The crisis in the Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress added a new dimension on Saturday when Governor Godwin Obaseki’s convoy was attacked at Iyamho country home of the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, by some suspected thugs.
The Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu Obaseki and Pro-Chancellor of Edo University, Iyamho, Prof. T.O.K. Audu were on their way to Oshiomhole’s house with Obaseki when some youths at the residence allegedly sighted the man alleged to have led the attack on Oshiomhole’s Benin home Andrew Momodu recently.
The governor and the other guests had attended the maiden convocation of the university in Iyamho, Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State.
An eyewitness said Obaseki and the Oba of Lagos had gone to Oshiomhole’s home to honour the former governor’s invitation for lunch after the ceremony at the university.
The source said, “The governor, Oba of Lagos and other guests had gone to Oshiomhole’s house for lunch when they were attacked by thugs led by one Romeo said to be one of Oshiomhole’s cousins.”
It took the intervention of the governor’s security to prevent a bloodbath as several vehicles were smashed by the hoodlums.
Another eyewitness, however, claimed the attack was triggered by the state Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, who had allegedly led over 200 Okada riders to the venue for the convocation in the morning.
Shaibu and the motorcycle riders were said to have been dispersed by policemen who fired tear gas at them.
The source said, “But the Deputy Governor found his way inside (Oshiomhole’s home); he was the one who led the Okada men from various parts of the state to the venue. So when the youths saw Momodu who is the governor’s Special Adviser on Security in the convoy, they got angry.”
But the Chief Press Secretary to the APC National Chairman, Simon Ebegbulem, in a statement blamed Shaibu for the attack.
Ebegbulem said, “The incident that occurred at the gate of the National Chairman of the APC in his Iyamho country home is unfortunate and the national chairman expresses his apologies to the governor, the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, and Chancellor of Edo University, Dr Aderemi Makanjuola, whom he holds in high esteem.
“But I want to state that the people who unleashed mayhem on vehicles were the thugs who invaded the university community on the orders of the deputy governor of the state, Philip Shaibu.”
He said the tension in the community started on Friday when Shaibu allegedly brought thugs into the community with a view to intimidating political opponents.
The media aide said, “In fact, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (Godwin Emefiele), who delivered a lecture at the convocation that Friday insisted that the thugs who were disturbing the public must stop making noises before he could commence his lecture. Security officials helped to ensure peace before the event started. As a matter of fact, Comrade Oshiomhole left the event through the back (backdoor) to avoid being attacked by the thugs who laid siege to the entrance gate of the university.
“Then, today (Saturday) which was the main event, the governor, the National Chairman of the APC and other guests were already in the hall when about 11.30 am, the deputy governor stormed the university with over 200 Okada riders and thugs. Security officials accosted them at the gate and refused them entrance. The thugs started threatening the security men who insisted the deputy governor could enter the venue but they would not allow the thugs to gain access.”
He said following their threats, the security officials tear-gassed the thugs and Shaibu.
Ebegbulem added, “The thugs were dispersed while the deputy governor joined other dignitaries at the venue. This created tension in the small community. However, after the event, Comrade Oshiomhole invited the Oba of Lagos, the Chancellor and others for lunch at his country home which is right opposite the university. Consequently, he left instructions at the gate that he was expecting these respected leaders. So, when the visitors came, the governor drove in a bus with other officials, but following the incident that occurred earlier, where thugs sponsored by the deputy governor, invaded the university, Iyamho youths barricaded the gate to protect the APC National Chairman against any harm.
“Unfortunately, these youths sighted Andrew Momodu, Osaigbovo Iyoha on the bus which conveyed the governor to Oshiomhole’s residence. They decided to stop them from entering the compound, because these were the same people who led the thugs that attacked Oshiomhole’s residence in Benin City penultimate week.
“While this confusion was on, the thugs brought by the deputy governor started destroying the vehicles belonging to Oshiomhole’s kinsmen. I want to state clearly that the vehicles destroyed were not in the convoy of the governor. The thugs targeted the vehicles belonging to Oshiomhole’s relations and friends and destroyed them. Thank God for the intervention of soldiers and other security officials who came to restore peace. This would not have happened if the thugs who invaded the community were not loyal to the deputy governor.
“However, Oshiomhole expresses his sincere apologies to the governor, the revered Oba of Lagos and the Chancellor over the unfortunate incident.”
Obaseki condemns attack
Meanwhile, Obaseki condemned the attack on him, Oba Akiolu, Makanjuola and other guests at the residence of Oshiomhole.
Speaking to reporters after the incident, the governor said it was shameful for such an attack to take place at the residence of the national chairman of the ruling party in the state and at the national level.
He said, “It is very unfortunate that we can’t feel safe in the house of our national chairman. I am not sure that if I visit the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party that they will attack me the way they did in the house of the APC National Chairman.
“It is unfortunate that things have degenerated to this extent. But we will continue to seek peace. We cannot afford to lose the gains of the last three years. We will continue to pursue peace.”
Meanwhile, the Chief Press Secretary to Shaibu, Musa Ebomhiana, denied the allegations that his boss was the brains behind the Iyamho attack.
He said “The deputy governor could not have caused the unfortunate incident that happened this evening. The governor, his deputy, Oba of Lagos and their entourage were at the gate of the National Chairman of our great party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to pay him the usual homage since they were in his domain. Surprisingly, the large crowd that gathered at the gate brutally attacked the convoy, destroying three cars in the process. The convoy had to quickly turn and came back to the varsity campus. So, how did the DG cause it? Could he have arranged his own attack? In fact, they were there on the invitation of the Comrade himself.”