*We completed assignment – Committee Chair
By Shina Abubakar, Osogbo
Hoodlums attacked members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun State summoned to submit and defend their petitions against the recently concluded ward congresses in the state.
The APC Appeal committee set up by the National Secretariat of the party had on Friday announced its arrival in the state, disclosing that it had 31 petitions received by the National Secretariat and urged members with grievances against the congresses to submit petitions at the state party Secretariat by 9am yesterday.
The committee also mandated petitioners from the 30 wards across the state to appear before it to defend their petitions, pledging to give all parties fair hearing.
Supporters of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, adorning orange colour face cap with his name engraved on it, and those of Aregbesola wearing blue colour face cap had earlier clashed over who could be part of the proceeding.
While members of the party who stormed the Secretariat as early as 8am, yesterday, waited for the committee members to arrive and proceed with the day’s proceeding, clash suddenly ensued over the request by some hoodlums that those wearing blue caps must remove their caps.
A supporter of Oyetola, Muideen Ajetunmobi, from Osogbo local government, alleged that he was dealt machete blows by suspected hoodlums loyal to Aregbesola’s group but an APC leader said the injured party members sustained head injury while trying to prevent a former party Chairman, Mr Lowo Adebiyi, from accessing the Secretariat.
The situation was however brought under control with the arrival of the committee led by its Chairman, Ambassador Obed Wadzani, escorted by Osun State Police Commissioner, Olawale Olokode, who prevailed on the party members to allow peace reign.
Wadzani, while addressing the gathering, assured party faithful that the committee will not leave the state until it had exhausted all the petitions before it.
However, while the committee began proceedings around 12noon and the process was going smoothly, some hoodlums around 4:30pm pelted members of the party inside the Secretariat with stones.
Sunday Vanguard could not ascertain how the hoodlums accessed the Secretariat but attempt by security operatives to stop the disruption, including shooting into the air, did not yield result.
The petitioners, committee members and party officials had to run to safety as the situation became tense and scores of petitioners were injured in the process. The windscreen of some vehicles that conveyed the petitioners to the venue were smashed.
Meanwhile, State Congress Committee Secretary, Oluomo Sunday Akere, said the committee had to relocate from the party Secretariat when the situation became tense.
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On his part, Oyetola urged party members to let peace reign and allow the appeal process run its full course.
A statement signed by the governor’s spokesperson, Ismail Omipidan, stated that Oyetola condemned the “unruly behaviour” exhibited by party members during the proceedings.
Also, last night, the committee chair, Wadzani, told Sunday Vanguard that concluded their assignment.
He said in a text message: “This is to let you know that committee’s proceedings were not disrupted. All petitioners were invited and they adopted their petitions.
“Some of them had lawyers/legal representation and the lawyers adopted the petitions on their behalf and we have completed our assignment.”