A row between the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party in Ado-Ekiti on Monday brought to an abrupt end the stakeholders meeting put together by the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, in preparation for the governorship election on Saturday.
The meeting which was billed to get political parties and their candidates reach a consensus on the conduct of the election, resulted in a shouting match between supporters of the two major parties, forcing the organisers to close the meeting without allowing a key aspect of the meeting, which was the questions and answers session.
The stakeholders meeting which held at the Eagle Hall, Ikere Road, Ado Ekiti, was attended by candidates of the 35 political parties and the party officials.
The INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, and Mr Idris had finished addressing the meeting on the expectations for the election, when Samuel Omotoso, a serving member of the National Assembly, raised an observation on the conduct of the APC candidate, Kayode Fayemi.
He alleged that Mr Fayemi had been bragging that he would be declared winner whichever way the election goes.
Mr Omotoso also alleged that security men shot at him and his family members during the APC rally in his town, Oloje, in Oye Local Government Area, saying some security operatives were partisan in their conduct.
As he continued his complaints with the continued mention of Mr Fayemi’s name, the APC members in the hall became agitated and raised their voices to shout him down.
The ensuring uproar later gave rise to a charged atmosphere, causing dignitaries to start leaving the hall.
Efforts made by the INEC chairman and the Inspector General of Police and the Chairman Council of Traditional Rulers, Oluwole Ademolaju, to calm the frayed nerves did not yield fruit.
Speaking on the cause of the uproar, the PDP Publicity Secretary, Jackson Adebayo, said the APC members carried on at the meeting as if they came there only to pass a strong message to the PDP when they came singing campaign chants.
“When we started our own, the felt the heat and they started moving out,” Mr Adebayo said. “There was no fighting and no rancour, it was just a show of strength.”
He added that though the meeting made progress, at the time the question and answer session was to commence, the APC members would not allow a member to ask questions.
“A member of the PDP wanted to ask question, but they started shouting ‘no more question, no more question,’ as if their feeling was that the IGP and the INEC chairman who had earlier addressed the meeting came to support them,” added Mr Adebayo.
But the Kayode Fayemi Campaign Organisation accused the PDP of importing thugs to the venue of the rally, bringing the meeting to an abrupt end.
Spokesman for the campaign, Wole Olujobi, told PREMIUM TIMES that the APC and its supporters went to the venue of the meeting with the expectation of interacting with other stakeholders to reach a consensus on how to deliver a peaceful election.
“But we were surprised when they(the people supporters) started shouting and rioting,” Mr Olujobi said.
“Once Dr Fayemi entered the hall, they started an uproar and creating rancour in the place.
“The PDP knows where the votes are going, because of the gale of defections from the PDP to the APC on a daily basis.
“Their reaction is because they don’t know how to control the situation. We are a party of progressives and we do not engage in violence.”