Ekiti 2014: Bamidele's Rally Banned in Isan Ekiti, Fayemi's Hometown
Written by: Julius Toba Jegede
Efforts by Labour Party's governorship candidate Hon. Micheal Opeyemi Bamidele to continue his campaign activities at the weekend suffered a major setback following a warning issued to him to stay off Isan Ekiti.
Isan – Ekiti in Oye local Government Area is the hometown of Governor Kayode Fayemi and the All Progressives Congress, APC's candidate in June 21st election where Bamidele is also a major contender.
It was confirmed how the monarch, HRH Sunday Ajiboye had on Friday placed repeated phone calls on Bamidele few hours before the commencement of his scheduled rally at the market square in Isan Ekiti.
The governor's hometown is known to be sharply divided between LP and APC supporters, but attempts had been made earlier on Friday to stop pasting of Bamidele's posters by his supporters anywhere in the town.
Bamide who was carrying out a similar rally at Itaji Ekiti, about 10km from Isan – Ekiti at the time of receiving the call was told by the Oba that he could not guarantee Bamidele's safety if he held the rally in his domain.
It was also confirmed that Oba Ajiboye hinged his warnings on the fact that
APC youths in the town were already armed to the teeth and were ready to cause havoc on any LP member sighted doing campaign in Isan Ekiti.
Reliable sources close to Bamidele said frantic efforts by him and leaders of his campaign organisation to convince the monarch to reverse the ban failed.
The situation became worse as he was said to have also refused to even see them in camera for a private discussion.
Stern-looking thugs suspected to be those of APC were seen manning the gate of the palace which was at the same time put under lock.
Meanwhile, it took the intervention of
men of the SSS and Police attached to Bamidele and his supporters to ensure safety.
The security agents guided Bamidele's convoy out of Isan Ekiti at about 5pm after unsuccessfully awaiting the monarch's approval for about one hour, before proceeding to Ayede Ekiti for another rally.
As a result, supporters of Bamidele in Isan Ekiti have alleged that the monarch was acting on the instruction of Governor Fayemi of APC.
They condemned his attitude for making himself a tool in the hand of a partisan politician (Fayemi) who they claimed had not spent a night in their midst nor cited any project there.
Adekunle Falade, an LP Ward leader in the town said “Oba Ajiboye had sown a permanent seed of discord among his subjects by that singular act. As from today, he's no longer our king but king of only APC members in Isan-Ekiti. He has disrespected the thrown of Onisan in the comity of Obas, this has never happened in the history of politics of this town”
Others claimed that Fayemi was imposing himself them through Oba Ajiboye and vowed to resist him.
Also, Hon. Ropo Ige, Director-General of Bibiire Campaign Organisation, the campaign organ for Bamidele described action of the monarch as a rape on democracy and stressed the need to call him to order.
According to him ”What the Onisan did was a rape on democracy and fundamental human rights of LP members living in Isan – Ekiti. He should therefore be investigated by appropriated agencies, as to whether he has the constitutional powers as a traditional rulers to stop a campaign of a particular candidate or party in his domain”
He went further that “we are not happy about the whole development and we have lodged our complaints. Labour Party as a registered party in Nigeria has satisfied all INEC requirements to participate in this election and the proceeding rally. We don't see any reason why a monarch because of his relationship with any of the candidates should stop us”
“The 1999 Constitution guarantees freedom of association to all Nigerians, by this partisan act of the monarch right of association of our LP members in Isan – Ekiti has been denied. As a candidate too, MOB has been denied his right to freedom of expression by the Oba. A man of his social stature is expected to be a custodian of our culture and peaceful co-existence, who should give a level playing ground to all aspiring political leaders. But I assure you that we shall take up the matter”
“It calls for concern because if this could be happening now, I wonder what will happen in Isan – Ekiti on election day” he added.
Similarly, LP State Chairman in Ekiti State, Hon. Akinbowale Omole said the ban of Bamidele's rally in Isan Ekiti was the extent of partisanship
of the throne.
He disclosed how LP youths and leaders in Isan Ekiti had updated him with information bothering on the security of their lives the moment APC members got wind of planned visit of Bamidele to the town.
He narrated how he personally intervened in the assault and subsequent arrest of one LP member identified as Lateef, for daring to paste Bamidele's posters on the street of Isan Ekiti.
He added that “this development is a very sad one especially when it is coming from a monarch, we shall not sit down and allow this to continue. We have reported the matter to Ekiti State Traditional Council, led by Oba Adamo Babalola the Onitaji of Itaji-Ekiti. The Onisan is a member of that council and we have also reported to the Commissioner of Police in Ado -Ekiti for immediate action”
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