By Tunde Olanrewaju, Abeokuta
In an ironic twist of fate, the Ogun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday lamented a propensity for violence by members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) warning that residents of the Gateway State should be wary of the newly registered political party towards the 2015 general elections.
PDP State Publicity Secretary, Mr. Waliu Oladipupo, reacting to an APC intra-party violence that led to the hospitalization of eight people in Wasimi, Ewekoro Local Government Area on Thursday warned APC not to plunge Ogun State and the whole of the South West into another round of avoidable crisis and bloodletting.
Until recently, due to a reign of violence that characterized most of the eight years rule of former Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, the PDP has an almost permanent label as a citadel of political violence among residents of Ogun State. But the divisions in APC, which has pit supporters of the Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, against those of a national leader of the party, Chief Olusegun Osoba, has led to at least two violent incidents.
Oladipupo said: “We are shocked at the resort to violence over mere party membership registration and/or drive. If this level of desperation could be shown in intra-party wrangling, only GOd knows what would happen during the primaries and elections proper. As we have stated earlier, these incidents portend an ominous sign of the grave dangers ahead of our dear state, especially as the 2015 general elections approaches.”
In the same vein, a governorship aspirant of the Labour Party, Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka, condemned the violence and commiserated with residents of the state and policemen injured in Ewekoro.
Isiaka, in a statement signed by a media aide, Mr. Wale Junaid, called on President Goodluck Jonathan, to direct the Inspector General of Police, the Director of the State Security Service and other relevant security agencies to intervene in the situation.
However, the Ogun State Police Command on Friday defended its men against allegations of bias in the violence between rival factions of the APC. Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ikemefuna Okoye, decried the allegations as inhuman and unfair given the fact that five of his men were injured while trying to contain the violence.
He commended the officers and men at the scene of the violence for performing their official duties diligently, and vowed his command would never be dragged into partisan political crisis. Okoye counseled politicians at all levels in Ogun State to play by the rules of the game as he insisted that they should show decorum and discourage the use of thugs in settling scores.
The Commissioner of Police disclosed that he has ordered a comprehensive investigation into the violence to be led by Head of the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Alhaji Aminu Alhassan, an Assistant Commissioner of Police. Alhassan has one week to round up suspects involved in the violence.
At least eight persons, including five policemen, suffered critical injuries when factions of the APC clashed. The clash began when supporters of Amosun sought to prevent those of Obadara from gathering for an event. Obadara, a loyalist of Osoba, is opposed to Amosun.