- PDP, APC trade words over attack
Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti
The tribunal sitting in Ado Ekiti over the July 14 governorship poll has granted application made orally by Adebayo Adelodun, the lead counsel to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and candidate of the party, Olusola Kolapo Eleka, that the venue of the hearing of the petition be shifted to another state outside Ekiti.
Daily Sun gathered that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, is being considered as alternative.
Adelodun made the application based on his observation that a crowd of sticks and cudgels-wielding party thugs and unruly crowd had besieged the entrance of the court, and harrassed key individuals entering the venue.
In a related development, lawmakers of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, including Dayo Akinleye alleged that some persons suspected to be thugs of the All Progressive Congress (APC), attacked them and shot severally into the air.
Chairman, House Committee on Information, Samuel Omotosho said PDP lawmakers and other members were allegedly attacked by thugs while they were entering the court premises. He said the ensuing attack almost led to the killing of Akinleye.
Daily Sun observed that a crowd of commercial drivers, party supporters wielding sticks besieged the basement of the bridge in front of the court premises as early as 9:00am.
Many of them held long canes while others wore vests which showed they belonged to drivers, Okada riders and artisans’ unions; among others.
Reacting to the allegation, the new APC state chairman, Omotosho Ayodele, said: “The allegations are unfounded and that is so unfortunate.
The area where they claimed to have been attacked is occupied by those who are mere spectators, who just came around to see what is happening at the court. So, for anybody to now conclude that they are APC members is unfair.
“For PDP lawmakers to say that APC members attacked them is false and unfounded. Our members are peaceful and peace loving.
We are disciplined people. Besides, we know that the PDP will fail in this exercise, so, why should we attack them when we know they would fail.”
Meanwhile, in what appeared like reporting the alleged attack to the tribunal, Adelodun said: “The counsel to the PDP and its candidate would have been prevented from entering the court this morning.
We were accosted by stick-wielding thugs. To say we were scared is an understatement and we were held for several minutes until a senior security man intervened.
This happened, in spite of security men in our vehicle and we were subjected to this scary treatment,” he explained, and asked for a shift of venue of the sitting to, preferably, Abuja.
Reacting to Adelodun’s application for a change of venue for the sitting, counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), Charles Edosomwam, agreed with Adelodun and drew the attention of the tribunal to the crowd-wielding sticks and other objects, who had besieged the entrance.
Also supporting the application, Akinlolu Olujimi, (SAN), APC counsel said: “The attack has happened before. Four years ago, my partner and now governor of Ondo state, Akeredolu were hauled with stones and the case had to be moved to Abuja for the safety of all parties.I saw the unruly crowd holding sticks under the long bridge.
I wholeheartedly support the application…”