There were heavy gunshots in Abeokuta, Ogun State, as two factional state executives emerged from the state congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
One of the factions is loyal to Governor Dapo Abiodun while the other is loyal to former governor and senator representing Ogun Central, Ibikunle Amosun.
As early as 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, Mr Abiodun’s loyalists gathered at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Kuto, while the faction loyal to Mr Amosun converged on the Ake Palace ground to elect the party officials.
The Ake palace ground was opened around 9:40 a.m. after a team of police officers initially laid siege at the entrance.
Trouble, however, started around 10:34 a.m., when some gunmen stormed the venue located within the palace of the Alake of Egbaland, Adedotun Gbadebo, and opened fire.
The political thugs, numbering about 20, attacked party members and smashed windscreen of over a dozen vehicles parked in front of the palace.
Hundreds of persons, including security agents who were standing at a distance from the Oba’s palace after the gate was opened, scampered for safety as gunshots rang out in the area.
A few minutes later, the crowed returned to the congress ground with sticks, stones and other weapons to face the fleeing thugs.
Apparently aggrieved that the security agents looked on while the hoodlums had a field day, the APC members, mostly youth, charged towards the security men and a face-off ensued.
After the melee quietened, Mr Amosun’s loyalists continued with their congress and elected Derin Adebiyi as the state chairman of the 36-man exco through a consensus arrangement.
In attendance at Mr Amosun’s congress ground were the Minister for Mines and Steel Development, Olalekan Adegbite; the senators representing Ogun East and West in the National Assembly, Lekan Mustapha and Tolu Odebiyi respectively; and a former governorship candidate, Adekunle Akinlade, among others.
The congress was monitored by Gbenga Opaleye, the chairman of the State Congress committee.
At the MKO Abiola Stadium, Mr Abiodun led a former senator, Adegbenga Kaka, and other APC members loyal to his group to produce Yemi Sanusi, as the state chairman of the party.
The congress was conducted under the supervision of a seven-member committee led by Wale Ohu.
The faction also adopted a consensus approach shortly after some opposing aspirants withdrew from the contest.
Mr Ohu, while addressing the gathering, said that all aspirants for different elective positions of the party were duly screened on Friday.
He maintained that any congress held outside the MKO Abiola Stadium was nothing but “exercise in futility.”
He said that 1,730 delegates participated in the congress which was conducted in a peaceful atmosphere.
Speaking at the congress, Governor Abiodun appealed to the newly elected officers to be loyal to the party.
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