By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
The political atmosphere in Ogun State is now getting tense following the removal of some giant billboards positioned in some strategic areas of the state by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) by agents of the state government.
The SDP, which now parades some prominent politicians in the state loyal to Chief Segun Osoba, former governor of the state, accused the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, of destroying their billboards and posters.
They were mounted at Pakoto area of Sango, Sagamu interchange and in Ijebu-Ode among other areas in the state.
Addressing newsmen Wednesday, at the location of the billboard at the Sagamu Interchange , Chairman of the SDP in the state, Chief Olu Agemo, and a Senator representing Ogun Central at the National Assembly, Senator Gbenga Obadara, condemned the action, saying it is politically motivated.
Western Post gathered that the Social Democratic Party just erected the giant billboards last weekend in Abeokuta and other parts of the state.
It was further gathered that, on Tuesday, officials of the state government suspected to be operatives of the Ogun State Signage and Advertising backed by heavily armed anti-riot policemen tore down the billboards along the Abeokuta-Lagos Expressway and the Sagamu Interchange along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
Chief Agemo said: “The billboards were mounted on Sunday. Which, we have paid the contractors to pay the Ogun State signage board and so, it’s surprising to find out that the billboards have been removed. This is unfortunate and we think seriously that it must have been politically motivated because at least there must be about seven days grace for whoever mounts such a thing to go and pay for signage. So, that is the thinking of the party”.
Also, Senator Obadara said the state governor and his agents had commenced acts of unleashing terror on the people of the state ahead of the 2015 election.
He said: “This is a provocative attack on our party, SDP by agents of Ogun governor which is un-called for.
“As good representatives of good people of the state, we’ll not in any way retaliate but we’ll not fold our hands to this unjust attitude and provocation of Ibikunle Amosun-led government.
“We do not expect the continuous tyrannical behaviour and unleash of terror on us in SDP and we shall protect ourselves through the legal means as provided by constitution of the country,” he added.
But in a swift reaction, the State Commissioner for Information and Strategies, Alhaji Yusuph Olaniyonu, said, “there’s an agency in charge of erection of billboards in the state, saying the question is were the billboards approved by the agency in charge?”.
Also defending the action, the General Manager of OGSAA, Akinlabi Bamidele, said the agency had only carried out its statutory function devoid of any politics by removing the SDP billboards.
He said the agency had since July this year informed the various outdoor advertising agencies that it would no longer allow the seven days of grace it used to give them to settle payment for billboards.
He said: “I’m sure you must have seen our people outside flushing even APC posters. So, we are not just biased.
“We went on routine monitoring and we discovered that they have mounted some posters and billboards. I have a revenue target. How can I sit here, it’s politics, people are putting billboards and they are not paying. I can’t justify it. This particular exercise we did, somebody came from Lagos today. He was affected. It’s not a political party. All we want to do is to make money for the state but can somebody advertise in the newspapers and not pay? If they have receipt or whatever that they have used to pay, they should tender it.
“My conscience is very clear. We have not victimised anybody. Our own concern is money. I will not be using people that are public servants to be carrying out political vendetta. It’s not possible.”
Members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, including Federal lawmakers loyal to former governor Segun Osoba, had recently defected to the SDP in the state.
Also, some members of the state House of Assembly on the platform of APC and Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) on Tuesday formally defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and SDP.