From Priscilla Ediare, Ado Ekiti
The Ward Congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State were marred by violence on Saturday leading to the death of one person and many injured.
It was gathered that the deceased identified as Jide was stabbed to death following violence that erupted in Ado Ward 10 after the congress had been concluded.
A source who was at the venue of the ward 10 congress said: ‘After the congress was concluded, the boys who are on drugs had disagreement among themselves and before you know it, it turned to a free-for-all.
‘Jide was stabbed and rushed to the General Hospital where he was confirmed dead. This is unfortunate and uncalled for because it is a mere Ward Congress.’
Before the Ward Congresses, the leadership of the party and some stakeholders had disagreed on the modality to be adopted for the congress, while the party leadership was rooting for consensus arrangement across the 177 wards, other stakeholders, like South West Agenda 2023 (SWAGA), a pro-Tinubu group, resisted the idea and insisted on the election.
In Ado-Ekiti ward 8, thugs unleashed mayhem on party members and disrupted the process. Many of the injured members are receiving medical attention in one of the private hospitals in the state capital.
Also in Ado Ekiti, there was violence in Ward 4 and 8 as thugs went on a rampage to disrupt the voting process.
The chairperson of Ado local government, Mrs Omotunde Fajuyi, who participated in the congress in Ward 10 said the process was peaceful and devoid of any violence.
Fajuyi said, ‘as you are aware today, Ward 10 congress was peaceful during the congress and we had only one person who contested for ward chairmanship position and was elected unopposed.
‘The process went peacefully and nobody had any cause to fight but we were told some persons had disagreement later after we left the place and one of them is dead. As I speak with you now, I am going to the hospital.’
In his reaction, the state chairman of SWAGA, Senator Tony Adeniyi, decried the widespread violence which marred the process, saying that there was no congress in the state.
According to him, ” There was no election today in Ekiti because there was no accreditation across the wards. The Fayemi Tokan Tokan people manipulated the process and prevent people from voting for their preferred leaders, especially SWAGA members.
‘I can confirm to you that there was violence in Ikere Ekiti, virtually all the wards in Ado Ekiti had violence and several people wounded and also in Ward 10, someone was killed. Is that how to do a congress?’
On his part, a chieftain of the party and governorship aspirant, Chief Reuben Famuyibo lamented that the politicians failed democracy in the state with the level of violence which characterised the ward congress.
Famuyibo, an elder statesman explained that he would address the press in the coming days on the process.
He said: ‘As predicted by me on Friday, there was no election today, what you see is thugs moving around the wards.
‘The blood of any citizens does not worth my ambition. When I got to the ward today, I returned home, this is not democracy and our politicians have not learnt any election and it is unfortunate. We await what the national secretariat will do it.’
However, the party spokesman, Ade Ajayi denied the allegations by the leaders on the process of the congress, saying every member was allowed to participate in the congress.
‘I can tell you that nobody was deprived of the congress today (Saturday) and it is our hope that it will be an acceptable one by the stakeholders. It is a blatant lie to say that people were deprived, people participated in the process.”
Confirming the killing, the Police Public Relations Officer, Ekiti Command, Sunday Abutu, told reporters that findings revealed that the deceased, Jide, was attacked with a charm and investigations were ongoing to arrest the perpetrators.
‘We got a distress call today (Saturday) after the Ward 10 congress in Fajuyi that people were fighting when celebrating and on getting to the place, we were told one person has been rushed to the hospital where he was confirmed dead.
‘From our findings, he was beaten with a charm and investigations have commenced towards arresting the perpetrators.’
Earlier, the seven-man Ward Congress Committee dispatched to the state by the party’s Caretaker Chairman and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni, had encouraged stakeholders to embrace consensus, saying it(consensus) remained the best option that can avert a crisis in the party.
The Committee headed by Alhaji Shittu Galambi has Hon Omowunmi Olatunji, Hon Mohammed Bamanga, Hon Mohammed Ndanusa, Hon Naomi Awake, Prof Okey Onyejekwe and Bello Osaretin, as members.
Addressing reporters at the APC’s Secretariat, in Ado Ekiti, after distributing election materials to all the 177 wards, the Committee’s Chairman, Alhaji Shittu Galambi, said he conveyed the message of Governor Buni to all stakeholders that consensus should be adopted in party’s interest.
Galambi, however, clarified that the party and stakeholders are at liberty to conduct a direct mode of elections where consensual agreement fails among contenders.
‘We have distributed materials across all the 177 wards and we got the full support of all relevant stakeholders. The process has been crisis-free.
‘Most importantly, we communicated the message of our National Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee that they should adopt consensus and where that fails, there will be a direct mode of primary.
‘Let me also say that we have not received any complaint from any of the stakeholders. Allowing peace and unity is in our party’s interest as loyal members,’ Galambi said.
Meanwhile, a member of the State Working Committee, who craved anonymity told reporters, on Saturday, that the party had adopted consensus majorly before the arrival of the Committee from the national.
He stated that virtually all the members across 177 wards adopted consensus with less than 10 advocating for elections, which he said was being sorted out to allow for consensual arrangement.
‘We are having less stress here in Ekiti because we adopted consensus and it is paying off.
‘There were less than 10 wards that could not reach consensus but the leaders in those areas are engaging in serious horse-trading and I believe that will be of help.
‘Majorly, we are not having a serious problem here in Ekiti and the process has been hitch-free,’ he said.