Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Hoodlums suspected to be political thugs of opposition parties, on Friday evening, invaded and disrupted the campaign of the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), in Ogun State, Rotimi Paseda.
The fracas which lasted for about ten minutes saw party faithful and onlookers scampering for safety.
Crisis erupted when the SDP flag bearer was addressing the party faithful and supporters in Ijebu Ode. Some unidentified hoodlums at that time stormed the campaign venue shouting opposition slogans.
The situation became uncontrollable when the guards at the event prevented the thugs from taking over the dais, a development which led to sporadic shooting into the air by the thugs.
Items such as gas cookers, sewing machines, hair dryers, refrigerators and others, brought to the venue for empowerment were carted away by the thugs.
The incident, however, brought the campaign programme to an abrupt end, as security operatives whisked away the gubernatorial candidate and other VIPs at the event.
Reacting to the incident, the SDP governorship candidate declared that the attack was premeditated by an unnamed opposition candidate.
Paseda noted that he had never been attacked before the incident, saying that the latest development proved that he had become a threat with his growing popularity to opposition parties in the state.
He, however, commended the Nigeria Police attached to Ijebu Ode Division for responding swiftly and dispersing the thugs without anybody sustaining any injuries.
His words: “In my state, most especially my senatorial district, we have never been attacked before; we are very peaceful; I only associate with peace.
“I think we started the campaign very fine until we saw a set of people who were not our party members. We tried to manage and calm them down but they were shouting opposition slogans and the way they were doing that, I thought it was a coup because I’ve never seen anything like that before.
“We had permission to stage the campaign at that spot and the police, TRACE, vigilante and officers of the civil defence were on ground, but I thank God nobody died.
“I think we need to commend the police because they have really step up their game by bringing the situation under control; they ensured everybody’s safety.
“I will personally lodge a complaint to the Commissioner of Police on Monday to ensure tight security at our campaign ground and to ensure safety of our members and the electorate.”