There is more to the crisis rocking the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC in Ijebu Ode local government area of Ogun state as some boys alleged to be thugs of the deputy Speaker, Tola Banjo last week Wednesday disrupted the Consultative and Advisory Council, CAC meeting of the party.
The meeting which was held inside the office of the Local Government Chairman, Razzaq Daddah at Itoro was abruptly ended when the atmosphere became charged.
Findings by our correspondent revealed that the boys were those aggrieved by the presence of the embattled party Chairman in Ijebu Ode local government, Mr. Ladi Lekuti at the meeting, saying that, he has been since be removed from office.
The brouhaha forced staff of the local government to hurriedly close their offices and flee the council secretariat.
It was gathered that the meeting which was scheduled to hold on Monday inside the Itoro Hall was postponed after the thugs were alleged to have locked the place up, preventing elders and party leaders to gain entrance.
This did not go down well with the elders as the Chairman of Ogun East Senatorial District, who is also the Chairman of the CAC, Alhaji G.Elias postponed the meeting to Wednesday inside the Council Chairman’s office but was again disrupted by the boys believed to be loyalists of the deputy Speaker, Tola Banjo.
Speaking with our correspondent on the development, Alhaji Elias disclosed that he received a petition letter, but refused to declare that the Chairman has been removed as being peddled around by some people.
“Let me state categorically that the matter is still under the microscope by a panel of enquiry headed by Arch. Oduwole, so, I never said that Lekuti is not the Chairman and never planned to swear in anybody as the acting Chairman of APC in Ijebu Ode.
He added that: “The letter was not addressed to me but to the State Chairman and he has not directed me on what to do. The matter will be thoroughly looked into and I can assure you, it will be resolved amicably at the end of the day”,APC chieftain said.
Mr Ladi Lekuti, the APC Chairman in Ijebu Ode local government council has been alleged anti-party activities and vote of no confidence was passed on him by 26 out of 37 members of the Local Government Executive Council.
But says he remains the bonafide Chairman of the party in ijebu Ode.
Also, in another twist, a petition signed by many of those that signed the removal of the party Chairman was also obtained by our correspondent on Saturday, where they claimed that they were not privy to the decision to remove the chairman.
Speaking on behalf of the executive members, the women leader, Mrs Adijat disclosed that the signed paper was for a different meeting but was removed and attached to the purported petition circulated around by some group of people.
She maintained that Lekuti remains the party Chairman and she alongside other executive members still recognises that.
At a meeting called by the state governor, Ibikunle Amosun on Sunday, the governor pointed that the status quo should remain.
While speaking with PM News, the embattled Lekuti disclosed that the deputy Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly, Tola Banjo was behind all the crisis, adding that, since he lost out in the last election, he has been causing unrest within the town.
“I am still the Chairman, there is no doubt about that. I want to confirm to you that Tola Banjo is behind all these things you are hearing or seeing happening in Ijebu Ode. He was the one that has been propelling those boys,they have been beating people and harrassing many since Tola lost the election.
“I have it on record with proof that he has been inviting them to his house in Abeokuta and has been promising them a lot of things. There is one Yomi Gold,a non indigene of Ijebu but just a friend to Tola, he has been deceiving people here, calling himself S.A.to Mr Governor. It is on this, they have been perpetrating a lot of bad things within the town.
“As I am speaking with you, I will be hosting the meeting of all the leaders from Ogun East today in our party secretariat in Ijebu Ode. Our leaders like Baba Elias, Asiwaju Awosedo and others are coming and they are coming to meet me as the party Chairman in Ijebu Ode here. No cause for alarm, I am still in charge,” Lekuti boasted.
In a four-page petition signed by the vice chairman and general secretary of the party in Ijebu Ode, Olanrewaju Adesuyi and Moshood Kazeem, the Chairman was accused of conspiring with opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to work against the party during the presidential/national assembly and governorship/state assembly elections.
“We wish to place on record that our action is devoid of any rancour, reservation or prejudice. This action is justifiably taken as the last resort in the utmost interest of our party after we have exercised all reasonable considerations and having given enough chance for peace and decorum and relying on provisions of the constitution of our party and the relevant sections in relation to the subject matter,” the statement read.
According to the petition, the Chairman was accused of attending a meeting with some leaders of the PDP at Obanta Club, Ijebu Ode on 8 April, 2015 around 9:00pm.
It was also alleged that he received N750,000 from them and conspired with them to work against the party, which resulted in the loss of the party during the governorship and House of Assembly elections on April 11,2015 in the area.
“…every member of the party knows that Ladi Lekuti’s wife, children and other members of his family are very active members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Infact, his wife is a member of the Executive Council of PDP at the Local Government level.
“Two different flags of PDP is being hoisted qnd flying side by side the only APC flag in front of his house. You will agree with us that this is indeed serious and unbelievable.
“To perfect and achieve his grand plan to see that our party loose the election in favour of PDP,Mr Ladi Lekuti and other purported leaders in our party changed and replaced the names of the originally agreed party agents and supervisors with names of the people he wished to use to carry out his game plan,” the petition revealed.
It was further disclosed that efforts by the party to give the Chairman free hearing proved abortive as he (Lekuti) failed to appear twice to defend himself against all the allegations.
Lekuti was said to have been suspended on April 29, 2015 at a meeting of the Local Government Executive Council before he was finally removed from office on May 14, 2015.
Meanwhile, another party leader in the town and a former caretaker chairman of the local government,Alhaji Raheem Sarumi, who is also a member of the CAC revealed that the present crisis in the local government is not necessary, urging those aggrieved to remain calm.
Sarumi accused the incumbent deputy Speaker as the reason for his own failure at the poll, disclosing that, the deputy speaker never aligned with the leaders in the town, believing that he is up to the task.
“Tola is a young boy that should not have allowed his position to becloud him. After the presidential election, I was in Abeokuta for a meeting and decided to check on him to discuss the next elections, but in his usual character, he never allowed me to talk.
“He never came to anyone of us to brief us about his plan for the election. He only handpicked us for his campaign but never wanted to listen to others. His personal attitude was part of his problem, which no one in this town likes. It is not that people love PDP in Ijebu Ode, but, they just don’t like the way he has been behaving and that was why he lost.
“On the issue going on in town, the CAC never removed the party chairman and with what the governor said on Sunday, we are going to look inward and see how all the issues will be settled amicably, we don’t need to fight ourselves,” Sarumi advised.