Posted by News Express | 17 January 2014 | 4,509 times
The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ogun State took a dangerous turn yesterday, when some hoodlums unleashed terror on the supporters of Senator Gbenga Obadara, representing Ogun Central senatorial district and a member of the House of Representatives, representing Ifo/Ewekoro constituency, Kunle Adeyemi.
During the pandemonium which broke out in Wasimi, Ewekoro Local Government Area of the state at 1:38 pm, nine members of the party were shot, including a police orderly, Sergeant Sunday Akinbode, by political thugs believed to be loyal to a faction of the party while several others sustained injuries.
Apart from Obadara and Adeyemi, other chieftains of the party that escaped death during the incident were Senator Akin Odunsi, representing Ogun West and members of the House of Representatives, including Olumide Osoba (Obafemi/Owode), Segun Williams (Abeokuta South), Ibrahim Ogunola (Sagamu) and Remi Bakare, a former governorship aspirant under the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN.
Also caught in the melee marked by sporadic gunshots were journalists, including Sheriff Balogun (Thisday), Dauda Olatunji (Vanguard), Dimeji Kayode Adedeji (Premium Times) and Segun Olatunji (Punch) and Secretary of the Ogun State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Mr. Soji Amosu.
The heavily armed hoodlums, who wielded guns and other dangerous weapons, had invaded the Wasimi venue of a senatorial meeting convened by Obadara to sensitise the people of the area about the forthcoming membership registration of the APC and took over the place before the Senator and his supporters arrived.
On their arrival, the suspected hoodlums warned the Senator and others not to go near the venue but attempt to dare them led to the firing of gunshots at them and in the process, Obadara’s police orderly and other eight members of the party were hit as they attempted to shield their principal.
Some of the supporters took to their heels while the Senator’s driver sped off without his boss but later came back to pick him from where he was taking cover.
The victims were immediately rushed to the Mercy Group Clinics, Panseke, Abeokuta and other nearby health centres in Wasimi for medical attention.
Addressing newsmen at the hospital, Senator Obadara alleged that Governor Amosun was responsible for the attack on him, saying: “His supporters wanted to kill me.”
Obadara said: “I wanted to have a senatorial meeting to sensitise our members on the coming registration exercise at the centre I built for the community in Wasimi. We applied for the use of the venue and the copies of the letters are with me.
“But when I got to there, a top council official said he wanted to use the place and I left for another place and the thugs still came to attack us.
“The council boss said it was the order from above to make sure he deals with me and he pointed a gun at me, saying he will kill me.
“If not for God’s grace, I would have been a dead man for now. My orderly was shot, so were several others, including journalists.”
A member of the House of Representatives, Adekunle Adeyemi, who also escaped death, accused the police in the state of complicity.
According to Adeyemi; “We were to have senatorial meeting with Senator Obadara. When I discovered that there were thugs sent after us and they started shooting, I managed to escape. They came with guns and cutlasses.”
Meanwhile, Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State has denied his alleged involvement in the disruption of a meeting organised by Obadara.
Amosun, according to a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Olusola Balogun, condemned all acts of violence against any citizen of Ogun State.
He, however, regretted the attempt to link him or any member of his government with such dastardly act in order to score political points.
He said: “The news of the alleged attack was shocking to me. All the leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as well as chairmen of our local councils were in Lagos to celebrate Baba Bisi Akande. It is even more curious that some chieftains of our party would choose a time to honour our revered leader for another meeting. The motive is certainly questionable.”
Amosun added that the party leader in the state, Chief Olusegun Osoba, was at the event with him and wondered what the intention of the National Assembly members that convened the said political meeting was.
He said: “The alleged thuggery has all the trappings of a stage-managed event, with the aim of attempting to take over the machinery of our great party through subterfuge. But we will not be taken in by such blackmail.”
Amosun maintained that the unity of Ogun APC remained inviolable and everything within the ambit of the law would be done to consolidate the gains of the past and take Ogun State to enviable heights.
He commiserated with innocent victims of the alleged violence, including journalists and called on the police to bring the perpetrators to book and sustain the atmosphere of peace in the state.
In its reaction, the Ogun State Police Command yesterday, said at least five policemen, including the Divisional Police Officer of Ewekoro and orderly of the Area Commander, Ota, were reportedly wounded during the violence.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr. Muyiwa Adejobi, who spoke in a telephone interview, denied that police took sides in the incident.
Adejobi said: “This morning, the police were informed that there will be a programme in Wasimi, Ewekoro and the Area Commander, Ota, Titi Kayode, went there with some policemen, including some DPOs.
“We discovered that the group of Senator Obadara wanted to have a meeting there. But some youths vowed not to allow him. The Police persuaded the youths.
“When the atmosphere was not conducive, the Police suggested that the programme be postponed. Later, the Obadara group went to another place and it was there the violence began. Police dispersed the rival groups with tear-gas. While the two groups were fighting, somebody released shots.
“Five policemen and a civilian were injured. The DPO, Ewekoro was injured, the orderly to Area Commander, Ota was also injured. It was an ugly incident. The Police later restored normalcy.
“Immediately, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ikemefuna Okoye, sent two deputy commissioners of police to the place.
“We are going to transfer the case to the State CID. Nobody should accuse the police wrongly or link us with the violence. Our men were also injured.
“Since firearms were used, it is a case that cannot be swept under the carpet.”
•Excerpted from a Vanguard report. Photo shows one of the victims being attended to in the hospital.
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