…Makinde suspends campaign

From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan

Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, boiled on Friday as a result of protests staged in different parts of the city, over scarcity of newly redesigned naira notes, and difficult situations people have been passing through to make a living. The protests were staged by bank customers that reportedly went to banks on Friday to make withdrawals, but could not do so because of paucity of the new legal tender.

The areas in Ibadan, where the protests took place included Monatan, Iwo Road, Idi-Ape, Agodi-Gate, Queen Cinema, Ekotedo, Adamasingba, Dugbe, and Apata.

Bonfires were sighted at Iwo Road, Queen Cinema in Ekotedo area and Adamasingba.  However, the protests caused panic in Ibadan, as parents rushed to pick their children and wards in schools over fear of the unknown and how the protests would end. It was observed that the majority of motorists, tricyclists, and motorcyclists put leaves on their vehicles to show solidarity with the protests, in order to escape being attacked.

It was gathered that some commercial banks at Agodi and Iwo Road were pelted with stones by some of the protesters. The umbrella hung in front of an office of a telecommunications company at Agodi was removed by some of the protesters.

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The protests led to traffic snarls in different parts of Ibadan, and some shop owners locked up their shops early to avoid being attacked by the angry protesters. They mounted a big barricade at the popular Iwo Road Interchange, which prevented vehicular movement for some hours.

But security agencies, including the police and Amotekun Corps, were seen in strategic locations, trying to prevent total breakdown of law and order. At Queen Cinema in the Ekotedo area, some operatives of the Amotekun Corps were seen in the midst of protesters, calming them down not to destroy property.

The protesters also gained entry into the Oyo State Government Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, and were reported to have destroyed some government property. The appearance of the protesters caused commotion inside the secretariat, as many workers ran helter skelter for safety. 

An impeccable source said one of the security agents that stood their grounds from gaining access to the Governor’s Office was seriously injured. Meanwhile Governor Seyi Makinde, who is seeking re-election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for a second term in office during this year’s general elections, has suspended the ongoing campaign to local governments of the state until further notice.

He made the announcement shortly after flagging off the 10 kilometres Omi Adio-Ido Road in Ido Local Government, in Ibadan on Friday.

According to Makinde, “I appreciate all the leaders and stakeholders, who are ready for the campaign activities for today and I thank you for coming to meet us here today. But unfortunately, I will have no choice than to suspend our campaign. So, after this flag-off, I will return home, because there are protests in town and there is a lot of hardship with this issue of the scarcity of the new Naira notes. A lot of our people have money in banks but they are not able to get their money. Some of us campaigning are not able to access funds, maybe they do not want us to campaign.”