Ekiti APC kicks as police arrest ex-RTEAN boss, Olanbiwonu
EKITI State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday kicked against the arrest and detention of former Chairman of the state’s Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Rotimi Joseph Olanbiwonu (a.k.a. Mentilo), suspected to be involved in the murder of Omolafe Aderiye, former National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) boss and close associate of Governor Ayodele Fayose.
The party described Olanbiwonu’s ordeal as a fulfilment of the governor’s declaration at his inauguration ceremony last year to run APC leaders out of the state.
Olanbiwonu, who was arrested on Sunday by the police, was arraigned before Magistrate’s Court 2, Ado-Ekiti yesterday for alleged murder of Aderiye.
In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatubosun, the party condemned what it called “persistent victimisation of APC members arrested on trumped-up charges that saw them end up in jail.
The statement said: “Governor Fayose at his inauguration ceremony last October publicly declared a one-minute silence for the death of APC in the state, promising to send the party members out of town.
True to his declaration, no fewer than 10 leaders of our party have been hounded out of town while two are in jail over trumped-up charges even as teachers that were perceived as having sympathy for APC were transferred to the remote areas of the state while the governor is still after Fayemi’s officials to seize their cars even when the matter is in court. “This is the same way he wants to eject them from their housing estate homes against legal agreement in the purchase of their houses.
His first victim was our Chairman, Chief Jide Awe, who the governor implicated in the murder of Mrs. Juliana Jeje and Ayo Jeje in Erinjiyan-Ekiti, even when it was proven that Awe was out of the town when violence broke out among party rivals that claimed the lives of the victims.”
The party said other persecution followed in quick succession, including attacks on its members and candidates during campaigns and destruction of candidates’ posters, while APC Assembly candidates were not allowed to run their campaigns. “Only last night, another top sympathiser of our party, Mr. Rotimi Olanbiwonnu (a.k.a Mentilo) was arrested over alleged complicity in the murder of the drivers’ union late leader, Omolafe Aderiye, who was killed by unknown assailants in September last year,” the statement further said.
The party, which expressed worry over the judiciary roles in the persecution of the opposition members, wondered why a man who shut the courts for months and who had several alleged criminal cases hanging on his neck, including stealing and murder, should now find ally in the judiciary that he desecrated when he led thugs to disrupt court proceedings, beat up a judge and tore court records in the Chief Judge’s office after assaulting the chief judge’s secretary.
He also said it was worrisome that a pliable magistrate could be hurriedly procured to send Sola Adenijo (a.k.a. Solar) to jail over Erinjiyan incident while the PDP masterminds of the violence were walking free. He urged the judiciary to be even-handed in the administration of justice. He said: “We are watching the judiciary again as one of our sympathisers is being held over trumped-up murder charge.
The same police that are very active now to help Fayose achieve his agenda were helpless when we complained to them over indiscriminate attacks on our members. “We call on the Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, to intervene in the various cases against our members in Ekiti State because it is clear that the state Police Command is in firm grip of the governor and they are willing tools in the suppression of our party members to help the governor carry out his clampdown on the party leaders.
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