There is disquiet among residents of Ajilosun Road in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, over the location of the new state secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). is being constructed at have raised concern over the suitability of the location.
The residents, who expressed concern about the location, contended that the party secretariat currently under construction argued that such project was only suitable for a non-residential area or at the outskirts of the city.
Earth-moving equipment and construction workers have since been mobilised to the site located near Christ the King Catholic Church, St. Joseph’s Catholic Nursery and Primary School and Ekiti Catholic Bishop’s Court, adjacent the Agric Olope junction.
The foundation stone was laid when Governor Ayodele Fayose, led other six PDP governors to perform the groundbreaking when they came to witness the inauguration of projects being executed by Fayose since the administration came on board.
The PDP is presently occupying a rented building in downtown Ajilosun, which had witnessed attacks by party interest groups and was also set ablaze in the heat of a protracted leadership crisis last year.
The owner of the building, who is a former state chairman of the party, Ropo Adesanya, has dragged the party to court over unpaid rent. Adesanya had since defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The other faction opposed to the governor operates from another secretariat a few meters away from Adesanya’s building presently occupied by the state PDP.
Some parishioners of Christ the King Catholic Church, who spoke on condition of anonymity, criticized the choice of the site for the building of a party secretariat which they maintained was “unsuitable, uncalled for and inconvenient for a place of worship.”
Church members who spoke on condition of anonymity after an evening mass expressed fear that clashes and violence being witnessed at the PDP national secretariat in Abuja could also happen at the new state secretariat being constructed in the future.
One of the respondents, who simply gave his first name as Francis said: “We have all been edgy and apprehensive since this place was chosen as the site for the construction of a new PDP secretariat in Ekiti State. It all started as a rumour but it was no longer a hearsay when Fayose and other PDP governors came here to lay the foundation stone.
“Having a secretariat of a political party directly beside a church is unacceptable, having a party secretariat close to a school is not good. Locating a party secretariat near the residence of a bishop is not good and this is regrettable.”
Another church member, who pleaded anonymity, said: “We are not against any party for that matter but you know what politicians can do, there can be violence at anytime. Party members can take up arms against one another over any issue and imagine that it happens on a Sunday whenever we are having our mass.
“Such violence can take place on a Saturday when there are ceremonies like weddings, funerals and other social functions. Pupils of St. Joseph’s may be going home or coming to the school and having them caught up in violence by party members is unimaginable.
“There is no way the Catholic Bishop will be coming from or going out of his official residence without passing by the party secretariat and imagine a situation where party members are having crisis as it happened a few days ago at PDP national headquarters in Abuja.”
But the PDP state publicity secretary, Jackson Adebayo, allayed the fears of the residents of the area and Catholic Church members, promising that the party would be a “good neighbour” when the project is completed.
Adebayo said: “Every land in Nigeria belongs to the government and whoever the government gives the land to becomes the owner. Government in its words has given this land to the PDP in Ekiti State and we are peaceful party and we have never been involved in any form of violence.
“We had coexisted with our neighbours in all places where we have our party secretariats in all parts of the state since 1998 when the party was formed and nobody has suffered any form of attack, embarrassment and molestation.
“We are a political party and not a religious organisation, we can only assure the residents of the area and the Catholic Church that we are going to be peaceful in the conduct of our activities.
“As spiritual leaders, the Catholic Church should pray for us and they should not be expecting crisis in our party. The Church should be tolerant and we will be a good neighbour to them.
“The PDP national secretariat referred to is surrounded by banks, Civil Defence office schools, hotels and other public buildings and nobody has heard that the crisis in the party has affected them.”