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Friday, 01 March 2024 15:40

Ondo guber: APC aspirants decry political violence ahead of party primary

There is tension within the camp of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo state as governorship aspirants in the party traded words over political violence in the state ahead of the party primary slated for next month, April.

This is just as President Bola Tinubu’s visit to the state was turned into a theatre of violence, attacking each other supporters, destroying and billboards by some hoodlums suspected to be political thugs.

While speaking on behalf of the aspirants, a former Finance Commissioner in the state, Wale Akinterinwa, who described the attack as barbaric, alleged that the attacks on his supporters were sponsored by those in government.

In a statement issued by Akinterinwa’s spokesperson, Segun Ajiboye, in Akure, said that “The thugs, who brazenly fired gunshots into the air to cause confusion, went on a destruction spree as they attacked property, while billboards of other gubernatorial aspirants were defaced, pull down or out rightly destroyed.

“Party members perceived to be loyal to all gubernatorial aspirants save for Governor Lucky Ayedatiwa, sustained varied and diverse degree injuries resulting from the attacks unleashed on them. T-Shirts, faze caps and other insignia wore by members of the targeted aspirants were torn to shreds.

“The thugs who carried out the orchestrated attacks were armed with all sorts of dangerous weapons. It is sad to note that many of our supporters with deep cuts are in the hospitals receiving treatments at the moment.

”It is, however, surprising that no aspirant other than the governor was spared of the attacks. Let me state here that the need for this press statement is not borne out of fear or inability to protect our supporters.

“We have the capacity to give adequate protection to all our members who have remained peaceful in the face of this dastardly attack.

Ajiboye said that, “We are also not unaware of the overriding need to save our dear state from an ugly reenactment of the dark days by those who harbor vaulting and mechanical ambition.

“At this juncture as members of the Wale Akinterinwa Campaign Organisation, we would also love to state that as responsible leaders and members of our party with genuine intentions to serve our dear people, we are unable and will not accept the imposition on the party members a regime of panic and fear in other to supplant popular participation in a democratic process aimed at emplacing accountable and responsive leadership.

“We, therefore, call on Mr President and the national chairman of the APC to prevail on Mr Governor to halt the use of thugs to advance his political interest. The field is wide enough for everyone to operate.

“Also, we urge all security agencies to not only to be on red alert against future occurrence but also ensure that those who carried out these dastardly attacks are apprehended and brought to books to serve as deterrent to others who may be emboldened by this barbaric act.

However, following the allegations of attacks and violence, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Prince Ebenezer Adeniyan, disclosed that Governor Lucky Ayedatiwa has ordered investigation and arrest of those behind the attacks.

According to Adeniyan, the governor who frowned over the destruction of campaign billboards by the hoodlums said his administration will not tolerate any form of violence that is capable of threatening the peace in the state.

The governor however, ordered law enforcement agencies in the state to fish out, arrest and prosecute those behind the destruction of billboard and engaged in violent activities

Condemning the destruction of the billboards and the attacks on political rivals during Tinubu’s visit to the state, the CPS in the statement said: “The attention of Ondo State Governor, Hon. Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa, has been drawn to reports of alleged attacks on some persons and destruction of campaign materials in the wake of the visit of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to the State on Wednesday.

“The Governor says his administration will not tolerate any form of violence that is capable of threatening the peace and tranquility of the state.

“As the Governor has said repeatedly, any political campaign that disturbs the peace in the State is unacceptable and must be met with the decisive actions of law enforcement agencies.

“It is pertinent to make it clear that nobody associated with the Governor or the government of Ondo State was involved in any of the reported activities ascribed to “political thugs” during the President’s visit to Owo and Akure.”

He added, “The Governor has therefore asked law enforcement agencies in the State to arrest and prosecute anyone found to be engaged in such violent activities.

“The Governor urges politicians and their followers to ensure that their campaigns are issue based, devoid of blackmail, spreading falsehood, inciting the public and intimidating opponents.”

But the aspirants maintained that the alleged attacks were orchestrated and carried out by some hired political thugs as well as members of the NURTW.

They noted that property, especially campaign billboards were allegedly pulled down and destroyed, while party members perceived to be loyal to the aspiration of other aspirants were attacked and sustained various degrees of injury.

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