Peter Dada, Akure
Some youths suspected to be political thugs on Tuesday attacked the House of Assembly candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the Idanre State Constituency of Ondo State, Mr Festus Akingbasote.
The hoodlums were also alleged to have attacked and injured two other members of the PDP in Idanre community. The three victims were said to have been rushed to a hospital in the town.
A source said, “When he (the PDP candidate, Akingbasote) learned that some of his members had been taken to the hospital, he and some party members went to the hospital to see them, but the thugs again stormed the hospital to beat him. He was seriously injured. Immediately he too was rushed to another hospital.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Femi Joseph, confirmed the incident and said one person had been arrested over the clash while investigation had commenced.
He said, “It was a clash between members of the two major political parties in the town and the commissioner of police had ordered for full investigation.”
The state Chairman of the PDP, Mr Clement Faboyede, confirmed the attack, saying that Akingbasote narrowly escaped assassination on Tuesday.
He said, “We want to intimate the whole world of what is happening in Ondo State now. We are crying ‘save our soul’ in the state. Ondo State PDP and the generality of Ondo State inhabitants have witnessed a lot of violence.
“It is an open secret that the APC government and members have resorted to violence, intimidation and harassment of the PDP members across the length and breadth of the state.
“Just yesterday (Monday), for over four hours, it took the combined team of soldiers and mobile policemen to dislodge the APC thugs in Idanre, the hometown of the APC state chairman of the state. For four hours, they held the town to ransom with cutlasses and guns in Idanre community.”
He added, “And just this morning (Tuesday), attacks were on and about three of our people are in the hospital now. This calls for concern as this has been the scenario; the community has been declared a war zone as the APC thugs are harassing and intimidating the people.
“They know they can’t win that election, especially that of Idanre, so they want to cause mayhem in that place. We want to say election is not war; election should be very peaceful and people should be allowed to vote whosoever they want.”
But in his reaction, the state Chairman of the APC, Mr Ade Adetimehin, refuted the allegation, saying the PDP was fabricating lies against his party. He said the PDP members were already jittery ahead of the poll because they were no more popular in the constituency.
“The allegation was not true; we are law-abiding party, we don’t involve in violence, we are not thug breeders like them, they just want to resort to blackmail because they know we are more popular than they are in the state,” Adetimehin stated.
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