Police take over Ekiti APC secretariat as primary crisis rages

Kayode Fayemi

The protests that greeted Saturday’s inconclusive governorship primary of the All Progressives (APC) in Ekiti took a new turn on Monday as the police moved in to seal off the party’s secretariat.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that protesters, who claimed to be sympathetic to the aspiration of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, had besieged the secretariat on the Ajilosun-Ikere road where they announced the removal of the state executives led by Jide Awe.

NAN reports that the protesters also announced the immediate formation of a pro-Fayemi caretaker committee.

Armed policemen, however, arrived the secretariat shortly and drove everyone out, after which the secretariat was sealed off.

The protesters said they were at the secretariat to register their disapproval over the conduct of the members of the State Working Committee.

The protesters, who brandished placards with various inscriptions, also passed vote of no confidence on Awe and the party’s spokesman, Taiwo Olatunbosun, alleging they were supporting a particular aspirant.

Relying on Article 21 (7) of the party’s constitution, the protesters disbanded the SWC and set up a Caretaker Committee headed by the APC Chairman in Ise/Orun Local Government Area, Mr Michael Egunjobi.

The protesters also laced the gate of the party with fetish materials made from palm oil and egg.

Awe, who was said to have narrowly escaped assault by the irate party members, was ferried to safety from the secretariat by mobile policemen.

As at the time of filing this report, police vans were sighted still stationed at the secretariat which was under lock and key.

Meanwhile, no fewer than 27 aspirants have rejected the position canvassed by the National Working Committee of the party that the botched primary would continue from where it ended on Saturday.

Some of the aspirants led by former Governor Segun Oni on Monday met at a location in Ado Ekiti and rejected the position of the NWC that the committee which conducted the primary should return and complete the exercise.

The aspirants, who were reacting to a statement credited to the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said that the ballot cast on Saturday in five local governments before the violence erupted had been rendered invalid.

Among those present at the forum, apart from Oni, were Sen. Babafemi Ojudu, Opeyemi Bamidele, Bimbo Daramola, Sen. Ayo Arise, Sen. Gbenga Aluko, Kola Alabi, Muyiwa Olumilua, Dr Mojisola Yaya-Kolade, Debo Ranti Ajayi and Dr Bayo Orire.

The spokesperson for the group, Yaya-Kolade, said the fact that the votes were not counted, collated and announced at the venue, had rendered the process invalid.

She declared that the 27 aspirants would not accept attempts to validate unverified results of the few delegates that had cast their votes on Saturday neither would they accept the Tanko Al-Makura-led committee again as umpire.