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Bisi Akande, ACN Chieftains Attacked In Ondo State

Listen to article / can report that the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo State may be caught in a web of violence, as hoodlums loyal to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the ruling Labour Party (LP) continue to clash.   Thugs allegedly loyal to the State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, were said to have unleashed mayhem on guests and injuring ACN stalwarts including the party's National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande during the Fifth Adebayo Adefarati Memorial Lecture scheduled for Saturday, April 21 in Akure.  

  ACN National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande said, "I had to basically run away.  My effort to seek a resolution was aborted because the situation simply degenerated."  

  A source told that the hoodlums, on Friday afternoon, brazenly attacked everybody with cover from police.  

  'The thugs who brandished various weapons shot sporadically while attacking the guests at the event. They also searched for the national leader of the ACN, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, while other guests scampered to safety.'  

  'The armed thugs attacked Chief Wumi Adegbonmire, a leader of the party who was supposed to chair the event, beat him and destroyed his glasses but he was later able to escape. The thugs also pounced on the former LP Chairman in the State and current contender for the governorship position under ACN, Chief Olaiya Oni, who was just driving into the venue. They beat him silly and vandalised his car while asking him, "where is Asiwaju?"  

  The event which was supposed to be a mini rally for the ACN chieftains in which Tinubu, a former Governor of Lagos, was billed to deliver the keynote address on 'Justice and Fairness as Panacea to Peace," could not hold on Friday, as the thugs struck in the full glare of helpless policemen and other security operatives while Tinubu was being awaited. All ACN governors, including Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, were also expected at the event.  

  In the ensuing confusion, as the sound of guns rent the air, many of the guests who were already seated searched for escape route with most of them sustaining serious injuries. Some of the guests who were fit enough had to scale the fence in order to escape from the scene.  

  "Policemen at the event ground did not even attempt to repel these good-for-nothing guys as they shot at anything in site. The policemen just looked on as the guests they were supposed to protect sort out their ways.  

  "Most of us who actually attended the event would have immediately converged to discuss the struggle so far for the Government House. But I'm sure Mimiko knew it and he decided to burst us before we even converge as if we are still in the military era," an ACN member told  

  Other sources within the ACN told that 'We believe the Governor Mimiko has resorted to the use of force and threats to frustrate moves by the ACN party to unseat him through the election that is just weeks away. The camp of the ACN had continued to swell since the campaigns started. Most of those earlier backing Governor Mimiko had shifted grounds resulting in many of decamping from the Labour Party to the ACN.'  

  Neither Governor Olusegun Mimiko nor any of his aides have officially reacted to the ACN allegations.  

  Recall that on Thursday, 19 April 2012, Mimiko had allegedly ordered the police to barricade the Akure City Hall venue of the declaration ceremony of Mrs Olajumoke  Anifowose, nee Ajasin for the governorship seat under the ACN, citing security reasons even when Deji of Akure, HRM Oba  Adebiyi Adesida, had approved the venue.  

  According to a statement signed by Adekunle Adebayo, Head of Media and Public Affairs, Olajumoke Anifowose Campaign Network, "Only two days ago, members of the governor's ruling LP used the same venue for their political programme without let or hindrance. Two weeks ago, members of the LP in Akure South Local government also used the same venue for their political awareness programme.  

  "To show the Governor's intolerance, two weeks ago, the defecting member of the Federal House of representatives, Hon Ifedayo Abegunde was also stopped by the government through security agencies from holding at this venue, his defection ceremonies from the LP to the ACN.  

  "The property belongs to the Akure traditional community and has remained the rallying point for all activities, whether political or social. All aspirants and candidates since 1991 used the venue for all political events.  Dr Mimiko himself used the same venue for his declaration in 2007 when he wanted to run as governor and then incumbent governor did not in any way stop him.  

  "We view this act by the State Government as an act of aggression, intolerance and lack of accommodation for other political views. This Governor and the police have demonstrated by this barbaric act that all its activities and sermon on democracy, transparency, and freedom of speech are mere hypocrisy and pretence.  

  "It is unfortunate that Governor Mimiko, not only threw political decency into the winds, he has also deliberately began direct aggression against the illustrious family of Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin, the first civilian governor of Ondo state and apostle of democracy.  

  "It is clear that Ondo state is under political siege and that the governor is desperate to make Ondo state a one party state. This will not work. We must and we will struggle for the liberation of our state."