Supporters of the two leading APC’s candidates in the Ondo guber primary conducted in September clashed in Akure on Tuesday. No life was lost, but the two sides inflicted varying degree of injuries on each other.
A group loyal to the first runner-up Segun Abraham were rallying to the party’s state headquarters when the other group belonging to winner Rotimi Akeredolu attacked them with weapons.
Before the clash, the Abraham supporters said they initially decided not to do anything rash, but it dawned on them certain leaders at the national level want to destroy the APC in Ondo.
“That is why the people have come out in large number to protest against the injustice during the primary. In any election, the primary tool for such election is the voters’ list. Where you don’t have the credible voters’ list, you can’t have a credible election,” said Enas Mohammed, leader of the group.
The clash, however, became violent, lasting for about two hours during which no commercial activities could go on in Akure.
The protesters later regrouped, and launched a counter attack on the Akeredolu supporters who had occupied the party’s secretariat.
The state’s police command and security operatives from the National Security and Civil Defence Corps came in to contain the incident.
Abraham later visited the secretariat in a convoy, thanking the supporters for their show of love demonstrated in the rally which eventually turned bloody.
He described the attack on his supporters as very uncivilized and barbaric.
“It was a peaceful rally asking for our mandate to be restored and not to be delayed. All of a sudden, the Aketi (Akeredolu) people brought and attacked the people. Is this the kind of thugs we want to put in power?” Abraham said.
According to him, he won the September 3 primary election.
“The difference between the legal votes and the illegal votes is 34. It is not all about me, but at this level we think we should work together so that we can rescue our state. I am afraid that we don’t replace PDP with another PDP government,” he said.
But the APC Publicity Secretary AbayomiAdesanya said the protesters were not citizens of Ondo State, but hired thugs from neighbouring states.
“We reliably gathered that these people, who are majorly youth and students were hired from neighbouring states and tertiary institutions after being given N2000 each and were mobilized to Akure, the state capital, to create an unnecessary scene and disrupting the peace we enjoy in the state.
Adesanya insisted that the party is supreme and its decision is binding on all members irrespective of status. He urged the public and security agencies to take the protesters as security risk.