Crisis has hit the newly reconstituted Social Democratic Party in Kwara state as hoodlums suspected to be political thugs unleashed violence on members of a faction of the party on Wednesday.
Weekend Politics gathered that thugs numbering about 20 invaded the secretariat of the Nigeria Labour Congress, also known as Labour House, located beside the State High Court Complex where members of a faction of SDP were holding a press conference.
The press briefing, it was gathered, was not unconnected with the suspension of eight members of the party which was announced on Tuesday by the new SDP executive in the state.
A statement signed by the acting public relations officer of SDP, Mr. Kareem Akanbi, announced the suspension of the affected members who he alleged were involved in anti-party activities by writing a petition to the national secretariat of the SDP over the composition of the new Kwara State executive of the party.
Those suspended from the party included: Mr. Ibrahim Mabolaje, Mrs. Iyabo Eiyebiokin, Mr. Sulyman Danialu and Mr. AbdulGaniyu Jase; while others were Adelowo Julius, AdamuMuhammed, Bello Oluwole and Bolaji Amogun.
According to the publicity secretary, the suspended members who had acted as pioneer executive members of the SDP before the election of new and substantive executive still laid claims to the leadership of the party in the state.
“Instead of aligning with the newly elected state executive council of the party, the suspended members have been working against the constitution of the party,” he said.
Akanbi explained that the decision to suspend the affected members from the party was taken after their refusal to respond to a query.
However, political thugs forced their way into the NLC Secretariat where the aggrieved members were trying to state their own side of the matter, disrupted 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, his cloth torn, his cap seized and was dragged on bare floor by the thugs.
The invading thugs kept shouting at the man, “Baba Ifelodun, why did you take money from AA to disrupt our party?”
The thugs also beat and drove away an elderly man who was walking with the aid of a walking stick, among others.
But before the disruption of the press conference at the LabourHouse, the factional chairman of the SDP, Mabolaje Yahaya, had said that some former members of the All Progressives Congress who recently joined the party, planned to hijack it from the pioneer executive of the party.
Yahaya said, “It is no longer news that a faction of the All Progressives Congress in Kwara State (i.e APC Loyal) formally applied to join our party, the SDP sent 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 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.”