By Sunday Oguntuyi, Osogbo
Members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Otan-Ile, Obokun East Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Osun State, Thursday took to the streets of the town to protest alleged imposition of a chairmanship candidate by some party leaders in the state .
The aggrieved party members who trooped out in large numbers, said they were against the rejection of the current caretaker Chairman, Honourable Bello Saliu Bamidele, whom they claimed emerged the winner of the APC Local Government primary election before the results of the polls were upturned by those they described as “Powerful people” in favour of another person.
Armed with placards with various inscription such as “Otan Lokan, It’s the turn of Otan-Ile”, “We won’t accept the cheating” Stop imposing the loser”, Governor Gboyega Oyetola come to our rescue” among others, the protesters said since the creation of Obokun local Government, Otan Ile had never produced chairman.
They noted that despite their total commitment to the bid of the party, they were astonished by the decision of some party leaders to drop the name of their son, Honourable Bamidele who emerged the winner of the primary and fraudulently exchanged it with the name of the person who they said couldn’t win his unit in both the governorship and local government primary elections
They threatened to renounce their memberships if the party leadership remains adamant to right the wrong, saying what happened was purely a delibrate attempt to rub and take away their mandate.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, APC Chairman, ward 008 in Otan-Ile, Chief Isaac Akinleye said they would do everything within their reach to take back their stolen mandate
“We are here not to fight, but to protest against the imposition of a candidate.
“We have come to register our grievances and would take back the power of the chairman that was stolen away from us because APC party in Otan-Ile has really worked hard for the party but has never been represented in the Local government since its creation,” he said.
“The caretaker Chairman Saliu Bello who emerged winner in the primary election held in five towns under Obukun East LCDA won in three towns namely Imesi, Otan and Esaoke. Ilare and Esaodo did not take part in the voting process.
“A few days after the election the officials who came to conduct the primary election, the returning officer and CO made a U-turn in the results already declared, with strange figures, declared one Owoeye from Esaoke the winner.
” We want Saliu back because he is the authentic winner and if not, that means they want us out of the APC party.”
Echoing a similar views, An Otan-Ile High Chief, Mrs Ajayi Folashade, said the ancient town has been denied in the distribution of political appointment since its creation.
She said: “The reason for our protest is because in the whole of Obokun Local Government Area we are being denied our rights even before we were divided. No representative of Otan-Ile has ever emerged chairman, after the creation of Obokun East LCDA.
“Saliu was appointed as the caretaker chairman where he served for some months. The primary was conducted in three villages where Saliu emerged the winner and the story was posted online.
“Three days later, they reposted online that Ilare and Esaoke who did not take part in the election declares Owoeye their winner.
“So we are here to say Saliu should be returned as the winner because if we are not given a Chairmanship position in Otan-Ile, there would be no APC. We are appealing to Mr Governor that we want Chairman in Otan-Ile
“Secondly, Saliu and Moruf were in charge of the caretaker, now they returned Moruf in Obokun , we don’t know the reason Saliu is being denied the position. Because without Saliu there would be no vote for Bola Tinubu in Otan-Ile.
Corroborating the point, one of the APC leader in the town, Alhaji Adisa Balogun, urged the Governor to intervene on the matter saying a Muslim had never been considered in the position of authority since the Obokun local Government came to being.