A clash between two groups of supporters of the All Progressives Congress, APC, on Thursday disrupted an event of the party’s committee on true federalism and restructuring, at the Akure International Event Centre.
The Osun State Commissioner for Regional Integration, Bola Ilori, suffered severe attacks from persons suspected to be loyalists of the Secretary to the State Government, Ifedayo Abegunde.
He was molested and beaten by the thugs, who also tore his clothes to shreds.
The incident resulted in the sudden end of the session of the committee as stakeholder made their way out to safety while the fisticuff lasted.
Mr. Ilori had presented the Osun state’s position on federalism and restructuring and was living the venue when the hoodlums attacked him.
Although his aides made frantic efforts to help him, but the hoodlums appeared to be determined to embarrass him, saying he should not have appeared at the venue since he was not a member of the APC.
He was later helped back to the hall of the event, were someone offered him a shirt.
Mr. Ilori however, accused Mr. Abegunde, of being behind his ordeal, even though the deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi, made efforts to quell the situation.
Mr. Ilori said he was attacked for working for another candidate instead of Rotimi Akeredolu in the last governorship election in the state.
PREMIUM TIMES recalled that Mr. Ilori actually left for the Alliance for Democracy, AD, to campaign for Olusola Oke, who had also defected from the APC to AD to actualise his governorship candidate.
“I don’t know what called for this attack. I was on my way out after Osun presentation at the venue of the event when some boys loyal to “Abena” (Abegunde) descended on me. I am sure they are his boys and I am very sure of this fact,” he said.
Mr. Ilori however added that the fight was not all about the 2016 governorship election but about coming elections in the state, saying, “they are all scared of me coming for the senatorial seat in the next election and they are not comfortable with my political popularity.”
The Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Yemi Olowolabi, denied Mr. Ilori’s allegation. He alleged that it was Mr. Ilori and the Osun State delegates who actually came to the venue of the event to cause trouble.
He said the event was peaceful until the attack on Mr. Ilori, adding that the incident was avoidable, given that it was an APC event.
“What happened is sad but it was avoidable. It was apparent the Osun delegates came prepared with thugs, charms, ammunition, cudgels to an event which was supposed to be an all APC event,” he alleged.
“It is clear that they are here to foment trouble and if there was any retaliation there would have been casualties. We kept our calm even in the face of unwarranted provocation.
“Bola Ilori practically seized the microphone during the event. He was not the head of delegates from Osun. I will advise him to eschew culture of violence and give peace a chance.”