Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
No fewer than 50 persons, on Saturday, sustained serious injuries at the state congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, when political thugs invaded the venue of the congress held by a faction of the party.
The number of casualties were still counting as at time of filing this report.
The factional congress held at the BTO hall, along Ilesa road, had started peacefully before the supposed hired thugs invaded the venue brandishing various weapons including guns, cutlasses and axes, among others.
Leaders of the party including the member representing Ifedore/Idanre federal constituency, Hon. Bamidele Baderinwa and the Osun State Commissioner for Regional Integration, Hon. Bola Ilori, were beaten to pulp.
Also journalists, especially the correspondents of The Sun Newspaper and other media organisations at the venue of the congress, were severely beaten by the thugs who blocked all the entrances to the hall when they perpetrated their devilish act.
While Hon. Ilori narrowly escaped from the venue, some of his aides were not fortunate as they sustained machete cuts on their heads.
The thugs, who claimed to be acting on “authorities from above” were alleged to be members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).
The thugs, who came in seven buses to the venue of the congress, had gone straight to the hall where the delegates were seated threatening to kill people if they failed to co-operate with them, after which they beat the delegates and other innocent people despite the presence of heavy security operatives.
The factional congress, it was alleged, gained the blessing of the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, but this claim could not be authenticated as at time of filing this report.
However, the faction recognised by the national secretariat of the party also held its congress at the International Events Centre, Akure.
The state chairman of the party, Mr. Ade Adetimehin, who was the only contestant described the congress as ‘peaceful and authentic’.
He dissociated his faction from the violence that rocked the venue of the parallel congress.