The immediate past Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, has accused the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, and a former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bode George, of masterminding the assault on him at the party’s final campaign held in Ondo town on Wednesday.
Mr Fayose, a PDP chieftain, was reportedly harassed by political thugs when he arrived the venue to give support to his party’s candidate for the Ondo governorship election, Eyitayo Jegede.
He was making his way to the podium at the campaign ground when one of the thugs moved towards him and removed his cap.
There was mild skirmish but the situation was brought under control.
The deputy governorship candidate, Ikengboju Gboluga, immediately tendered an apology to the former Ekiti governor at the rally.
A visibly rattled Mr Fayose could only give short comments when he was asked to address the crowd at the rally.
Mr Fayose, through his media aide, Lere Olayinka, via a statement issued afterward, said “he would not stop speaking the truth concerning the running of the party in the South-west zone despite the assault.”
Mr Fayose had last week called for Mr George’s ‘retirement’ from active politics during the inauguration of the PDP campaign committee for the Lagos East senatorial bye-election.
The former governor said Mr George “should rather support the younger ones in the party instead of dragging positions with them.”
On the assault, Mr Fayose said he would lodge a formal complaint with security agencies and the relevant authorities in the party.
“That’s how late Chief Bola Ige’s cap was removed in Ile Ife, Osun State then and we all know what happened later,” he said. “So this one will not be ignored and treated as one of those things.”
“The masterminds had it all planned and they followed it up by celebrating what they saw as the success of their plot. They even capped it up by circulating the video.
“So it was not an accident, it was planned. But those who planned it only succeeded in advertising their political myopia because popularity of the brand Ayo Fayose, Osokomole, cannot be rubbished by such childish act,” his aide said.
Ondo State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kennedy Peretei, told PREMIUM TIME “it was wrong for people to come to the rally to vent local party differences”.
He said the deputy governorship candidate had apologised to Mr Fayose and hoped that the matter had been laid to rest.
But responding to Mr Fayose’s allegation, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Taiwo Adisa, said the former governor “appears perpetually desirous of hugging the limelight even when the occasion did not desire such grandstanding”.
“I believe that ex-governor Fayose and his handlers need to look far away from Oyo State in search of their enemies,” he said.
“Governor Makinde has no link whatsoever with the incident Fayose’s aide was talking about,” he added. “We expect all right- thinking members of the PDP to join the Governor of Oyo State in the prosecution of the noble and democratic assignment he is executing on behalf of the PDP in Ondo State at this time, instead of seeking to distract him one way or the other.”
“The governor will not be distracted either on the task at hand or on the well-intentioned desire to join other leaders to rebuild the PDP in the South-west geopolitical zone.”
Tajudeen Abinuwaiye, the Chairman of PDP Democrats in Lagos, also spoke on behalf of Mr George via a statement released to PREMIUM TIMES.
He described Mr Fayose as a “confused dreamer.”
He said “the controversial former governor hurriedly jumped to a conclusion over his encounter with some youths in Ondo.”
“Fayose openly apologised to all the people he had wronged right at the podium in his very brief remarks,” he said.
“It is rather shocking and outrageous for this same person to change swiftly and started pointing accusing fingers at his phantom enemies.
“Fayose is been known to have been reckless and abusive towards elders. He had once maligned and openly abused former President Obasanjo, Chief Afe Babalola, Chief Bode George and even President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Fayose has constantly displayed an attitude of a man pursued by some inner demon. He needs a definite purgation. His careless, indifferent outbursts should be discountenanced.”
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