Thugs chase factional PDP secretary away from secretariat

By Wahab Akannji, Abuja

The leadership crisis rocking the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has escalated further as angry party youths stormed the secretariat to chase away the factional secretary loyal to the Ali Modu Sheriff led group. 

Armed with placards and leafy tree branches, the youths who had arrived the secretariat as early as 7am, spared no words in castigating the ousted Sheriff. 

Incidentally, Sheriff, who came and stayed briefly in his office on Tuesday, did not show up at the secretariat yesterday. 

But his co-travelers, Prof. Adewale Oladipo and Alhaji Adewole Adeyanju, sacked national secretary and national auditor respectively, were sufficiently harassed by the irate mob. 

Oladipo and Adeyanju have rejected their sack, insisting that their tenure remained valid up till 2017. 

Oladipo replaced Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola as National Secretary in 2013 when the latter was forced out in an internal power play at the time. 

Adeyanju similarly benefited from the sack of his predecessor, Mr. Bode Mustapha who was also eased out in similar circumstances about the same time. 

In their own reckoning, Oladipo and Adeyanju believe that their constitutionally prescribed four-year tenure should run its full course and end in 2017. 

They have both joined Sheriff in a plethora of litigations seeking to validate their positions through the courts. 

But they both got a raw deal from the rampaging youths when they ventured into the secretariat building to resume duties for the day. 

Encircled by the angry youths, the visibly shaken Oladipo pleaded in a subdued voice to be allowed to leave the premises unharmed. 

“Please, allow me to go. I will not come back again”, the frightened Oladipo pleaded amid a cacophony of denunciatory remarks from the youths. 

He was eventually left off the hook and scurried away on foot, to join his car parked at a safe distance from the secretariat building. 

Apparently too frightened to engage the youths in any dialogue, Adeyanju simply escaped through a back gate, abandoning his car in the car lot in the premises. 

Obviously piqued by his sneaky escape, some of the youths attempted to vandalise his blue coloured Toyota Camry, marked Lagos  APP 767 CK. But timely intervention by internal security operatives saved the situation. 

The car was still at the parking lot as at the time this report was being filed at 4. 35pm. 

One of the party’s internal security operatives told our correspondent that he had made several calls to Adeyanju, asking him to send his driver to fetch the car but that the politician simply ignored his entreaties. 

After chasing Oladipo and Adeyanju away, the mob moved to the main reception where about 12 hefty, fierce looking young men in black suits had taken position since Monday. 

Party sources said the men were brought in by a controversial Anambra based PDP chieftain known for his proclivity for bare knuckle approach to power struggle. 

The men had been proving security for Sheriff since he seized the secretariat on Monday. But they were no match for the rampaging youths who marched them out of the secretariat. 

Quietly, the black suited roughnecks simply grabbed their luggage and filed out of the building one after the other, with the youths barking orders after them not to return to the secretariat. 

The leader of the protesting youths, Comrade Franklin Edele described Sheriff as one of the longest serving member of the opposition in national politics and that he is not known to the PDP. 

Edele, who claimed to be the National President the PDP National Rebirth Group, said Sheriff would not be allowed to destroy the party. 

“We won’t allow anybody to hijack the PDP. Sheriff must go. We must do everything democratically possible to win the Edo governorship election. ?Sheriff was planted by the APC into the PDP. He came in wrongly and he has been shown the way out”, he said. 

The protest recorded no human casualty and no property was damaged while the protest lasted. After the dust had settled, the protesting youths ordered secretariat staff out of the premises. 

They locked the main entrance to the secretariat and called the chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Walid Jibrin on the telephone to come and take custody of the keys. 

Jibrin appeared at the secretariat at about 3.18pm, collected the keys and left immediately. 

However, policemen and journalists covering the party were allowed to remain  at the secretariat to do their job. 

The protest came ahead of a meeting of key party organs and other stakeholders scheduled to hold in Abuja later in the day, to deliberate on the seizure of the secretariat by Sheriff. 

Expected at the meeting are the party’s governors, the BoT, the National Assembly Caucus and other stakeholders. A statement on Tuesday by the Director General of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Mr. Osaro Onaiwu, said the conveners did not invite Sheriff to the meeting. 

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