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Oyo crisis latest: Activists go underground, as

Posted by Akin Oyedele and Ademola Oni on 2006/01/22 | Views: 506 |

Oyo crisis latest: Activists go underground, as


Ahead of Mondayís mass rally by the Coalition for Democracy and the Rule of Law, labour leaders and pro-democracy activists in Oyo State have gun underground as security operatives have been hunting for them.

Ahead of Mondayís mass rally by the Coalition for Democracy and the Rule of Law, labour leaders and pro-democracy activists in Oyo State have gun underground as security operatives have been hunting for them.

Sources informed our correspondents that men of the State Security Service had in the past few days been on the trail of notable activists regarded as the arrowheads of the planned rally.

The rally is expected to witness the assembly of 17 industrial unions, which would be led by the Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka and the National President, Campaign for Democracy, Mr. Mashood Erubami.

Erubami was chosen at a meeting of the leaders of CODER in Lagos to lead the Monday onslaught in Ibadan, which is meant to drum support for the reinstatement of the impeached governor of Oyo State, Alhaji Rashidi Ladoja.

Public outcry, especially from the human rights community and the legal profession, had greeted the alleged unconstitutional manner Ladoja was sacked from office about a week ago.

Notable among these were the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Ibadan branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, the National Assembly, and prominent individuals and groups.

Sources close to Erubami said men of the SSS had been on the lookout for him since he addressed a news conference on Thursday to herald the rally.

It was gathered that it had been a cat and mouse game between the activist and security men who had made futile attempts to arrest him.

Several calls made to the mobile phone of Erubami on Saturday did not go through.

When contacted on the whereabouts of Erubami, a labour leader said, "He has gone underground. We donít want to take chances. They have been looking for him for some time. But, let me assure you that he will be out on Monday for the rally."

On his part, the Chairman of the NLC in the state, Mr. Alamu Oloyede, in a telephone interview, said the NLC would partake in the rally to register their solidarity with the coalition.

He said, "But we are awaiting directives from the national headquarters of the NLC. We donít want to preempt the directive of the national headquarters. I will not want to say anything now that will counter that. But I know we will be part of the rally."

Oloyede said the rally was necessitated by the compelling need to protect democracy and the rule of law, not minding the personalities involved.

It is not certain whether members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers would partake in the rally as directed by the CODER.

Attempts to get confirmation from the state chairman of NURTW, Alhjai Wasiu Abubakar on Saturday failed as several calls made to his mobile phone did not go through.

Last Monday, sources said Abubakar, whose members downed tools for one day, was the guest of the police at the state command, but details of his discussions with the Deputy Commissioner of Police at the Command, Mr. Jonathan Johnson, were not known.

However, by the following day, the commercial bus operators were back at work in full swing.

SUNDAY PUNCH, January 22, 2006

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