…My boss is too big to attack the commissioner, its a factional meeting — Minister’s aide
Dayo Johnson Akure
Irate youths allegedly attacked the Ondo state commissioner for Works, Saka Ogunleye as the crisis within the state All Progressive Congress deepened.
The supremacy battle between the commissioner and the Minister of State Niger Delta, Chief Tayo Alasoadura was said to be responsible for the attack of the commissioner at lju community during a meeting on the membership registration and validation of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The meeting which was reportedly convened by Joshua Eleti, chairman of the party in Akure North was to discuss the party’s membership registration and validation exercise scheduled to commence on February 2.was disrupted by the youths who brandished various weapons.
Many party chieftains were attacked while others escaped and fled to different directions for fear of being lynched.
Saka and Alasoadura who are both from Akure North constituency have been having a running battle over who should be the leader of the party in the council area.
The youths according to reports were irked that the faction loyal to the commissioner organised a factional meeting on the registration of party members in the constituency without carrying the Minister along.
Saka was accused of trying to hijack the registration exercise in a bid to shut out loyalists of the Minister.
An eyewitness account told vanguard that few minutes after the arrival of the commissioner for the meeting, some youths irate besieged the Iju town hall venue of the meeting, armed with dangerous objects and descended on the commissioner.
Other party members who accompanied the commissioner were said to have been attacked and the sustained injured.
“As you know, we are starting the registration of our members in a few days time. So, the APC chairman in Akure North called a meeting and invited other leaders of the party to discuss the issue.
“The meeting had not even started when some thugs invaded the venue of the meeting. They started raining abuses and curses on commissioner Ogunleye. They nearly killed him.
“This is a sad development. We don’t know what could have caused it. What’s the big deal in membership registration? I am sorry for the party. ”
A loyalist of the commissioner fingered the Minister of State for Niger-Delta Affairs, of masterminding the attack on Ogunleye.
“Those who attacked the commissioner are known boys of Chief Alasoadura. We thought Alasoadura has gone beyond that, considering his age and where God has put him.
Contacted, the Minister, speaking through his media aide, Dayo Joe denied masterminding the attack and disruption of the meeting.
Dayo Joe said that the Minister i”s too big to be involved in such a thing as sponsoring an attack on the commissioner.
While describing the disrupted meeting as factional, Dayo said ” it was not an APC meeting.
“I just believe those who did it saw it as a factional meeting. It was not an APC meeting. They only camouflaged under the umbrella of APC. This is because some other leaders whom they believe are not loyal to them were not invited to that meeting.
“So, it was a factional meeting and, as a result, some people were not happy. That was what happened.
” Alasoadura is not even aware. He was not even around. So, he wouldn’t have been the mastermind of the attack.
“And Alasoadura is too big to be attacking Saka. So, these people are only trying to make a mountain out of a molehill. That’s just it. It was not the making of Alasoadura at all.
“It is because of what they are doing that people do not like. That is what I perceived resulted in the attack. A lot of leaders were not invited to that meeting.”
The convener of the meeting, Eleti said he invited everyone who deserved to be at the meeting.
,Eleti said: “We had sat when these youths came in and drove all of us out. They threatened brimstone and fire. But we left the scene for peace to reign.
A former speaker of the State House of Assembly, Kenneth Olawale, said that invitation to the meeting was extended to all party leaders, ward executive members and political appointees in Akure North.
Olawale explained that the purpose of the meeting was to deliberate on how to mobilise members towards the coming membership registration and validation exercise.
“All of us had converged in the hall. Suddenly, some youths stormed the hall shouting, overturning tables, pushing people, brandishing dangerous weapons and saying the meeting must not hold.
“They chased everyone out of the meeting. In the presence of security agents, they were threatening to deal with an officeholder from the local government.
Olawale said that ” After leaving the Hall, they still threw stones at us. In the process, a number of the women, who scampered for safety suffered injuries.
He added that “This should not happen in Iju again. Please, sir, it is time to forge ahead and work towards making our local government and state become more peaceful.”
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