Not less than five persons sustained injuries yesterday following a clash between supporters of All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and those of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) flagbearer, Eyitayo Jegede, in Ondo State ahead of the October 10, 2020 governorship election.
Trouble started when the Akeredolu’s convoy met with that of Jegede at Oba Akoko in Akoko South West local government area of the state.
The fracas which was said to have crippled social and economic activities in the area for several hours resulted in accusations and counter accusations between the campaign organisations of the two candidates accusing each other of instigating the violence.
The PDP governorship candidate, Jegede, accused the APC thugs of causing the violence.
Addressing journalists at his campaign office in Akure, the state capital on the incidence, Jegede said he was attacked while on campaign tour in the Northern Senatorial district of the state.
The PDP standard bearer alleged that he was at the palace of Oloba of Oba-Akoko with members of PDP in his entourage when some armed thugs in the entourage of the governor shot at the vehicles of PDP parked in the town.
Jegede said when he called the governor and informed him about the incident the governor expressed shock.
The PDP candidate however urged the people of the state not to be intimidated, saying PDP was focused and that the will of the people would prevail.
But in a swift reaction to PDP’s statement, spokesman for Akeredolu/Aiyedatiwa Campaign Organisation, Olabode Richard, alleged that it was PDP thugs who attacked and set ablaze one of the vehicles in Akeredolu’s convoy.
He said, “The branded campaign vehicle donated to Akeredolu campaign by Ambassador Sola Iji has been set ablaze by the PDP hoodlums.
“The driver of the vehicle sustained bodily injury and now receiving treatment at a government.”
Stay Away From Polling Units, Police Warns Thugs In Edo
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Police Force has warned would-be miscreants and other political thugs who might be holding clandestine, nocturnal meetings to foment trouble with the motive of disrupting the Edo governorship election to desist from it.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), Adeleye Oyegbade, flanked by eight commissioners of Police and heads of other sister security agencies in the state, gave the warning in Benin yesterday during a press briefing in preparation for the governorship election slated for this Saturday.
He said the Force had carried out security threat analysis, stressing that all identified vulnerable points, entry and exit points have been mapped out for special security coverage.
The DIG said, “Adequate police officers comprising conventional, plain-clothed policemen and special forces have been deployed to provide robust security, during and after the election.
“We have carried out security threat analysis hence, all identified vulnerable points, entry and exit points have been mapped out for special security coverage, while the military is expected to perform the required complementary role of outer cordoning”.
Oyegbade, who appealed to party supporters and the general public to abstain from launching vitriolic attacks, caustic or hate speeches capable of flaming embers of discord, implored the media and National Orientation Agency to help sensitise the electorate.
The DIG disclosed that the Police is working in tandem with INEC and other stakeholders to ensure success of the governorship election.
He added that no fewer than three police officers and personnel of other security agencies will be deployed in each polling booth.
“For effective manning of polling booths, no fewer than three police officers and personnel of other security agencies will be deployed in each of the 2,627 polling booths,” he said.
Oyegbade who further disclosed that the Police Force had resolved to protect the democratic process by providing enabling and level playing ground for all players, noted that equal protection will be provided for all the electorate, party agents and candidates irrespective of party.
“We assure you that we will provide adequate security for INEC staff and electoral materials, both sensitive and non-sensitive. We will also provide equal protection for the electorate, party agents, candidates irrespective of their political party, the press, local and international observers and other stakeholders involved in the election,” the DIG stated.
Meanwhile, the arrest of about 17 APC supporters in Zamfara State yesterday triggered reactions and counter reactions from various political stakeholders.
The arrest caused supporters of the former governor of the state, Abdulaziz Yari, to converge at the state Police Command’s headquarters in Gusau in demonstration against the arrest of their members by the police.
The police had arrested the APC members at the residence of one of the party’s stalwart, Alhaji Abubakar Dantabawa and brought them to its command headquarters where they were detained.
The party’s supporters who were angry with the arrest of their political associates mobilised themselves to the command headquarters demanding the release of their members.
In a bid to disperse the crowd, police operatives released several teargas canisters at the protesting APC supporters who refused to leave the place.
When all efforts to send the protesters away failed, the police quickly discharged all the arrested APC members which ended the protest.
Speaking with journalists on the incident, the spokesperson of the Command, SP Mohammed Shehu, confirmed that the 17 APC supporters were arrested based on an intelligence report that they were having a meeting with some repentant bandits.
According to him, “the police got an intelligence report that the arrested APC supporters were in a meeting with repentant bandits in the house of one Alhaji Abubakar Dantabawa, trying to convince them to go back to banditry”.
But when contacted, the APC chairman, Alhaji Lawal M Liman, who spoke on phone, described the police intelligence report as baseless, saying it was an attempt to smear the good image of the party in the state.
“The police commissioner has on several occasions used his office to fight APC supporters in the state because he was being used by Zamfara State government”, Liman said.
He appealed to the IGP to investigate the matter without delay, accusing the police commissioner of acting out the directives of the PDP administration to humiliate APC supporters in the state.
But in a swift, reaction, the Sen Kabir Marafa-led APC faction distanced itself from the actions of the Yari-led faction, describing it as rascality.
A statement issued by the faction’s spokesperson, Bello Bakyasuwa noted majority of the APC supporters in the state have been supporting the peace initiative of the PDP-led administration and was not in any way supporting banditry.