Loyalists of the two major political parties squaring off in Saturday’s governorship election in Osun State are accusing each other of resorting to deadly attacks and vandalism.
The All Progressives Congress was the first to accuse the Peoples Democratic Party of sponsoring violence against those campaigning for its candidate, Gboyega Oyetola.
Mr Oyetola’s, an ally of incumbent Governor Rauf Aregbesola, faces his strongest challenger in Ademola Adeleke, a serving senator of the PDP.
The two candidates are expected to do well enough in their respective strongholds to emerge eventual winner, although there are at least two other strong candidates in the race who are not running too far behind.
In a statement to PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday, Mr Oyetola’s campaign office said dozens of APC supporters have been physically attacked in the past one week, with at least two lying critically injured at the hospital.
Amongst those the campaign said were attacked were Imam Basheer, an assistant to Mr Aregbesola, and Michael Adejumo, a coordinator for the political action group De Raufs.
Teju Olorungbebe of the Osun State chapter who signed the statement for Mr Oyetola’s campaign office said “security reports” suggest the PDP members were behind the violence and called on security agencies to discharge their duties and ensure that the suspects are apprehended and the attacks ceased.
The PDP rejected all allegations of violent conduct by its members, saying the APC should not be allowed to turn the facts around by being the first to scream to the media.
“The APC should not be allowed to get away with violence inflicted on our supporters by using the media,” Rasheed Taiwo, a spokesperson for Mr Adeleke’s campaign told PREMIUM TIMES Thursday night. “Our members have been severely and regularly attacked for over two weeks now.”
Mr Rasheed said some members were already feared killed and named some specific areas where some attacks were recorded only recently.
“Two days ago, they attacked our campaign convoy and smashed vehicles and injured many people near Osogbo”, Mr Rasheed said. ” Security agencies are aware of some of these attacks which we all know were sponsored by the APC.”
“Another one happened around Ikirun when an unmarked car ran into our convoy and caused serious mayhem,” he added.
“The strength of our campaign is a mass movement and we don’t need to be violent to win the election on Saturday,” he added.
Both campaigns said they do not condone violence and urged their respective members to remain calm in anticipation of victory.
Polls are scheduled to open on Saturday morning across the state’s 30 local government areas.