The embers of violence which had for some time smouldered in the Olomi area of Ibadan were again fanned aglow on Thursday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital as some people alleged to be members of the Action Congress of Nigeria and some members of the dreaded National Union of Road Transport Workers disrupted a political rally organized by the Accord Party led by Senator Rashidi Ladoja, a former Governor of Oyo State.
Some members of the Accord Party were injured by the attackers who also destroyed the Public Address System, chairs and canopies to be used for the meeting. Street Journal gathered that the forum was to be used by Senator Ladoja to meet and address some members of the ACN and the Peoples Democratic Party, who were decamping to Accord Party in Oluyole Local Government.
Some of those at the venue of the meeting when the attack happened said their arrival was heralded by gunshots which they fired into the air to scare away those who had gathered. It was alleged that the Chairman of the NURTW, Alhaji Taofeek Oyerinde a.k.a Fele was one of those who led the onslaught on Accord Part members. The attackers went on a vandalism spree as they destroyed some of the canopies meant for the meeting and also vandalised vehicles around the venue. .
Speaking to newsmen as he left his Ondo Street residence in Bodija for the venue of the rally, Senator Rashidi Ladoja said “is this not worse than the politics of Adedibu’s era? After Tokyo, it was Eleweomo, but they have not been able to suppress us”.
He later addressed a crowd of supporters at Olomi where he said“we know the people who are emboldening the party members to attack us. They are the people who give support only for three days after which things will change. God is with us and that is why we have come to Oluyole to show our appreciation to the people for their support. They tried for us when we were just three months old. We are not out to disrupt the peace of the state, but rather to talk to our people. Why should the people come to attack us?”
On what might have prompted the attack, Ladoja said “part of what is causing them displeasure is that our lawmakers and other political nominees, who were sacked, all returned to the Accord Party. It is rare in the history of politics to have all such members back without some of them compromising and joining the ruling party. They were sent away because they were not part of the government’s decision of destruction of people’s shops and their means of livelihood.”
Kolawole Dauda, the Publicity Secretary of the ACN in Oyo State has however denied claims that members of the ruling party in the state were among the attackers. He said ACN as a party has no reason to attack anyone and the party is not a political party that supports violence.
Olomi was a theatre of war years ago. The state headquarters of the NURTW is located in the area and many still recall that Olomi hosted several bloody battles between rival groups of transporters loyal to politicians. Residents of the area became used to gunfights some of which lasted for hours.