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Political Violence: South-west Still Wild West? - Politics - Nairaland

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Political Violence: South-west Still Wild West? by Nchara: 4:54am On Apr 01, 2011
Political Violence: South-West Still Wild West?
Tuesday, 29 March 2011 23:39 Sakin Babalola, Ibadan
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In this report, Sakin Babalola recounts the spate of violence across the six states of the South-West geo-political zone and suggests that except the federal government beefs up security, next month’s general polls would be a sham in the zone.

Negative and frightening political developments in the South-Western part of the country are pointers to the fact that the zone , except pro active measures are completed , will explode again during or shortly after the April elections .Thre is no intention to play the prophet of doom here, but based on circumstantial evidence here and there The only way out of this looming political quagmire is a free, fair and credible elections. Any departure from this would be a repeat of the 1965 and 1966 political upheaval of the period with the’’ WETIE ‘’episode, meaning pour petrol on cheats and set them ablaze.

The climax of the 1965 political crisis which resulted to the 1966 military putsch would this time be prevented because of the belief that military government remains an aberration and the military adventurists have been pointedly told to leave civilians to wobble.

From Osun to Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo, Ogun and Lagos States, are stories of woes, tragedies and horror said to have left many casualties from political campaigns and rallies all in the scramble for power.

In most cases, the opposition always fingers the ruling parties as oppressing them while the ruling parties often put up their defences, accusing the opposition of crying wolf where there is nothing. But in reality, in all rumours elements or atoms of truth would exist.

Oyo State

Oyo state in general and Ibadan the state capital in particular, has always been the centre of politics in the South-West. Literary scholar would forgive any hyperbole intended here by describing it as the fulcrum of Nigeria politics. The crisis of 1965 and 1966 started from Ibadan in the then House of Chief. What followed nationwide and the resultant effect was too gory than terms could give out.

Oyo state with the acronym, ‘Pace Setter State’ has the un-enviable record of violence and conflicts. The reasons are both remote and immediate, especially when related to the fourth republic politics. The remote aspect was because of the circumstances under which the incumbent Governor got into power. While the indigenes of Ibadan believed that Alao Akala betrayed their kinsman. Senator Rashidi Ladoja, the way he came in and with the misconception that he was a usurper who should not be allowed to rule for a second time, a section in the same town particularly the beneficiaries of his administration saw it differently. They hinged their argument on the fact that the constitution of the country allowed Alao Akala to be in the saddle at that time.

The immediate reason for the prejudice against Alao Akala was his second term bid, apart from not being an indigene of the town. In essence, the battle in Oyo state politics is between a section of group who regarded his second term bid as an aberration and the sectional sentiment of the non Ibadan people who argued that the entire state is not the exclusive property of Ibadan.

What also fuelled the political violence in the state is the emergence of ‘’sons of the soil’’ as the governorship candidates in most of the dominant parties. Action Congress of Nigeria is fielding Senator Abiola Ajimobi as the governorship candidate; while Accord party has Senator Rashidi Ladoja, ANPP fielded Mr. Ola Morphy and Action Alliance presented Taiwo Otegbeye. Labour Party also preferred an Ibadan man in person of Dr.Azeez Adeduntan. Attempt by Accord party members to impose an Ibadan man as the governorship candidate was rebuffed .The emergence of Barrister Adebayo Shittu, a Shaki man as the governorship candidate of the party was ridiculed by most Ibadan people who alleged that Adebayo Shittu is a ‘’Tebilik’’ man and an Islamic fundamentalist who might impose sharia on Oyo state if given the chance to rule.

Interestingly, there are two factions in the state PDP. A faction is being led by Alao Akala, while the other faction under the leadership of Senator Lekan Balogun and other prominent Ibadan indigenes have resolved to fight it out to a logical end to ensure that Alao Akala lost the gubernatorial bid at all cost.

While the intra party squabble is going on at one angle, with political thugs un-leasing terror on party men, the inter party conflict is becoming more devastating, turning the state to a battle field.

