Supporters of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Ondo State, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), on Tuesday clashed with that of the party’s aspirant, Dr. Olusegun Abraham at the party’s secretariat in Akure, the state capital.
The fight occurred during a peaceful protest organised by Abraham’s supporters to express their non-acceptability of Akeredolu as the candidate of the party for the November 26, 2016 governorship election.
Abraham along with other governorship aspirants had earlier rejected the results of the primary held in Akure on September 3 on the grounds that the election was marred by irregularities.
As the Abraham’s supporters gathered at the party secretariat singing various solidarity songs, some of the APC youths, who carried Akeredolu’s posters and armed with various dangerous weapons, attacked them to stop the protest.
The protesters carried placards with various inscriptions such as, ‘We support Segun Abraham,’ ‘Segun Abraham is our candidate,’ ‘No Abraham, no vote,’ ‘Will Presidency support corruption?,’ among others before they were attacked.
Members of the two groups wore the branded vests and carried posters of the person they were supporting.
Some armed security men, including men of the state police command and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps at the gate of the secretariat were overwhelmed as some of them took to their heels and ran for safety during the clash.
Members of the two rival groups hit each other with machetes, stones and sticks.
Though, no life was lost during the clash, many vehicles were destroyed and the popular Oyemekun Road where the secretariat was located was deserted by motorists for about 30 minutes. The residents of the area also ran helter skelter for safety.
However, after a while more policemen were deployed in the area to calm the situation.
The Public Relations Officer of the state police command, Mr. Femi Joseph, said men and officers were immediately sent to the area to prevent the breakdown of law and order.
In his reaction to the development, Abraham who was a preferred candidate of the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, described the incident as sad and unfortunate.
He said, “We should not be having this type of things in our politics at this age. My people are protesting peacefully and Akeredolu’s thugs attacked them. This is uncivilised and I don’t expect this to be happening in the APC.
“Is it thuggery they want to use to get to power in Ondo State? Is this how they want to beat the PDP government? That is why we are calling on the leadership of the APC to let the right person be the candidate of the party.”
He insisted that Akeredolu could not win the forthcoming election for the state, saying “Unless my mandate is restored, there would not be a way forward for the APC to win the election.”
Speaking for Akeredolu, however, the Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Abayomi Adesanya, said the protesters were not members of the APC in the state.