WHO RULES OYO STATE LATEST
By Ola Ajayi
IBADAN— THE crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party in Oyo State got to a climax, yesterday, as the dismissed Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers in Oyo State, Alhaji Lateef Salako, a.k.a. Eleweomo, and two others were killed in a fresh crisis that erupted during the local government congress of the party.
Vanguard gathered that he was killed some minutes past 2.00 p.m., barely three days to his 60th birthday and house warming.
While his remains have been deposited at the Adeoyo State Hospital, Vanguard further learnt that the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Adisa Baba Bolanta, went to the scene of the attack under tight security.
This came as additional 10 persons were reportedly injured at Idi Ope Primary School, Oyo Town in Oyo West Local Government as a result of the crisis that erupted over the LG congress. It was gathered that the people had machete cuts on them.
Alhaji Lateef, a.k.a. Eleweomo
Further details showed that Eleweomo was shot dead at IDC Primary School, Olunloyo, Ibadan.
Another eyewitness told Vanguard that the melee erupted when the convoy of the Senate Leader, Teslim Folarin, allegedly arrived at the venue of the congress and pelted Akala's supporters with stones.
Sporadic shooting by security operatives
This, according to the source, was followed by sporadic shooting by security operatives of the senator. It was during this confusion that some people allegedly chased Eleweomo and shot him severally after which he fell down with blood gushing out of his body.
Vanguard further gathered that the death of Eleweomo resulted in reprisal attacks in major parks as his supporters thronged the streets.
Also, the Senate Leader, Folarin, escaped death by the whiskers when some gun_wielding hoodlums ambushed him during the conduct of the election, but two of his supporters were felled by the attackers' bullets. During the bloody clash, no fewer than 15 vehicles were burnt.
Though several calls made to the State Police Commissioner, Bolanta, were not picked, the death of the union leader was confirmed by the interim Chairman of Ona Ara Local Government where the attack took place.
Murder of NURTW chairman
The interim Chairman of Ona-ara Local Government, Alhaji Tunde Olayiwola, appointed about two weeks ago, said that the former NURTW chairman was murdered during the attack.
There have, however, been counter accusations as to what led to the attack that led to the death of the chairman and two others.
While Olayiwola pointed accusing fingers at the loyalists of the Senator Folarin, some people loyal to the senator insisted that the attack was initiated by members of the NURTW loyal to Eleweomo.
They said the late NURTW boss led other hoodlums to disrupt the local government congress of the party because they felt the results in that local government might not favour the governor.
While speaking with Vanguard on phone, yesterday, Layiwola, who was an eye witness said: 'The attack was masterminded by Senate Leader who asked his boys to attack our men. See, they have killed Eleweomo.
'His remains are lying on the ground before me now. They also damaged 15 vehicles, my official car and that of Jumoke Akinjide were among the vehicles burnt.
'They also shot a man from the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission. He is seriously injured. We have rushed him to the hospital.
How can people be spreading wicked rumour that I led the attack on the Senate leader?
'Can we do all what these people have done. It was Folarin that led some mobile policemen who were accompanied by the police escort and started shooting our men. They came in three buses. It happened just about an hour ago. Unless, you (newsmen) want to turn it upside down, this is the body of Eleweomo on ground. Is it possible that we killed Eleweomo?'
Senator Folarin reacts
Also condemning the attack, Folarin said he had reported the alleged invasion of the local government to the commissioner of police, Adisa Bolanta, but alleged that the CP refused to act on it.
He said it was wrong for the government to engage the NURTW it had earlier proscribed to intimidate party faithful who had come out to exercise their membership rights. Folarin regretted that two people were murdered in the attack and that other two others were on danger list in the hospital.
NURTW: It's been Akinsola versus Eleweomo
There had been fierce battle between Eleweomo and the reinstated Chairman of the union, Alhaji Lateef Akinsola, a.k.a. Tokyo, over the control of the union in the state.
After the controversial removal of Tokyo, he took the matter to the National Industrial Court which confirmed him as the authentic chairman of the union.
But, the government of Alao_Akala refused to recognize him owing to the frosty relationship between them.
Instead of enforcing the court order, the State Government proscribed the union and allegedly appointed some loyalists of Eleweomo as motor park managers in all the 33 local governments in the state.
Dissatisfied with what he described as robbing Peter to pay Paul, Tokyo has since been finding means to gain the full control of the union.
There have been several clashes between the two union leaders which resulted in death of scores of people.
During an interview with Vanguard few weeks ago, Eleweomo said, the only way to resolve the crisis in the union was for the police to detain him and Tokyo.
He spoke in Yoruba saying, 'any matter that is in court, it is court that would settle it. I said something before we started that Tokyo and I are the ones causing problems in the state. The police should detain the two of us. And when that is done, there would be peace in the state.
We are the agents causing apprehension and tension in the state. Why should we be suffering the innocent people who are not our union members? It is unfair. ' (The abridged interview first published on November 24, is reproduced on page 7)
Tension in town
Immediately the death of Eleweomo was spread in motor parks in Ibadan metropolis, many drivers except the ones plying the roads on the outskirts of the city withdrew their services and some workers both government and private were scared that there could be reprisal attack. People were calling their relatives on phone to go back home wherever they were.
Oyo State govt's statement
'Our attention has bn drawn to the wanton violence perpetrated at Akanran in Ona Ara local government, the home local government of Senator Teslim Folarin.
'During the rampage he led thugs and armed policemen to the venue of the congress shooting at will and some delegates including Alhaji Lateef Salako alias Eleweomo was gruesomely murdered. How come that the peaceful congress was violently disrupted at Ona ara?
They feared that the congress emerging results will expose their electoral weakness.'
Our delegates elected at today's congress should troop to the Liberty stadium tomorrow and vote in their state Exco and we implore the good people of Oyo state to remain calm since the government is on top of the situation.