Houses vandalised, scores injured
Jegede, gov’s supporters clash
Tension heightened yesterday in Ondo State following an attack on the convoy of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu by political thugs alleged to be loyalists of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Eyitayo Jegede. The campaign train of the governor was attacked at Oba-Akoko in Akoko South West Local Government Area while on its way to Ikare-Akoko, headquarters of Akoko North East Local Government Area. However, the PDP said it was All Progressives Congress (APC) supporters who were in the convoy of Akeredolu who attacked the campaign train of Jegede when both convoys met at Oba-Akoko.
The spokesperson for Akeredolu/Aiyedatiwa Campaign Organisation, Olabode Richard Olatunde, described the attack as despicable. Olatunde said the attack led to the burning of one of the campaign vehicles in the convoy of the governor. According to him, the driver of the vehicle sustained serious injuries.
He said: “The Governor, Arakunrin Akeredolu, and the campaign train of the APC, were on their way to Ikare-Akoko, in continuation of the local government rally, when the thugs struck and attacked the convoy. “In their crass display of madness and thuggery, the hoodlums set ablaze the branded campaign vehicle donated to the Akeredolu/Aiyedatiwa Campaign Organisation by Ambassador Sola Iji. “The driver of the vehicle sustained injury and he is now receiving treatment at a government hospital.
“While we are shocked and saddened by this attack, we are not too surprised, because the PDP has shown that it is not focusing on issues in its campaign for the election. They will rather deploy violence and falsehood to score cheap political points. “We say this is despicable and we view it as a sign of desperation by opposition parties in the state, who can’t stand the popularity of the APC, as they have seen the handwriting of their imminent defeat in the coming election on the wall.” Meanwhile, 10 campaign vehicles in the convoy of Jegede were said to have been vandalised in the attack. It was learnt that Jegede was at the palace of Oloba of Oba, Oba Nathaniel Adegoroye, where he had gone to pay homage as part of his campaign visits to the town when the attackers allegedly struck.
The PDP Publicity Secretary, Kennedy Peretei, said the attackers, who were hooded, stormed the location after alighting from the convoy of the governor. Peretei alleged that neither Akeredolu nor the police operatives in the governor’s convoy did anything to stop the attackers. He said: “Everybody was taken by surprise. Aketi people were passing before they stopped abruptly, and before you say Jack, these masked men rushed down and started breaking Jegede’s vehicles.” The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Tee-Leo Ikoro, said mobile policemen had been drafted to the area on the orders of the Commissioner of Police, Bolaji Salami. Similarly, some houses were vandalised while many people were injured during a clash between the supporters of the APC and PDP yesterday morning at Ayede Ogbese in Akure North Local Government Area.
The cause of the clash was not known at press time but it was learnt that the fight was not unconnected with the October 10 governorship election in the state. A traditional ruler in the town, High Chief Oladimeji Abitogun, who confirmed the incident, said the two parties had been invited to the palace of the town to sign a peace pact. Meanwhile, Jegede has accused APC of attempt on his life. The PDP candidate, who briefed journalists at his campaign office in Akure, alleged that the gunshots fired at his supporters at Oba-Akoko were from the convoy of Governor Akeredolu. He said APC should be held responsible if anything happened to him or any of his supporters Jegede urged his loyalists to defend themselves in the face of any intimidation.
He said: “It was a clear case of attempted assassination on my life. I never believed that we will ever come this low. If anything happens to me or anybody in this state, you know who is responsible. I’m not desperate to govern the state. “I have met with the Commissioner of Police to formally report the incident to him as well as the DSS (Department of State Services). “When we were at Oloba, we suddenly heard gunshots. The shots were fired from the convoy of the governor. Fifteen vehicles were destroyed with many of my supporters injured.
“The thugs were armed with AK47 and pump action aiming at the people. They shot sporadically all through the incident.” Also, PDP said the attack on the campaign team of Jegede was an indication that Akeredolu was jittery and afraid. Its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said in a statement that the attack was an attempt to scuttle the election. He said: “It is indeed unfortunate that Governor Akeredolu will opt to tread this path. “Evidently, Governor Akeredolu and his party are intimidated by Eyitayo Jegede’s soaring rating as well as the warm reception he has been receiving from leaders and groups across the state and had to attack him in Oba Akoko, where he was received by the highly revered Oloba of Oba, Oba Nathaniel Adegoroye. “We know that Governor Akeredolu’s uneasiness over our candidate had heightened following the overwhelming crowd of Ondo people who graced our campaign flag-off last Saturday to establish their unbending solidarity for Eyitayo Jegede. “Of course, our candidate has become the rallying point of the people in their quest to rescue their state from the misrule of Governor Akeredolu.”