By Ayo Fadimu
The camps of the two leading candidates in Ondo State governorship election, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) traded blames as persons suspected to be political thugs attacked their convoys 23 days to the governorship election
According to sources, the campaign train of Governor Akeredolu who is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC was on transit through Oba-Akoko to Ikare-Akoko in Akoko North-East Local Government of the state when the incident happened. We also gathered that 10 campaign vehicles in the convoy of Jegede were said to have been vandalised in the attack
Speaking on the development, the Spokesperson of Akeredolu/Aiyedatiwa Campaign Organization, Olabode Richard Olatunde said that the attack led to the burning of one of the campaign vehicles in the convoy of the governor adding that the driver of the vehicle sustained serious bodily injury.
“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.”
It was gathered that Jegede was at the palace of Oloba of Oba, Oba Nathaniel Adegoroye, the traditional ruler of the town, where he had gone to pay homage as part of his campaign visits to the town when the attackers allegedly struck.
According to the Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kennedy Peretei, 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.
“Everybody was taken by surprise. Aketi people were passing before they stopped abruptly, and before you could say Jack, these masked men rushed down and started breaking Jegede’s vehicles.”
While also reacting to the attack, the Chairman, Publicity Sub-Committee of the Council, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, condemned the attack at a press conference held inAbuja on Wednesday.
Ologbondiyan said that the attack, in which some PDP members were severely wounded and their campaign vehicles vandalised, took place in Oba Akoko, where Jegede was received by the highly revered Oloba of Oba, Oba Nathaniel Adegoroye.
He said that the attack was because the opposition was agitated by Eyitayo Jegede’s soaring rating as well as the warm reception he had been receiving from leaders and groups across the state.
“Our campaign appreciates the courage displayed by the people of Ondo state in resisting the assailants and defending our candidate.
“Indeed, but for the intervention of the good people of Ondo state, who immediately came out to defend our candidate, the situation would have been worse.
“We also appreciate well-meaning All Progressives Party (APC) members who had called our candidate and our campaign to condemn the attack and show solidarity to our candidate,” Ologbodiyan said.
He advised the opposition to play by the rules.
“On our own part, our candidate, who is the people’s candidate, will remain undeterred in our focus to provide good governance for the people of Ondo state.
“In any case, let it also be known that while our party and candidate will continue to canvass for peace, the PDP and the people of Ondo state will not fold our hands in the face of any such attack.
“We will not hesitate to use every means necessary and available in a democracy to confront and vanquish these enemies of the people,” he said.
When contacted, the Police Spokesperson in the state, Tee-Leo Ikoro who confirmed the attack stated that mobile policemen have been deployed to the area on the order of the Commissioner of Police, Bolaji Salami.