…We will look into the incident, APC
…NewsDirect Publisher, Ibiyemi attacked
…PDP mocks APC, Buhari
By Ayo Fadimu, Bankole Taiwo, Omeje Ikenna
Ogun state All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential rally held yesterday at MKO International Stadium, Abeokuta ended in chaos as suspected to be political thugs loyal to Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun hurled stones at President Muhammadu Buhari, his Vice, Prof Yemi Osibajo, the APC governorship candidate for the state, Prince Dapo Abiodun among other dignitaries on the podium.
The incident which forced the programme to end abruptly happened while President Buhari was performing the ritual of raising up the hand of the governorship candidate of the party for the state, Prince Dapo Abiodun.
The President, after finishing his less than five minutes speech had barely raised up the hand of Prince Dapo Abiodun as who the members of the ruling party should vote for during March 2 governorship elections when some suspected loyalists of Gov. Amosun started shouting no, no, after which they were hauling objects at the direction of the dignitaries on the podium.
Trouble started when the APC National Chairman mentioned the name of the party’s governorship candidate in the state, Mr Dapo Abiodun, while addressing the crowd.
Upon hearing Abiodun’s name, the crowd at the MKO Abiola International Stadium started booing Oshiomhole with some throwing objects at him, prompting security operatives to surround him.
It took the swift intervention of a security aide at the podium who prevented the plastic bottle from hitting President Buhari at his stand.
Many in the crowd were not appeased and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had to be called to give a speech, leading to the return of calm at the venue of the rally
President Muhammadu Buhari spoke after Professor Osinbajo and when he raised Dapo Abiodun’s hands as the APC flag bearer in the state the anger returned with some still throwing things forward.
Pointer to the fact that the presidential rally might ended on skirmishes note had been noticed earlier before the arrival of the president when loyalists of the governor who had defected to Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and backing Amosun’s anointed governorship candidate, Hon. Abdulkabir Adekunle Akinlade clashed with the supporters of Prince Dapo Abiodun, the APC gubernatorial candidate for the state.
As the crowd trouble continued, Governor Ibikunle Amosun, who is supporting Adekunle Akinlade, the governorship candidate of the APM to succeed him, had to intervene and appeal to the crowd to respect the presence of President Buhari.
The governor’s appeal went on deaf ears of the hoodlums who have been heavily mobilized to the stadium, as they threw plastic water at the presidential VIP stand at the stadium.
The governor repeatedly said “I have told them that the other side is just 5%, they are very insignificant in numbers and this we shall prove to them with our votes on March 2. So, don’t fight with them, don’t create the impression that President Buhari is not our own in Ogun state”.
Several party members and journalists sustained injuries and had their possessions stolen and vandalized by the hoodlums.
One of the victims of the incident is the Publisher of Nigerian NewsDirect, Dr Samuel Ibiyemi whose wristwatch was stolen and several copies of the newspaper in his car torn to pieces. It took the intervention of the Police to rescue him and his driver to safety.
Meanwhile, the APC National Headquarter said it is reviewing the incident and will act accordingly when the leaders of the party meet.
While responding to Nigerian NewsDirect enquiry, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Isah Onilu said the party will meet and make pronouncements on the unfortunate incident.
However, he refused to state categoricallyif the party suspects anyone as the architect of the brouhaha.
The Spokesman of Ogun State Police command, Abimbola Oyeyemi refused to comment on the number of arrest made.
He said the command is still reviewing the incident and won’t make any comment for now.
When asked if arrest were made, he said he won’t make any comment now until he is fully briefed.
In the meantime, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has described what it called “ the Public Pelting And Jeering ,” at President Buhari and the APC during his election campaign rally in Abeokuta on Monday as a direct response by Nigerians to his stewardship in the past three and a half years.
In a statement signed by the party’s spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said the development showed that like other states in the country, Ogun is ready to reject the APC-led administration at the polls.
“The people of Ogun state, and indeed, the South West, have shown that they are in direct alignment with other states and geopolitical zones of our country in rejecting President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, whose administration has foisted so much injustice and brought unprecedented pain and anguish to Nigerians.
“Mr President can now see that Nigerians cannot be bought with N10,000, as he was made to believe by Prof. Osinbajo and members of the cabal in his Presidency.
“After the unpalatable encounters in all his rallies, Mr. President needs no further signal to show him that the people have completely rejected him, despite his false performance indices. Nigerians are determined to deal him a crushing defeat on February 16 by voting en masse for the people’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar, as the next President of our country,” the statement read in part.
The party further called on the President and the ruling party to brace up for defeat at the polls in a few days time.