Violence mars APC presidential rally in Ogun

As thugs hurl missiles at Buhari, Oshiomhole  PDP to Buhari: It is a sign of rejection

It was a show of shame on Monday at the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign rally, in Ogun State, as political thugs hurled missiles at President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams  Oshiomhole.

The national leader of the party and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was equally booed by the hoodlums suspected to be supporters of the Allied People’s Movement (APM).

The atmosphere within the MKO Abiola International Stadium, Kuto, Abeokuta, became charged when the gates leading to the stadium were thrown open on the directive of the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.

The governor had ordered that security within and around the stadium be relaxed and this development gave the APM supporters free access into the stadium.

The APM supporters flooded the premises with banners with the inscriptions ‘APM adopts Buhari for President’ and ‘Amosun for Senate’.

Earlier many people including some APC stalwarts who thronged the stadium as early as 9.00a.m were barred from entry due to the high-security network. Journalists also had difficult times before they could gain entry into the main bowl of the stadium.

There was tension within the venue of the rally as some hoodlums chased away supporters of the governorship candidate of the party, Prince Dapo Abiodun, from their seats just before the arrival of Mr President.

The thugs freely used dangerous weapons on Abiodun’s supporters who had to scale the fence for safety.

Many were injured in the cause of the attacks which forced many to flee before the arrival of Buhari. There was a report of sporadic shots outside the stadium.

The President arrived at the stadium by 3.00pm in company of the former National President of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, the Director General of Buhari/Osinbajo Campaign Organisation and Minister of Transport, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, the governors of Oyo, Ekiti and Ondo States,  Senator Abiola Ajimobi, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and Ogbeni Rotimi Akeredolu.

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Others on the entourage of the President were former governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, the immediate past governor of Osun, Mr Rauf Aregbesola.

The opening prayers in the Muslim and Christian ways were said by the Director General of APM campaign organisation, Alhaji Tunji Ishola and a chieftain of the party,  Senator Iyabo Anisulowo, respectively, while the opening remark was said by the sacked state chairman of APC,  Chief Derin Adebiyi.

Amaechi in his remarks urged the people to support Buhari’s reelection by voting for him and other APC candidates.

He said: “This is simply an APC rally. We are all here today because of APC. We must all vote for Buhari. We must not give room for mistakes.”

Amosun, who was visibly angry while addressing the gathering submitted that Buhari had done well for the country in the last four years and so deserved to be massively voted for in the February 16 election.

He told the gathering that he would let them know whom to vote for in the March 2 governorship election.

Amosun urged the people to be wary of some so-called ‘Afeniferes’ whom he said are enemies of the people.

“Don’t lose sleep on some so-called Afenifere. Some people said they are Afenifere, they have never defeated us since they started politics. I assured you we will use our PVC to let them know that we are the real Afenifere. You know them, they are not your friends. We are going to show them with our PVC.

“When they put polling booth in their compound,  we resisted them.  We are the true Afenifere,” the governor added.

Aregbesola, in his short remarks, said those with banners adopting Buhari from opposition party are simply hypocrites while charging the crowd to vote massively for Abiodun as governor.

In his address, Oshiomhole said the party was in the state to solicit for support from the people for Buhari’s re-election other candidates of the party in the state.

The national chairman’s speech was disrupted by hoodlums who threw stones at him and he hurriedly presented the party’s flag to Abiodun.

Osinbajo told the crowd that Mr President would focus on three major areas which include employment generation for the youths; power generation and empowerment for traders and market men and women.

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He, however, implored the people to vote for the president and Abiodun as Ogun governor, to ensure continuity of transparent governance and administration of integrity exemplified by the President.

Buhari in his short remarks appreciated the people for defying the hot weather to give him and his entourage a rousing welcome.

He said his administration had achieved in the area of security and fighting insurgency, fight against corruption and boosting the economy in the last four years.

“I will like to remind you that in 2015, our party, the All Progressives Congress, made different promises and undertakings concerning security, economy and fighting corruption.

“Wherever I go, I try to update Nigerians on our performance for the past three and half years, the people of north eastern Nigeria are the ones mostly affected then by insecurity.

“Boko Haram has been virtually degraded in the whole region, the problem in the North West and North Central is about the stagnant farmers which is under control

“On the economy, we are lucky, the last three seasons, there’s a lot of rains which the government has tried to provide fertilizer and reduce the prices of food from what it used to be.

“We have now achieved food security, Lagos, Ogun, Kebbi, Ebonyi, Jigawa are among the states who are doing well in producing rice, we are virtually self-sufficient in rice.

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“When we talk about infrastructure, we are building road,  rails and power, you will be the witnesses by the time we complete the next four years.

“I admonish you to practice your civic right to come out next Saturday to vote for me and on the 2nd of March,  to choose whoever you like across the parties.

“This is your right, so there’s no problem about it, I have no problem about it, and you shouldn’t have problems about it,” he said.

Meanwhile, four persons were arrested by the police outside the gate of the stadium, with dangerous weapons such as axes, machetes and charms on them.

In his short remark, former governor Aregbesola said members of the party should not be hypocrites but stand with APC all the way. He also charged the crowd to vote massively for the president and Dapo Abiodun as governor.

Also speaking, the national chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole, said the party was in the state to solicit support for the reelection bid of President Buhari and all the APC candidates in the state.

Oshiomhole, who was booed by the crowd and narrowly escaped being hit by stones, hurriedly presented APC flag to Abiodun.

Also speaking, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said Buhari’s reelection would usher in employment for the youths, increase power generation and ensure more financial empowerment for women and traders.

He, however, implored the people to vote for the president and Abiodun as Ogun governor, to ensure continuity of transparent governance and administration of integrity exemplified by President Buhari.

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Also present at the APC rally was governorship candidate of the APM, Hon. Adekunle Akinlade and his running-mate, Adepeju Adebajo.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has observed that “the public pelting and jeering” at President Buhari and APC is a direct response by Nigerians to his four years misrule as depicted in the expansion of poverty, corruption, divisiveness and bloodletting in our nation.

In a statement issued by Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity Secretary and Director, Media & Publicity PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, the main opposition party said: “It is instructive to note that Mr President was pelted in Abeokuta barely 24 hours after his Zamfara State rally on Sunday, where he attempted to incite Nigerians to join the APC in their planned resort to violence to derail the 2019 general election, having realised that they stand no chance of winning the election.”

The party stated that the people of Ogun state, and indeed, the South West, have shown that they are in direct alignment with other states and geo-political zones of the country in “rejecting” President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, “whose administration has foisted so much injustice and brought unprecedented pain and anguish to Nigerians.”

The statement added: “Mr President can now see that Nigerians cannot be bought with N10,000, as he was made to believe by Prof. Osinbajo and members of the cabal in his Presidency.

“After the unpalatable encounters in all his rallies, Mr President needs no further signal to show him that the people have completely rejected him, despite his false performance indices.

“Nigerians are determined to deal him a crushing defeat on February 16 by voting en masse for the people’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar, as the next President of our country.”

The PDP, therefore, urged President Buhari and the APC to “read the handwriting on the wall and get ready to accept his inevitable defeat so that Nigerians can have a breath of fresh air under the leadership of Atiku Abubakar, whose campaign has continued to receive rousing reception in all parts of the country.”

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