From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan

The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State, and the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state are in verbal war over the death of three persons after a political campaign In Igangan in Ibarapa North Local Government Area of the state.

Governor Seyi Makinde, who is seeking re-election on PDP platform, and his campaign train had stormed Igangan on Tuesday for a campaign rally, along with other candidates of the party, especially in Oyo South senatorial district.

An impeccable source the crisis started when a question was thrown to Makinde that he has solicited support for all candidates from governorship to National Assembly and House of Assembly, and that he should tell the people the presidential candidate that they should also support.

Some members of the party allegedly walked up to the man in the full glare of everybody, removed  his cap, and banged same on his head, for asking such a question. Makinde, according to the source, was not happy with the development, and condemned the action of the people that bang cap on the man’s head.

As gathered, the man quietly left the venue. But it could not be connected whether the development made some people to wait for the campaign train some metres away from Igangan town. Gun fire was said to have been launched against the campaign train. Some members of the train, allegedly responded with gun fire as well. At the end of the gun duel, three persons were said to have been shot dead, while a number of other persons sustained varying degrees of injury.

According to a statement issued by the publicity secretary of APC in the state, the party said: “It is quite regrettable that a governor elected to function as the Chief Security Officer of the state has turned out to be a harbinger of sadness and sorrow to the people in view of incessant reports of mindless attacks and invasion by known faces who work for the government of the day. Just as reprieve was coming to the people who have suffered a lot from suspected killer herdsmen, another set of hoodlums who form the militant wing of the ruling party in the state would not allow residents to enjoy their deserved peace.

“The Tuesday violence in Igangan town which claimed the lives and properties of some hapless citizens stands condemned and we urge the global community to speak out in the interest of justice and humanity. How can a governor be moving round with murderous characters in the name of campaign tour which usually involves sporadic shooting of guns, open display of dangerous weapons and harassment of innocent residents?

“We have it on good authority that Governor Makinde visited Igangan on Tuesday and few minutes after he had left, his political thugs began to shoot sporadically into the thin air to register their presence and also show off their strength of violence. While this was going on, some harmless youth protested by voicing out their displeasure and this angered the leader of the invading thugs who ordered that the youths should be made to suffer for their subtle protest.”

But the 

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Media Committee of the Governor ‘Seyi Makinde Campaign Council in a statement by Special Assistant (Print Media) to the governor, Moses Alao, said:

“We have read different reports regarding the attacks on the convoy of our Principal, Governor ‘Seyi Makinde, by hired thugs of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in collusion with some unscrupulous elements, who tried in vain to disguise as youths of Igangan community.

“We condemn the attacks, which were clearly a failed attempt on the lives of the Governor and the Senatorial Candidate of the PDP in Oyo South, Chief Olasunkanmi Tegbe. But for the packaged, inhuman and false reaction of the opposition APC, which has become its best strategy to cover up its heinous tendencies as it did the same thing shortly after its thugs attacked the Accord Party governorship candidate in Tede some months ago, we would not have immediately known that it is the sponsor of the unprovoked and unwarranted attacks in Igangan.

“Now, we understand why the APC has not been campaigning; they had hatched the plan to silence the PDP by taking out the governor and other major contenders through orchestrated violence and cheap blackmail. However, it becomes imperative to set the records straight: The governor had finished addressing the mammoth crowd at the Igangan Town Hall and the campaign trail was heading for Tapa.

“As it has become the custom of the Governor to acknowledge the cheers and love of the people and in turn distribute souvenirs wherever he went to campaign, Governor Makinde stood in an open roof SUV while other members of the entourage were in his tow

 Towards the exit of the town, where a road block, which we now know, was mounted by the thugs to halt the flow of traffic so that they would be able to perpetrate their dastardly act, some group of boys started demanding for money instead of the souvenirs being shared by the Governor.

“Before anyone could say Jack Robinson, they started hauling stones, while some went in search of big sticks with which they were smashing vehicles indiscriminately. The urchins went directly after the SUV of Chief Tegbe, which showed a clearly premeditated motive, while others kept attacking other vehicles coming behind the governor. The JAC Bus conveying Media Aides of the governor and journalists and many other vehicles were damaged by the hoodlums and at some points, the hoodlums graduated from hauling stones by bringing out guns and shooting at vehicles in the convoy. 

“We are sure that the same hoodlums went into the streets of Igangan to commit the wanton arson and destruction, which the APC-sponsored online media outlets have been sharing to discredit the Governor.

“While we sympathise with the families of individuals affected by the crisis, it is important to point out that Governor Makinde is a man of peace and has made it clear that his ambition is not worth the blood of any Oyo State indigene. The governor has campaigned in 16 local governments before getting to Ibarapa North and there has been no record of violence. We wonder why the opposition chose Igangan. Could it be a plot to replay the evil act they sponsored against the people of Igangan in the past, which they tried to use to cause ethnic unrest and to discredit the efforts of the Makinde government on security?”