From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
There was a standstill in many parts of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, on Tuesday as the 2023 governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Teslim Folarin, led a mega rally in the city to support the party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and his running mate, Kashim Shettima.
The rally, which kicked off at Oke-Ado state secretariat of the party and also ended at the same venue, took candidates on the party’s platform from the meeting point to Molete, Bode, Idi-Arere, Oja’ba, Mapo, Beere, Labiran Junction, Kannike, Agbadagbudu, Yemetu, Total Garden, Dandaru, Mokola Roundabouts, Adamasingba, Ekotedo, Dugbe, and Oke-Bola, before returning to the take-off point.
The turn out was large and the procession was long to the extent that while leaders of the protest were at Mapo, a lot of participants were still at Molete. The rally caused traffic snarl around all the routes the participants passed through
But at Labiran Junction, some thugs allegedly loyal to a major political party in the state reportedly attacked participants in the rally, especially those at the fear end. The attackers, as gathered, came in a light green sport utility vehicle (SUV) along with 10 other vehicles.
An undisclosed number of participants were said to have injured. Guns and cutlasses were reportedly used freely. The participants in the rally, according to sources, scampered for safety. Though no death has been reported, the injured persons have been taken to hospitals for treatment.
The APC gubernatorial candidate in the state, Folarin, who was optimistic that the party would win at the federal and state levels, however, described the attack on the members of the party as the height of lawlessness, brigandage and provocation, capable of heightening the tension in the state.
He said it was unbelievable that when Nigerians are celebrating emergence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu / Kashim Shettima as the flag bearer and running mate of the ruling party for the 2023 presidential election, some hoodlums were planning to disrupt the peaceful rally.
The third term senator in a statement issued immediately after the said attack stated that he was surprised that the thugs could attack members from behind when he knew the candidates were in the front.
“As peaceful and law-abiding citizens, we won’t take laws into our hands. To this end, I call on the law enforcement agencies to do the needful,” Folarin said.