Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State have engaged each other in a war of words over attacks on the campaign teams of the two parties.
Our correspondent gathered that barely 48 hours after the convoy of the PDP governorship candidate, Seyi Makinde, was attacked in Ojoo area of Ibadan, another attack was recorded in Igboora on Ibarapa axis of the state on Saturday evening during a rally organised by APC.
As gathered, one person was injured and a vehicle was damaged when the PDP campaign team was attacked in Ojoo by armed thugs that were said to have laid ambush for Makinde and his team on their way back from Oyo town, where they had gone for electioneering.
But in the attack at the APC rally in Igboora, one person, simply identified as a motorcycle mechanic, was said to have lost his life as many other people reportedly sustained varying degrees of injuries. The attack was said to have been carried out at about 5:30pm shortly after the APC governorship candidate, Adebayo Adelabu, addressed the crowd. His address followed the speech presented by the state governor, Abiola Ajimobi.
The Police Public Relations Officer for the state, Adekunle Ajisebutu, said he was yet to receive details of the incident, hence he could not comment on it. He promised to give details later.
In his swift response, the APC spokesperson in the state, Dr. Abdul-Azeez Olatunde, accused the PDP of masterminding the attack, alleging that it was a calculated attempt to kill Adelabu, who, according to him, narrowly escaped the attack.
He explained that the “untoward event occurred barely after the APC guber hopeful, Oloye Bayo Adelabu, finished addressing a capacity crowd of supporters who were apparently upbeat to receive the candidate and his campaign train in the sleepy town.
“Shortly after the address by the duo of the Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and the party governorship candidate, Oloye Bayo Adelabu, some stern-looking PDP hatchet men were poised to attack the gubernatorial candidate of APC, Bayo Adelabu, wielding dangerous weapons as they advanced to his direction to unleash attack on him.”
Olatunde said but for the security operatives at the rally that hurriedly whisked Adelabu away to the nearest vehicle for protection, he would have been attacked.
But the Director of Media and Publicity for Oluseyi Makinde Campaign Organisation, Prince Dotun Oyelade, in a chat, dismissed the allegation that PDP was the mastermind of the Igboora attack, saying: “It’s nauseating propaganda and unfair on those whose blood have been spilled.”
Oyelade, also in a statement he issued earlier, appealed to the Commissioner of Police and State Director, Department of State Security (DSS) to summon an emergency peace meeting that should be attended by the leadership of various political parties with a view to dousing the perceived political violence in the state. He said Makinde had given his words that he would attend such peace meeting gladly because he wanted a peaceful poll and did not want bloodletting in the name of seeking political office.
He averred that security commanders “must take his advice seriously because thugs of the government party, the APC, are getting bolder, more desperate and audacious with each passing day, having realised that electoral defeat is imminent.”
The statement also alleged that Governor Ajimobi, who should be the Chief Security Officer, and the government, had become partisan in support of APC and had purportedly abandoned their roles.
Oyelade made reference to the ‘unprovoked attack’ on PDP team at Ojoo three days ago, as well as other attacks on the opposition, saying: “What is more worrisome is the threat of attacks on harmless supporters who are not necessarily card-carrying members of our party but who simply want change and better governance.”