Sunday, June 21, 2020

‘This is politics’: Ondo Commissioner of Police bars Deputy Gov from exiting government house

Drama ensued at the Government House in Ondo on Saturday night as a team of policemen led by Commissioner of Police Bolaji Salami stopped the Deputy Governor Agboola Ajayi from exiting with official vehicles.

Ajayi, who has been at loggerheads with his boss, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, had wanted to move out of the government house for his private residence, claiming he no longer feels safe in the premises.

However, the Police boss stopped him with the claim that ‘This is politics’.

The police commissioner stated that he was acting on the orders of his “boss” Rotimi Akeredolu.

He added that he was told that the deputy governor, who has ruled out resigning, was planning to dump the All Progressives Congress to the Peoples Democratic Party.

In a widely circulated video, the CP was heard to have said: “We are not saying you should not go out. Since you are defecting, even your letter was brought to me in my office this evening that you are doing it (decamping) on Monday.

“What government is saying is that you cannot go out with official vehicles. This is politics, I am not saying it is right. This is Government House. The Governor is the one talking, give me few minutes, let me talk to my boss.”

But Ajayi replied, cautioning against repeat of 1983 political violence, alleging suspected political thugs had been detailed to attack him and vandalised his property at the Government House once he declares for the PDP.

Flanked by two members of the House of Assembly, Mr Festus Akingbaso and Rasheed Elegbeleye, the Deputy Governor queried the Police chief: “Are you a member of the PDP or APC? It is you stopping me now. What is your concern about my leaving from one place to another? Do you know how many hours I have spent here? I personally paid for these vehicles. You should not have put yourselve in mess.

“I have tried all constitutional and acceptable means to prevent this crisis. You are being used by the governor to deprive me of my constitutional right. I am highly disappointed that a policeman of your calibre can be used like this.

“Let me tell you, you cannot repeat what happened in this state in 1983 because Ondo State people will resist you and your and your emperor with everything.”

Confirming the development, Mr Babatope Okeowo, the Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor, said the incident of Saturday evening has worsened the crisis between Mr. Akeredolu and Mr. Ajayi.

He said the deputy governor was prevented from leaving his official quarters over an allegation that he was planning to dump the APC for the PDP.

Mr. Ajayi said the incident happened in the presence of two members of the House of Assembly, Mr Festus Akingbaso and Mr. Rasheed Elegbeleye.

‘Ajayi was taken hostage for hours at the governor’s house gate despite the fact that he enjoys immunity under the Constitution of Nigeria,’ Mr. Okeowo said.

Narrating the development, the deputy governor’s spokesman said: ‘The security officers led by the Chief Security Officer (CSO) told the deputy governor that he could not move his vehicles out of the government’s house because it was late.

‘He said the deputy governor should come back on Sunday if he wanted to remove any of his vehicle outside the government premises.

‘The deputy governor, however, insisted that he would not leave the gate back to his official quarters unless they allow him to remove his official and personal vehicles out of the government’s house.

‘The two gates to the government’s house were under lock and key while the stern-looking policemen were positioned at the gate to prevent the deputy governor from leaving the premises.

‘The deputy governor and lawmakers representing Idanre and Akoko North-East constituencies were left at the gate of the government’s house for more than four hours.

‘The deputy governor, however, said he wanted to remove his official vehicles out of the government’s house because he no longer feels secure in the premises.

‘He alleged that suspected political thugs have been detailed to attack him and vandalised his property at the government house once he declared for the rival political party.

‘However, the deputy governor expressed disappointed with the conduct of the Commissioner of Police and the men posted to the government house. He said the conduct of the police boss is unbecoming of a senior police officer.’

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