By Stephen Olufemi Oni, Ilorin
Political violence resurfaced in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, on Wednesday when political thugs numbering about 20 invaded the Labour House where members of a faction of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) were holding a press conference.
The political thugs forced their way into the Labour House owned by the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and descended heavily on the conveners of the meeting.
The factional chairman of the SDP in the Ifelodun local government area of the state, Elder James Olajide, was beaten black and blue and dragged on bare floor by the thugs.
The thugs also beat and drove away an elderly man who was walking with aid of walking stick, among others.
It would be recalled that on Tuesday, the publicity secretary of a faction of the SDP, Kareem Akanbi, had announced the suspension of eight members from the party, signalling a leadership crisis within the party.
The conveners of Wednesday’s press conference were some of the people that were suspended for alleged anti-party activities.
Before the disruption of the press conference at the Labour House, the factional chairman of the SDP (original), Ibrahim Yahaya, had alleged plans by some former members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who recently joined the party to hijack the party from the pioneer executives of the party.
“It is no longer news that a faction of the All Progressive Congress party in Kwara State (i.e APC Loyal) formally applied to join our party, the SDP vide a letter to SDP
National Secretariat dated 9th March 2022 by a reply letter dated 11th March 2022.
“The national Secretariat of SDP acknowledged the APC Loyal letter and their intention to join the SDP in Kwara State with a promise to work on a harmonization arrangement on how their interests will be accommodated.
“While the original SDP members in Kwara State under my leadership were waiting for further directives from national secretariat, we were shocked to hear about a purported state congress of Kwara SDP held on 26th April 2022 which was stage
managed by the Kwara APC Loyal group in collaboration with some officials of SDP national secretariat.
“The sole aim of the kangaroo state congress election of SDP on 26th April 2022 was to hijack the party (SDP) from the original members of the party who had worked tirelessly to bring the party to its enviable position in Kwara State.
“The said congress was held in contravention to the SDP constitution. Also the original members of Kwara SDP were denied participation in the said congress contrary to relevant provision of the Electoral Act 2022.
I wish to inform this august gathering that we have protested the said purported state congress of Kwara SDP held on 26th April 2022 at the Kwara APC Loyal
Secretariat to the National Secretariat of the party.
“Also, we have instructed our team of lawyers who have since swung into action to challenge in court the legality of the purported state congress of the Kwara SDP held
on 26th April 2022,” Yahaya stated.