Violence erupted yesterday in Abeokuta, Ogun State, as rival supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Allied Peoples Movement (APM) clashed, leaving no fewer than 10 people injured and several vehicles vandalised. Guns, machetes, stones and other dangerous weapons were freely used by suspected political thugs during the incident.
It was learnt that the clash was fierce at Elega junction, Mokola, Ago Ika and Sokori areas of Abeokuta. Supporters of the APC governorship candidate, Prince Dapo Abiodun, and the APM standard bearer, Hon. Adekunle Akinlade, traded blames over the incident. Witnesses, however, said the clashes occurred when the APC campaign train ran into the entourage of a House of Representatives member and candidate for Abeokuta North/Obafemi- Owode/Odeda Federal Constituency, Hon. Mikky Kazzim. Supporters of the two parties were initially said to have engaged in verbal war but it later degenerated into physical assault. In the ensuing melee, some hoodlums allegedly shot sporadically, leaving many party stalwarts to run for dear lives.
While some party members sustained injuries in the process and were subsequently rushed to hospitals for medical attention, several vehicles and property were also damaged and vandalised. As at the time of filing this report, a combined team of operatives of Quick Response Squad (QRS), Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID) were deployed to the scenes of the attack.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Abimbola Oyeyemi, could not be immediately reached for comments on the incident. But a former Minister of Mines and Steel Development and Director-General of APM Campaign Council, Alhaji Sarafa Isola, confirmed the incident, saying his party supporters who were having a meeting at Ward 5 in Mokola area were attacked. Isola urged the people to remain calm and resist temptation to be violent ahead of the general elections. But reacting, the Publicity Secretary of Ogun APC Caretaker Committee, Tunde Oladunjoye, said the party’s governorship candidate, Dapo Abiodun, actually survived an assassination attempt. Oladunjoye alleged that the attack was orchestrated by a serving House of Representatives member being supported by Governor Ibikunle Amosun. In a statement made available to journalists in Abeokuta, the party spokesman called on President Muhammadu Buhari to wade into the situation by calling the governor to order.
He said: “Earlier this morning, we gathered intelligence report that, due to the growing popularity of Prince Dapo Abiodun in Ogun State, especially the way he was received by an unprecedented crowd of people yesterday during his ward-to-ward tour of Abeokuta North Local Government, a meeting was hurriedly called last night, during which it was decided that the APC governorship candidate should be assassinated via stray bullet.
“It was also decided at the said meeting that seven elected local government chairmen and many of their councillors labelled as being loyal to the APC and supporting Prince Dapo Abiodun, should be sacked today via an announcement on government-owned state television and radio stations, OGTV and OGBC respectively. “It would be recalled that, our party had some weeks back, raised the alarm about the plan to increase smear campaign against Prince Dapo Abiodun and also attack his campaign convoy.”