The ACN is seriously engaging the PDP on one hand and its faction is equally attacking it from the other hand. The Accord party is also not left out of the battle to dislodge the government of Alao Akala, as Ladoja is out for his own pound of flesh.

On the day when Alao Akala and his campaign team went to a town in Oke Ogun, thugs of CPC who were leaving a meeting in Iseyin were said to have met the convoy of Alao Akala when the governor had returned to Ogbomoso. They engaged the thugs of PDP in a free for all, leaving a member of the CPC dead and many government vehicles vandalised. The peace of Iseyin was disrupted for days. Self imposed curfew was applied for security reasons. When Alao Akala went to the town for his campaign some days after the violence, people kept indoors, apparently in protest.

Few days after the Iseyin episode was the Ibadn encounter. Thugs of Accord Party and those of PDP clashed at Iyana Church with scores of vehicles burnt down.

Politicians in all the parties are reportedly not helping the situation as they all habour thugs to foment violence. Security operatives attached to these leaders are aware of this.

If the trend persists, according to keen watchers, only God would prevent mayhem in the state capital.

Osun State

The situation in Osun state is equally pathetic, but not as gruesome as that of Oyo State. While the ACN is trying to consolidate itself and striving to endear itself to the hearts of the people, the PDP is bitter because of its belief that the judiciary compromised standard by giving the state to the ACN. These elections, despite the fact that it excludes the governorship race, are still generating a lot of tension.

It is more of war between the progressives and the reactionaries. Definitely, none of the group would want to admit being a reactionary. The coming into power by Aregbesola has obviously changed some things. People believe that the reforms which he began would positively transform the state. And the youths who are living under this optimism see their struggle as a just fight to reject oppression represented by the past regime of Oyinlola which hiked school fees in most of the tertiary institutions in the state.

On Thursday March 23, the dominant parties in the state engaged each other in verbal war .The ACN accused the PDP of being responsible for the elimination of its members in Osogbo, Olorunda,,Boluwaduro, Boripe and Ife local councils. However, the PDP in a swift reaction, accused the ACN of attacking its members in Igbajo,Iresi,Otan Ayegbaju and other towns.

The state scribe of ACN, Elder Adelowo Adebiyi alleged that PDP thugs have been terrorizing his member. On the other hand, the opposition said that the allegation was false Chief Sunday Ojo Williams the state PDP Chairman said that 1000memebers of his party had fled their homes because the. ACN thugs are after their lives.

The brains behind this crisis are the political intolerance of the leaders of the two parties. Both the incumbent governor, Aregbesola and Otunba Iyiola Omisore whose ambition to contest governorship election hit the rocks are said to be keeping an army of thugs called party security aids. The thugs being used by these leaders and others have allegedly sent many people to their early graves. Except the appropriate authorities called the two camps to other, nobody could guarantee peaceful politicking in the state.

Ogun State

For Ogun state, the conflict between the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Governor Gbenga Daniel which began some years ago, reached its crescendo during the party’s primaries. While Obasanjo remains an institution in the ruling party, the fact must not be trivialised that Daniel was the state party leader going by their constitution. According to observers, the rigidity of the two leaders coupled with their vested interest on who becomes what in the state has been responsible for the dwindling fortune of the PDP and its possible collapse.

The emergence of PPN is symbolic of an electoral misfortune of the ruling party serving as a good omen to the ACN which lost power to the PDP in 2003 as a result of filial trust of Olusegun Osoba to Obasanjo.

Apart from the dramatic emergence of PPN in the political landscape of Ogun STATE which is tackling the ailing PDP on one side, the traditional oppositions like the ACN and Labour no matter how microscopic, are also there fighting from the other side.

Some days ago, a vehicle in the convoy of Jide Awosedo the Governorship candidate of Labour party at Ikene Remo Ayepe junction, crushed two Okada riders to death. The vehicles conveying the gadgets to be used by the party men was set ablaze by thugs suspected to be working for Tunji Olurin, the PDP gubernatorial candidate.

