Suspected political thugs on Monday night disrupted the Abeokuta, Ogun State, venue of a meeting between Muhammad Indabawa – led electoral Committee and the governorship aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, forcing many, including journalists, to scamper for safety.
The gunshot which began around late in the night, spilled into the early morning of Tuesday as the thugs suspected to be supporters of two major contenders to the APC governorship ticket in the state duelled against each other.
The eight-man electoral Committee members hurriedly called off the meeting with governorship aspirants and other stakeholders with respect to their safety.
The governorship primary of APC in the state earlier scheduled to be conducted across 236 wards of Ogun state had suffered series of postponements due to logistics issues but the Committee members who had arrived the state at about 7:45 pm on Monday for a meeting with the aspirants, couldn’t start until 10:30 pm and ended it abruptly 85 minutes later following security situation at the venue.
In the last coupled of days, confusion and apprehension had continued to suffuse the air of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, and other parts of the state over the planned governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state which has suffered series of postponements leaving party supporters, members and even some of the aspirants unsure of what to expect.
Six persons – Abdulkabir Adekunle Akinlade(Ogun West), Senator Gbenga Kaka (Ogun East), Otunba Bimbo Ashiru(Ogun East), Prince Dapo Abiodun(Ogun East), Jimi Lawal(Ogun East) and Abayomi Hunye (Ogun West), are locked in a keen battle for the APC governorship ticket and were all in attendance at the meeting.
The pandemonium it was gathered started outside the venue of the meeting, MITROS Residences, formerly Gateway Hotels Annex within Ibara in Abeokuta when someone believed to be one of the supporters of Dapo Abiodun and another suspected to be one of Adekunle Akinlade’s boys engaged in a free for all, prompting the arrest of Abiodun’s supporters and forceful ejection of others loyal to him by Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s Chief Security Officer who dashed into the meeting.
It was further gathered that as soon as the arrested Abiodun’s boy was being whisked away by team of policemen apparently on the order of the Governor’s CSO, another batch of armed political thugs stormed the venue of the meeting and began shooting sporadically into the air, allegedly, unchallenged by regular policemen sent to keep vigil there.
Unable to endure the ensuing commotion, following alleged sustained sporadic gunshots coupled with concern for their safety, the eight-man APC national electoral committee hurried out of the troubled venue along with all the governorship aspirants, forcing the meeting to come to an abrupt end.
Also, a source close to Dapo Abiodun said the incident was an attempt to intimidate the aspirant from Iperu town in Ogun East, said he narrowly escaped being endangered.
The source claimed the frightening episode occurred midway into the meeting.
“The leading APC governorship aspirant in Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun escaped plots to hurt him at the venue of the aspirants’ meeting called by the party’s gubernatorial electoral committee on Monday at Mitros building, Ibara, Abeokuta.
“The ugly incident occurred at the middle of the meeting when the Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the governor deliberately arrested one of Dapo Abiodun’s supporters in an attempt to cause chaos. Other supporters of the oil magnate protested the arrest and there was a shouting match from both parties.
“The shouting match culminated in a sporadic shooting in an attempt to disperse Dapo Abiodun’s supporters from the venue of the meeting. The CSO then led some armed men to the venue shooting sporadically and shouting where is Dapo where is Dapo.
“Meanwhile Dapo Abiodun’s security personnel and supporters resisted the attempt of the gunmen to enter the hall where the meeting was held because their identities could not be verified.
“The latest episode of violence in Ogun politics is another indication that all is not well within the ruling party in the state. It is disheartening to experience this dastardly act in the premises provided by the State government,” the source stated.
The Nation did put a call to the Publicity Secretary of APC in the state, Chief Wole Elegbede, for comments on the development but did not pick his calls.
However, it could be recalled that the sporadic gunshots occurred in less than 48 hours after five aspirants had raised an alarm over security threats in the state in respect of the governorship primary and equally less than 18 hours after the Governor Amosun had counselled his supporters to “keep” their “gunpowder dry” as they would be mobilised with necessary support when the times comes.
Although, Amosun had, however, earlier assured that nobody will harm anybody and advised characters trying to demarket the state with allegations of security breaches to desist from it.
Earlier, Muhammad Indabawa who chairs the eight-man APC national electoral committee to the state told reporters that governorship aspirants and all members of the APC state executives were at the meeting and that he had all necessary materials and documents for the conduct of the primary to unveil the candidate of the party in Ogun state.