New Telegraph

Osun on edge as election violence grips state

Security is said to be fundamentally integral to the electoral process which began last weekend to define the general elections that would reflect the free expression of the will of the electorate. However, Osun has over the years taken a lead in the political determination as any occurrence in the state changes the political situation in the country. Apart from taking the lead politically, the state had once been adjudged among the comity of states as the most peaceful state of the federation. But, contrarily, the state has recently been enmeshed with intimidating cases of political violence, the situation which concerned people; members of civil Societies, non-governmental organisations said it should be nipped in the bud before it gets out of hand. Osun State has been plagued by incessant political crises for quite some time. The situation has not improved, as recent events in the run up to the weekend’s polls have shown. From intra-party crises to inter- party battles, from political thuggery to destruction of public and private properties, from personal attack on person to threat to life, the state hasn’t been allowed a break for some years. According to findings, about 20 out of the 30 local government areas in the state experienced electoral violence between December 17, 2022 and February 4 this year. Pointing fingers Meanwhile, the two leading political parties in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) have continued to point accusing fingers at each other over the incessant political violence in the state. While the APC claimed that some of its members were attacked by hoodlums suspected to be working for PDP, the ruling party debunked the allegation, blaming the recent ugly incident on APC alleging the party of importing thugs to the state in order to victimise members of the PDP. Speaking on the development, the Executive Director, Kimpact Development Initiative (KDI), Mr Olubukola Idowu, expressed worry over the incessant political violence in the state. He pleaded passionately with stakeholders to ensure they play politics by the rules of engagement as stipulated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). He urged residents of Osun to conduct themselves peacefully and eschew violence before, during and after the elections. Also, Mr Dare Adeoye, the lead convener of Peace and Mediation Working Committee on Election Violence Monitoring and Mitigation, said the committee has been able to come out with some findings through the engagement of 60 security monitors in Osun State. Adeoye said about 20 out of the 30 local government areas in the state experienced electoral violence between December 17 and February 4. “Some of the LGAs include Odo-Otin, Orolu, llesa East, Oriade, Iwo, Olaoluwa, Atakumosa East and llesha West, Atakumosa West, Isokan, Ife South and Boripe, Ede North, and Ife North, Oriade, Orolu, Ayedire, Irewole, Osogbo and Olorunda.” In a chat with the New Telegraph Correspondent, the Chairman of Osun Civil Societies Coalition, Comrade Waheed Lawal called on security agents to rise to their responsibility saying the breakdown of laws and orders by the so called political thugs call for urgent solution. According to Comrade Lawal: “Osun State has been plagued by incessant politi  cal crises for quite some time. The situation has not improved, as recent events have shown. From intra-party crises to interparty battles, from political thuggery to destruction of public and private properties, from personal attack on person to threat to life, the state hasn’t been allowed a break for some years. “These crises have even put more than enough pressure on our insufficient resources in terms of security outfits, economic growth, peace and sustainable development.” APC candidate escapes death Residents of Ikire, in Irewole Local Government Area of the state are struggling to come to terms over the violent political crisis that erupted during the senatorial campaign of the APC in the town. The Osun West Senatorial candidate of the party, Dr. Amidu Tadese and his campaign team were attacked by hoodlums suspected to have been working for the ruling party in the ancient town of Ikire, Irewole Local Government. Tadese told New Telegraph that the attack occurred around 5:30pm. He explained that hoodlums, who were more than 30, ransacked the entire community after they disrupted the rally and attacked members of the APC. “Our supporters had already erected our canopy and assembled at Ward 9, Ikire before the incident happened. We were about to start the meeting when we saw the hoodlums shooting sporadically shortly after someone offered the opening prayers at the event.” PDP candidate’s defence While reacting, the PDP candidate for Osun West Senatorial District, Hon Lere Oyewumi condemned the allegation levelled against him over the attack describing the allegations as untrue, false and very far from reality. Oyewumi said: “The APC thug attacked our members while coming from our rally in the night and they killed two people now while some of our members were receiving treatment in hospital presently.” PDP accuses APC The PDP in Osun State has raised the alarm over a campaign of violence which is being allegedly unleashed on its mem-  bers in the state. The party also alleged that the violence is being perpetrated against residents of the state by the state chapter of the opposition APC. In a statement signed by Akindele Adekunle, the Caretaker Chairman of the party in the state, he disclosed that the party had to raise the alarm based on the latest attack on one Wasiu Adeleke, a PDP member in Ila Local Government the Saturday before the poll. The party also charged the police and other security agencies in the state to be alive to their responsibilities in ensuring the safety of its members and Osun people as a whole. “By now and with all the warnings by our great party, it is expected that security agencies would have risen up to their responsibility and go after the hoodlums imported into the state by the APC,” the statement added. The party also called on residents to be alert and stay alive to the security of their immediate community. Osun Speaker Owoeye condemns murder The Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Timothy Owoeye has condemned the killing of the APC’s Ebenezer Alaro in Ilesa penultimate Friday. The Speaker in a statement by his Media Aide, Kunle Alabi called on the Nigeria Police Osun State Command to leave no stone unturned in unravelling the circumstances leading to the murder of the deceased. He stated that such heinous crime if not quickly investigated and perpetrators docked could aggravate an already tense situation that could lead to breakdown of law and order in the state before and during the elections.

“It is quite unfortunate that one of our devoted party members was murdered after our rally, politics shouldn’t be a do-ordie affair. The young man who was actively involved in the rally was shot in front of his father’s house,” he said. Osun APC demands CP’s transfer The APC in the state has demanded the removal of the Commissioner for Police, Mr Patrick Longe, accusing him of being biased. “No one needs to be told that the CP Longe has been acting out the script of the ruling party members as seen in his official conduct since coming to the state,” the party claimed. Speaking in a similar vein, the APC acting Chairman in the state, Mr Tajudeen Lawal, said since Governor Ademola Adeleke took over the reins of governance, members of the opposition party had suffered a series of attacks by hoodlums. Police refute bias claims But the Osun Police Command’s spokesperson, Yemisi Opalola, has, however, refuted the claims. She said: “We (police) are not biased in any form because we were not trained to protect one life against another. We were trained to protect lives and property regardless of political affiliation. We are always mindful of what we do, and that’s why I used to tell people that police are not political in any form. We have been taking action on every report that has been given to us, regardless of the party involved.” Speaking on the allegation levelled against Sarafa Awotunde, a PDP chieftain in Ikirun, she said that the police were aware and were investigating the threat.

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