The security agencies in Ondo State have reportedly sealed off the State Secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party in Akure, the state capital, on Monday.
The secretariat was surrounded by armed security personnel from the state police command and the Directorate of State Security, who parked their vehicles at the entrance of the building.
The staff of the party were unable to enter the secretariat to resume work, as they feared possible harassment by the security forces. According to sources, the police claimed that their deployment was to prevent a planned peaceful protest by the party youths, who demanded the whereabouts of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, who has been absent from the state since April 2023.
The protest was supposed to take place today, as the party had earlier accused the governor of abandoning his official duties and staying in his personal residence in Ibadan, Oyo State. The party had also called on the state House of Assembly to invoke the doctrine of necessity and mandate the deputy governor to act as the governor in the interest of the state.
The secretariat was cordoned off with barricades of no fewer than 13 patrol vans and one armoured personnel carrier with stern-looking security operatives mounting the entrance of the secretariat.
The youth wing of the party had vowed to protest the prolonged absence of the governor from the state.
According to the youths who were prevented from accessing the secretariat, there has been a vacuum of leadership in the state without anyone seen piloting its affairs
Guardian reported that according to one of the leaders of the youth wing of the party, Tayo Oluyi, the protest was aimed at drawing attention to what they perceived as the governor’s negligence and the resultant negative impact on the state.
Meanwhile, the forceful intervention by the security agencies has sparked outrage among residents of the city, who claim that democratic rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression have been violated.
However, the party alleged Akeredolu and the ruling All Progressives Congress of orchestrating the security forces’ intervention to suppress dissent and prevent their members from airing their grievances.