By Adeyemi Adeleye
The PDP and APC in Lagos State have disagreed over the alleged attacks on the campaign train of the PDP Governorship Candidate, Dr Abdul-Azeez Adediran (Jandor), in the Surulere Local Government Area of the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Adediran’s campaign train had been reportedly attacked by political thugs in Badagry, Ikorodu, Agege, Kosofe and Surulere, leaving some of his followers wounded and vehicles smashed.
It was also reported that the attack on Friday in Surulere was the third attack in succession where suspected hoodlums were said to have fired guns and destroyed some of the campaign vehicles in Adediran’s convoy.
Subsequently, the Lagos State PDP Publicity Secretary, Mr Hakeem Amode, in statement on Saturday, described the Surulere attack on Adediran’s team as “repugnant to the deepening of democracy in Lagos“.
Amode, who is also the Chairman, Media, and Publicity, JandorFunke 2023 Governorship Campaign, said that the attacks were “clear evidence of APC high-handedness and imperialism rule”.
According to him, the alleged APC sponsored thugs in Surulere LGA unleashed violence on persons and groups of people in the area ahead of the scheduled visitation of the PDP gubernatorial candidate to the ward on Thursday and Friday.
He explained that the visit was in continuation of Adediran’s tour of the 245 wards in the state.
Amode said: “The hoodlums went to the Baale of Ojuoluwa in Empire area of the LGA to threaten him not to receive the entourage who was billed to pay him a courtesy visit.
“The gates leading to the entire Empire area was locked and vehicular movement around the area disrupted.
“In the same vein, the canopy and chairs arranged at Iponri Housing Estate was violently destroyed by APC killer-thugs who were armed with dangerous weapons, including guns, and many of our members who were making the arrangements were wounded in the ensuing fracas.
“The same set of the APC-sponsored thugs mobilised themselves to Soloki Street, Aguda ,where Dr. Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran went to observe Jumat prayers, welding dangerous weapons, destroying vehicles in the entourage and violently smashing one of the campaign vehicles.
“They also vandalised the campaign vehicles of our House of Representatives Candidates, Hon. Soyinka, who is a sitting member of the House of Representatives.
The PDP spokesman added that the political thugs also went ahead to vandalise the PDP Secretariat at No. 2 Shittu Street, Aguda, during which several members of our party sustained various degrees of injury.
He said that a similar incident also occurred on Teniola Street where members of the community, who were waiting to receive the entourage of Adediran’s entourage, were dispersed and many also wounded during the attack.
“We are once again using this opportunity to appeal to the President and Commander-in- Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammad Buhari, to use his good offices to stem the undemocratic practice of APC in Lagos State, against opposition parties.
“This is to ensure that the desire of the president to leave a legacy of credible elections is not truncated on the altar of selfishness and entitlement by the ruling party in the state.
“We are also using this opportunity to call on the Inspector General of Police to rise to the occasion and provide adequate security for all and sundry to enable them to exercise their franchise in the coming elections,” he said.
Amode also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure no intimidation and harassment undermined its efforts towards organising credible elections, especially in Lagos State.
He appealed to all members of party to remain resolute and focused, saying the PDP leadership and candidates would not be cowed by thugs.
“We urge every loyal member to see the violence display as a show of a bad loser party who has nothing to offer the people of the state and would do anything to continue squandering our commonwealth in the state.
“We urge the ruling party to focus on writing their handle-over notes because their time is up in governing the state.
“Our party PDP and the people of the state will no longer tolerate their misrule beyond 2023,” Amode said.
Meanwhile, in a swift reaction, Mr Seye Oladejo, the Lagos APC Publicity Secretary, said in a statement that Adediran rather unleashed terror on innocent residents and three people reportedly killed in the course of his campaign in Surulere.
“The incident left in its wake several injured victims and three people reportedly died.
“We condemn in strong terms the unwarranted and unprovoked resort to violence on the citizens of the state in the name of electioneering campaign.
“In broad daylight, Jandor’s thugs fired guns at their hapless victims who ran for dear lives,” he said.
According to Oladejo, Lagos cherishes its enviable status as the safest state in the country, a result of long running and painstaking investment in security.
He said that APC viewed the attack as a ploy to instill fear in the hearts of would-be voters as we count down to the elections.
He added: “It’s pathetic to note that a candidate seeking to govern the state could be seen actively promoting violence to disrupt the peace of the citizens.
“The PDP and its candidate have been busy in the past few days, have been crying in the media that their posters were being torn. Unknown to the public, he (Adediran) perfected his evil plans which manifested at his rally.
“While we can imagine the untold misery and frustration that his faltering campaign might have visited on him, it ought not to result in the thirst for the blood of potential voters,“ he said.
The APC spokesman called on the law enforcement agencies to thoroughly investigate the incident, bring the culprits to book and beef security across the state in order to forestall a re-occurrence.
He urged residents to remain calm and law abiding as the state government remained irrevocably committed to its onerous duty of ensuring the safety of lives and property of all and sundry. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)