The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo state has expressed concerns over what it described as alarming trend of threat and intimidation on opposition elements by a syndicate of violent persons believed to be working for the interest of Governor Seyi Makinde and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) urging the state Police Command and other security agencies to look into the matter with a view to nipping it in the bud ahead of the next general election.
The alarm from Oyo APC came against the background of reported cases of incessant vandalism of billboards and posters bearing the logo of opposition parties as well as photographs of some political figures who are not of the PDP as allegedly being carried out by some thugs suspected to be from a faction of the proscribed National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) who are now accommodated in the Park Management System (PMS) of Makinde administration.
In a statement issued on Wednesday and made available to journalists in Ibadan by its Publicity Secretary, Olawale Sadare, Oyo APC accused Gov. Makinde of creating an enabling environment for miscreants and thugs to operate freely in the state in order to subject hapless citizens including opposition elements to perpetual fear and intimidation “as this is the trademark of the PDP everywhere in the country”.
According to Sadare; “For some time now, certain disgruntled elements in the society have made it a duty to pounce on any outdoor advertising material such as billboards, signboards, posters etc seen around with the inscription of any other political party apart from the PDP and destroy them under 24 hours in most cases. The same PDP thugs accost and harass every innocent person who is found to be putting on vest, t-shirt, cap or handband with the inscription or logo of the APC or any other opposition party especially on the streets of Ibadan- the state capital.
“They carry out these dastardly acts mostly around Iwo Road, Agodi-Gate, Ojoo, Challenge, Ife Road, Mokola-UI Road and Monatan-Olodo axis of Ibadan. A particular incident was recorded around Iwo Road Interchange recently where some widows, who had received gifts of packaged rice grains from the secretariat of the APC in Egbeda Local Government Area, were waylaid by some PMS thugs and had all the grains wasted because they were said to be carrying food items in bags with APC logo.
“It is a fact that the era of brigandage and violence which was returned to Oyo state in May 2019 when the current PDP administration took over from a no-nonsense late Sen. Abiola Ajimobi. Gov. Makinde left no one in doubt of his resolve to reproduce the vicious cycle of interdependence among miscreants, ruling party and political office holders as evident in what the whole world was able to see right from the inauguration venue.
“The Pacesetter state has had her image besmirched in Kogi, Edo and Ondo states where Gov. Makinde unleashed his ‘boys’ on the local population of voters in a bid to manipulate the electoral process in favour of the PDP while the same thing played out at Osogbo, Osun state last year during the Zonal Congress of the Umbrella party. Also, it is an undeniable fact that a close ally and appointee of Gov. Makinde is the officer-in-charge of the violent elements who operate freely in parts of the state and they are responsible for the destruction of billboards, vehicles and other assets belonging to members of the opposition across the state.
“In view of the grave danger which the renewed acts of lawlessness and brigandage from the state government-backed political thugs portend to the smooth running of electioneering by different political parties as well as the free conduct of 2023 general elections, it is imperative for all the security apparatuses of the federal government operating in Oyo state to swing into action immediately and stop the dangerous activities of these thugs whose identities are not hidden to the general public.” Sadare stated.