The Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, and his predecessor, Gboyega Oyetola, on Saturday traded words over vandalisation of campaign posters and billboards in different parts of the state ahead of the general elections.
Mr Adeleke, in a statement by his spokesperson, Olawale Rasheed, accused the former governor of inciting residents of the state against his government.
The governor said the aleged incitement led to the vandalisation of campaign posters and billboards.
He also said cases of vandalisation have increased since former governor returned to the state last week.
But, Mr Oyetola’s spokesperson, Ismail Omipidan, described the allegation as mischievous, stressing that the governor was attempting to spread false information.
“Violent activities including vandalisation of campaign posters and billboards increased in the last five days after former Governor Gboyega Oyetola’s return to the state. The former Governor had openly preached revolt against state authorities,” Mr Rasheed said.
“Election is about the people exercising their voting rights. Our jobs as political leaders is to market our programmes and candidates, to convince voters to accept us. It is out of order to propagate and employ violence as an electioneering tool,” he added.
“I particularly condemn the increasing vandalisation of campaign posters and billboards ahead of the elections. I was a victim during the last governorship election. Politicians should know that the people are the ultimate decider of their leaders,” he said.
“Those involved in these violent acts must stop forthwith. I’m also directing security agencies to arrest and prosecute anybody caught destroying candidates’ billboards and posters irrespective of party affiliations. We must restore sanity, law and order in our electoral process.”
Faulting the governor’s claim, however, Mr Omipidan said members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had been unleashing violence on members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) since after the governorship election was won by the PDP.
“It is on record that even the governor as the governor-elect had to issue a public caution to his supporters to celebrate moderately and stop visiting violence on innocent Osun citizens when they began attacking us after the announcement,” he said.
“But since then, it never abated. Contrary to their claims, political violence has been on the rise in the State since November 27 when they took over. The first one was recorded at the venue of the swearing-in on Sunday, November 27, when his men attacked Amotekun operatives. These violent incidents, some of which led to loss of lives, are well documented by the people of the State,” he added.
Mr Omipidan also accused leaders of the PDP of sponsoring some of the violence that had erupted in the state.
“Before the July 16 governorship election, two of their leading National Assembly candidates, Hon. Sanya Omirin and Hon. Lere Oyewumi, openly instigated the PDP supporters to deploy bombs, grenades and other dangerous weapons against APC members during the election. We raised the red flag. Our campaign billboards were destroyed by them before and after the election,” he stated
“There have been a series of attacks in the State before my Principal, Oyetola returned to the State on Monday, January 2. For instance, on December 23, PDP thugs attempted to assassinate one of our former commissioners in the public glare in Ilesa,” he added.
“Again, on December 28, PDP thugs invaded Best Suites and Hotel at the Freedom Park, in Osogbo, run by one of our former commissioners, beat up everyone in sight, including guests, and even injured the Manager of the place. They also emptied the bar. Was my Principal in town on that day?,” he queried.
“Was my Principal in town on December 31st when PDP openly engaged themselves in a supremacy battle at the venue of the New Year crossover night?,” he added.
The former governor’s spokesperson said the presence of Mr Oyetola is intimidating the state government.
“I can go on and on. But let us leave it at that for now. I am aware through some of their foot soldiers that they are intimidated by the presence of my Principal in Osun, hence they have been holding clandestine meetings on how to unleash mayhem on Osun and hang it on our neck. However, this too will fail like all previous plots against us,” he claimed.
“They are already perceiving another failure on their wild goose chase. Osun people know those who are in the habit of using extrajudicial means by deploying non-state actors to deal mercilessly with perceived opponents. This does not in any way fit the person and character of my principal.”
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