Former Labour Party (LP) chairman in Ondo State, Chief Olaiya Oni and another politician, Chief Wunmi Adegbomire, now both Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) chieftains, were high profile victims of attack by suspected political thugs who attempted to disrupt the 5th Memorial Lecture for Chief Adabayo Adefarati, former governor of Ondo State.
Billed to start at 12 noon, the BTO Hall venue of the lecture became a war zone, as the thugs, with the Police at the scene doing nothing, attacked guests and visitors.
As gun shots rent the air, many guests and politicians bolted and ran helter-skelter to escape. Many guests spilled into the streets, with some scaling the fence.
Over 11 people were matcheted, most of who were believed to be Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) members.
The event, planned to honour the former governor, was also anticipated to be one of the biggest political gatherings of ACN in the build-up to the October gubernatorial election, as all ACN governors were invited, with Governor Fayemi as guest speaker. But even the governor’s convoy had to make a detour when informed of the volatile situation.
Matchetes were freely used by suspected political thugs who kept screaming they had instructions to decimate some top ACN big wigs.
Chief Adegbonmire, billed to be chairman of the event, was attacked by matchet-wielding thugs. Though he escapeed unharmed, his car was destroyed.
“Adefarati does not deserve this. I don’t know why the government should resort to violence to settle political matters. Attacking and matcheting people, especially political opponents, is not acceptable,” Adegbomire complained. “The police here are defective and ineffective. They are not doing their duty. They acted as though they were part of a private army.”
Chief Oni was not that lucky. The rear windscreen of his white Toyota Camry 2009 model was smashed, as the assailants rained stones on him. He ran into the ambush as he drove into the venue.
Chief Oni described the experience as “hell”. Said he: “Stones, cutlasses and gun shots! This is thuggery not democracy. I was meant to be picked!” he alleged.
The thugs chanted they were under instruction to attack visiting and home based ACN leaders.
Chief Bisi Akande, the ACN national chairman, barely escaped with his life. His team was also attacked.
“It was a very dangerous development. My effort to seek a resolution was aborted because the situation simply degenerated,” he said of his ordeal.