By Dayo Johnson – Akure
The Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) in the Ondo and the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the state on Wednesday bickered over alleged attack on the secretariat of ZLP’s governorship candidate campaign secretariat.
Candidate of the Zenith Labour Party in the Ondo governorship election, Hon Agboola Ajayi, has raised the alarm over the attack of his campaign secretariat by thugs loyal to the ruling All Progressive Congress in the state.
Ajayi said that the thugs who stormed his campaign secretariat in Akure, the state capital fired several gunshots, threatened to kill the guards and destroyed his campaign billboards and other valuable items.
Recall that seven political thugs arrested with arms and ammunition were arraigned in court on Tuesday and ordered to be remanded in prison by the trial Chief Magistrate.
This is coming as the state police commissioner, Bolaji Salami read riot act to the political thugs in the state saying that warm reception awaits them, sponsors of political violence at Olokuta prison.
The Director General of Ajayi/ Gboye Campaign Organization, Dr Kola Ademujimi in a statement in Akure said attacks on campaign offices of the candidate have become worrisome in recent time.
According to the statement, “suspected political thugs loyal to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday night attacked the campaign office of the Deputy Governor and candidate of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Hon Agboola Ajayi.
“The security personnel attached to the Secretariat, Mr Gbenga Olayoriju, said the thugs who were five in number came in an APC branded vehicle, attacked the Secretariat, destroying the billboard and other valuables at the premises.
“Adeyoriju said the suspected thugs who came in the night shot sporadically into the air to scare anybody who dared to challenge them.
“According to him, they used butt of their guns to destroy the billboard in front of the campaign office and threatened to kill him and his colleague if they make any attempt to stop them from carrying out their actions.
“The Director General noted that aside the attack in the Campaign Secretariat in Akure, political thugs loyal to APC and Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu attacked ZLP members in Idanre during the campaign of the governor on Tuesday.
Ademujimi said “Akeredolu ‘s thugs are threatening the lives and properties of members of ZLP and those of other parties in various parts of the state.
“They destroyed chairs , tables and inflicted injuries on our supporters at their ward meeting in Ile-Oluji yesterday.
“They also destroyed Agboola Ajayi’s ‘s billboards at our campaign office in Akure. They destroyed our flags and posters in Idanre during Aketi/APC’s campaign tour of Idanre yesterday.
“They attacked leaders of another party during their Local Government meeting in Owo yesterday. I think they are out to cause mayhem even before the October Governorship election in Ondo State.”
Ademujimi called on security agencies to live up to their expectations before the opposition parties are forced to act in self-defence.
Reacting, the spokesperson of the Akeredolu Campaign Organization, Olabode Richard Olatunde, said that; “the ZLP is merely looking for attention.
“As you can see, there is nobody that is talking about them in the state. Their political popularity has refused to grow. It’s a rejected party with no political structure.
Olabode said; “in fact, we have it on good authority that they orchestrate attack on themselves just to drag us into issues with them. We are not ready to join issues with a party that has been rejected by the people of Ondo state.
“lt’s illogical for anyone to say that the APC would attack the secretariat of a party that has no impact or pose any threat to the chances of the APC and Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN in this election.
“This election is about the people of Ondo State. The Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu administration has done well for the people of Ondo State. The acceptability he enjoys across the state has been further manifested in the way and manner the people thronged his campaign rallies. We are confident of victory because the people are with us.
“We must also put on record that ZLP thugs shot all night in Idanre on Monday night, and went ahead to destroy all APC billboards and banners just to scare the people of Idanre from coming out to attend the Tuesday local government campaign rally of Governor Akeredolu and the APC.
“But, with what we witnessed in Idanre on Tuesday, it’s evident that the boom of the gun can never deter and scare a determined people. The people have shown that guns and machetes will be useless in this election. Our People will always triumph.
“We must make it clear that, we are sure of victory. We carry the crown and we are guiding it jealously. We will not engage in any act of violence. We have the people, and the people are our strength.
Ondo police read riot act
Meanwhile, the state police commissioner Bolaji Salami warned that he would not hesitate to “unleash the dragon of the law on anybody, group or Political Party discovered to be behind any political violence or destruction of property in the State.
Salami a press statement issued by the commands spokesman Tee-Leo Ikoro said “having observed some buckets of problems springing up in some parts of the State during political campaigns, he has on two occasions warned party leaders to advise their followers on the need to eschew violence, yet it seems it all fell on deaf ears.
” lf anyone thinks he could add violence to the beauty of politics in Ondo State where he supervises its policing architecture, such a joker would regret his involvement in politics.
The commissioner said “the die is cast as Ondo State Police Command will not hesitate to send anyone found sponsoring or inducing anybody into carrying out acts of violence in the name of politics to the Correctional Service detention camp at Olokuta.
“Those thinking that violence will mar the success of the Ondo State Governorship election on October 10, 2020, should know that the security of the upcoming election will be well pronounced, proactive and decisive that it will be easier for a Camel’s head to pass through the eye of a needle than for any citizen of Ondo State to experience any act of thuggery or political violence before, during and after the election.
The police chief, therefore, advised “Party leaders to discourage their Party Youth Wings from any act capable of creating violence in its outlook or procedure but to resort to decent electioneering campaigns in other to win votes for the success of their Party at the polls.