Eleweomo, Oyo NURTW factional boss killed

The remains of Alhaji Abdul Lateef Salako, also known as Eleweomo, after he was killed, on Thursday. Inset: His corpse being taken away.

The Oyo State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) congress elections ordered by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) turned bloody yesterday, with the killing of the factional leader of the state chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Alhaji Lateef Salako (a.k.a Eleweomo).

Salako, said to be one of the party delegates from Ona-Ara Local Government area was shot dead during a fracas which erupted at the I.D.C Primary School, Ogbere-Olunloyo, on the outskirts of Ibadan venue of the local government congress expected to produce representatives to the state congress billed for today.

Salako who has been engaging Alhaji Lateef Akinsola (a.k.a Tokyo) in a running battle over the leadership of the NURTW died two days to his 58th birthday and house warming already slated for tomorrow.
Daily Sun learnt that policemen from Ogbere Police Station and some others deployed in the area recovered Salako’s corpse and deposited it at the Adeoyo General Hospital mortuary in the state capital.

Four vehicles were burnt, while another 10, including a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) said to officially belong to the Interim Chairman of the council, Mr. Tunde Olayiwola, were damaged while the rage lasted.
News of Salako’s death sparked off widespread violence between his followers and members of the rival group led by the state Chairman of the union, Alhaji Lateef Akinsola (a.k.a. Tokyo) at motor parks across Ibadan municipality. In Iwo Road and Olomi area, where the union has its secretariat, pandemonium broke out as the drivers clashed, using charms and dangerous weapons such as matchete, daggers, guns and cudgels.
By press time, however, police had moved in with Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) to restore normalcy to the two volatile spots.

Eye witnesses told Daily Sun that trouble started, when the convoy of the Senate Leader, Senator Teslim Folarin, who hails from the local government area was attacked by suspected political touts and thugs led by the late transporters union boss. The late Eleweomo was allegedly hit by bullets from the Senate Leader’s security aides, while trying to repel an attack on the lawmaker. But, Folarin, in a reaction made available to journalists said he was the main target of the hoodlums and could not be held responsible for the death of the unionist.

Before Folarin arrived at the scene, there had been a face-off between his supporters and loyalists of Governor Adebayo Alao Akala with the two groups singing abusive songs against their principals. The situation, however, degenerated as they hurled stones and other missiles at one another, leading to a forceful retreat of the Folarin group. Salako, sources said, was the arrowhead of the Alao Akala group.
Immediately after the group left, the congress was hurriedly conducted and the result announced to the glee of party leaders in the area loyal to the governor, including the interim chairman of the council, Olayiwola and a permanent member of the State Universal Basic Education Board [OYOSUBEB], Stella Sobowale, who described it as peaceful and the Folarin group as dissidents.

The Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] official, Toyin Oyedele, who observed the process also certified it as free and fair. Unknown to the celebrating party members, the dispersed Folarin’s supporters had gone to re-group. They allegedly stormed the venue of the congress in company with the Senate Leader and his official entourage. This led to a bloody conflict in which Salako was reportedly shot by a security detail who was trying to defend the Senate Leader.

In the ensuing melee, vehicles including two said to belong to the immediate past chairman of the local governmement, Oke Akeem Taiwo, now an aspirant to the House of Representatives of the Egbeda/Ona-Ara Federal constituency were torched. A party member, Yetunde Olayiwola, who lost her car in the mayhem condemned Folarin, accusing him of leading the hoodlums, who burnt her vehicle and those of others.

She described the incident as appalling, saying that the future of democracy ‘’is at risk in this country. If a whole Senate Leader would descend so low as to be leading hoodlums to attack his own immediate constituency the way he did, what message are we sending to the younger generations’’. However, the Senate Leader, in a reaction, maintained that the attack on him and his supporters was premeditated. He said he had been reliably informed of a plot hatched to assassinate him during the ongoing congresses in the state.

His words: “On Wednesday, at the commencement of the ward congress, I learnt Eleweomo and his people in about 20 buses had stormed my ward 5, Idi Ose area of the local government. They were armed with guns, and on getting there, I enquired from supporters what the business of Eleweomo was. Shortly after, he (Eleweomo) went and stayed in one of the classrooms of the school with heavy smoke of marijuana coming from their end. But we were not perturbed.

“You journalists would recall that on the fateful Wednesday afternoon, I told you at Senator Lekan Balogun’s house what we saw in the hands of Eleweomo and his people, but you never reported it. I wondered why you did not carry it in your papers. Today again, he (Eleweomo) and his people in multifold of the Wednesday’s number had besieged the local government brandishing dangerous weapons, arms and ammunition. And immediately, I recalled privileged information from an Ibadan-based prominent supporter of Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala’s camp of the party that I should tread softly during these congresses because a plan had been hatched to assassinate me. Then, this made me to call the Commissioner of Police, Baba Adisa Bolanta, to alert him to the presence of Eleweomo and his gun-totting hoodlums, who invaded the lawful assemblage of PDP congress.

“Noticing that the atmosphere was becoming more charged as Eleweomo and his team were surging towards where we were having the congress, I put a call again to the Commissioner of Police to inform him of the plans to disrupt the congress by the NURTW factional leader, but he replied that what he (CP) got from that end was contrary to what I told him. And this made me to call the Director of State Security Services (SSS), who then assured me that he would talk to the CP on the matter. Notwithstanding, I still made another call to the CP on the need to arrest the situation, but his Orderly picked my call and told me that the CP was not on seat.

“Ordinarily, because of the threat message I got two days earlier, I should not have gone to my constituency to partake in the ongoing exercise, but as a politician, at times you have to brave some odds, knowing full well that I had no sinister intention against anybody, why would anybody be after my life? So, I went there yesterday and today and alerted the CP more than five times of the happenings in my constituency. And as a peace lover, shortly after our congress, I left there with my people and on my way home, I got information that Eleweomo and his men clashed with some members of the outlawed Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) at the area.

Even my convoy was severally attacked on my way home and this resulted in the death of two of my supporters while I also learnt that two others had their arms chopped off. If I had wanted to attack Eleweomo and his people, I would have done so since Wednesday because I have my orderly and security aides in my convoy. But I never did so and I now wonder why anybody would now link the death of Eleweomo to me and my aides”.

The Senate Leader also added that the Caretaker Committee Chairman for the council, Alhaji Taofeek Olayiwola gave Elweomo and his people, undue backing, and at a stage, “I wondered whether they wanted to jointly appoint delegates for Alao-Akala.”

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