically.
It was also gathered that Mimiko initially pressurized the State Commissioner of Police, Isaac Eke to withdraw all the security details of Olanusi and also prevented him from having access to all official vehicles allotted to the office of the Deputy Governor.
However, the state Police Public Relation Officer, Wole Ogodo, denied such allegation and affirmed the political neutrality of the police and its commitment to the sustenance of democracy in the country.
Meanwhile, Justice Sanmi Isaq, while giving his ruling, ordered that the respondents in the suit, including Mimiko, Commissioner of Police and the State Director of the State Security Service (SSS) should be put on notice. The case has been adjourned till April 23 for further hearing.
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