Some days ago, Gbenga Daniel courageously declared in the public that he would not support Olurin, adding that the forefathers of those who wanted him jailed would end up in prison Daniel pointed out to those who care to know that the PDP in the state has become shadow of itself. With this type of altercations between the political god father and the son, what is being pronounced could best be described by the biblical analogy, ‘’to your tent O Israel.’’`

There is no denying the fact that the conflict will not be limited to rhetoric when the real elections start.

Ekiti State

The political battle in the state named ‘’fountain of Knowledge’ ’is multi dimensional. Recallling what happened in that state in 1983, the former Ondo State lost notable indigenes like Chief Fagbamigbe, a publisher of repute to the crisis during the attempted rigged election for Chief Akin Omoboriowo of the National Party of Nigeria{NPN}

Since that time, the political sensitivity of the state had taken a dangerous dimension.

Today, politics in this election has taken many spheres. While the newly installed government of Dr. Ayo Fayemi like, his counterpart in Osun, would not allow the power just seized to be snatched from them again, the PDP believed to be a usurper would want to make a point.

We should also not forget the Ayo Fayose guy who would want to be at the Senate if the EFCC had allowed him, his expected victory in his senatorial zone notwithstanding.

In the middle of March, two supporters of PDP identified as Ayo Kehinde Faluyi and Michael Ipindola were killed in Ado Ekiti. The PDP fingered people who they said disguised in police uniforms to kill their members, alleging that they were ACN thugs. While Chief Olu Ojo, the state PDP Chairman alleged that the killers were ACN thugs, a chieftain of ACN denied the allegation outrightly. The fact remains that lives were lost in the incident.

Ondo State

The political injury inflicted on the Peoples Democratic Party in the state will take time to heal. Labour Party which also benefited from the hope restored in the judiciary equally treasured its victory and would go to any extent to protect its interest. Believers in chop and I chop politics have quickly decamped to the Labour party and decided to enjoy their own dividends of democracy.

The fight to finish battle for power in the next dispensation has equally started. On March 23 or thereabout, three people were shot dead in Obanla area with four people injured in Iro, during a clash between supporters of PDP and Labour Party .at a campaign rally. The PDP candidate for Akure South/ Akure North federal constituency, Mr. Adedayo Omolafe had to call off his campaigns slated for Akure to avoid escalation of the crisis .This was a signal for a more serious violence if this type of ugly trend was not arrested on time.

Lagos State

The centre of Excellence has been relatively peaceful, perhaps, due to purposeful government in the saddle there .The past violence which was caused by the activities of the underworld men has been effectively checkmated with the security operatives put on ground with their numberless Armoured Personnel Carriers coupled with the expertise of Police,

But the coming elections have apparently been threatening that peace. Recently, a supporter of ACN was reportedly shot in the leg by a yet to be apprehended political thug.

Comparatively, the level of violence in that state is relatively low to that of other states. While the PDP is struggling tooth and nail to win the state, the opposition has been told to keep off as their dream would remain unattainable.

Former Governor of the state, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu recently said, “PDP is jealous of Lagos. We have turned Lagos into a valuable and investment driven city.’’

Similarly, the Chairman of campaign publicity, Mr. Tunji Bello accused PDP thugs for attacking the campaign office of the deputy governor, Mrs Joke Orelope Adefulure at Idimu, adding: “What the PDP has resorted to is intimidation and violence against CAN’s determination to defend and protect Lagosians against violence.

There is no way violence could be absolutely avoided in the South-West in the forth coming elections. What the security agents- soldiers, police, security operatives and others should do is to help in limiting the incidents of killing during the elections and avoid changing the name of this zone from ‘wise wise west’ to the derogatory former name of ‘wild wild west’.
Re: Political Violence: South-west Still Wild West? by Nchara: 4:55am On Apr 01, 2011
No surprises here.

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