It started as a case of two supporter-groups flexing muscles; then it descended into fight outside; and moved into the court premises; but now, the overwhelmed party appears to be whining after its prominent and not-so-prominent members were whip-lasged and attacked, forcing a court to shut down.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned what it describes as the violent attack on its members, including a notable leader of the PDP in Ogun State, Otunba Segun Sowunmi, journalists and other Nigerians on Monday by thugs it claims were mobilised by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to disrupt the proceedings of the Ogun State Election Petition Tribunal.
Earlier reports in the day said thugs allegedly loyal to the ruling All Progressives congress (APC) invaded and disrupted proceedings at the Tribunal currently sitting in Isabo, Ogun State
The court swiftly adjourned its hearing on the case filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the outcome of the March 18 governorship poll as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The incident took place despite the heavy presence of security agents at the venue and the road leading to the venue within the magistrates’ court premises at Isabo was condoned off security operatives.
Observers noted that a large number of persons believed to be political thugs were seen on ground to support their parties as the tribunal began sitting. Shortly before proceedings commenced, they were seen flaunting long canes as a minor clash broke out between APC and the PDP supporters
After an initial reluctance, security operatives, comprising the police, Department of State Services (DSS), and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), brought the situation under control and peace was restored.
Meanwhile, the PDP statement by Hon. Debo Ologunagba, it’s National Publicity Secretary reads further:”The PDP is aware that the attack by the APC is aimed at instilling fear, disrupting the proceedings of the Tribunal, creating a siege mentality on the people and the Judiciary so as to truncate the delivery of justice in the Petition filed by the PDP governorship candidate, Hon. Ladi Adebutu, against the manifest rigging of the Ogun State Governorship election in favour of APC candidate, Governor Dapo Abiodun.
“Information available to the PDP indicates that the hoodlums were mobilised by APC leaders who are in mortal fear that the APC’s manipulations and rigging in the Ogun State Governorship election will be exposed at the Tribunal.
“The attack by the APC is a direct assault on the institution of the Judiciary, the Election Tribunal and a serious threat to the sustenance of Democracy in our country.
“Our Party is distressed that the attack by the APC on our leaders and members, journalists and other innocent Nigerians reportedly occurred in the full glare of police operatives and other security agents, who were said to have made no attempt to arrest or stop the APC hoodlums from unleashing violence at the Tribunal. Such scenario is indicting on Nigeria’s security authorities which requires urgent attention.
“The PDP therefore calls on the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS) to direct an immediate investigation into the security lapses that might have paved way for such unchecked attack on the institution of the Judiciary and other innocent Nigerians at the premises of the Electoral Tribunal.
“Our Party, standing with the people of Ogun State, demands that those behind the attack must be tracked down and brought to book immediately especially as there are ample evidence from video recordings of this shameful and dastardly action by the APC sponsored hoodlums.
“The PDP however states that the people of Ogun State and the PDP will never be deterred or cowed by the APC to give up the legitimate and constitutional pursuit for the recovery of the mandate freely given to our Party and Governorship candidate in Ogun State, Hon. Ladi Adebutu, and nothing will change that resolve.
“Our Party also calls on all our members, supporters and people of Ogun State to remain calm but at alert and ready to use every means within the ambit of the law to resist the APC in its plots to disrupt the Tribunal and subvert the course of justice in the matter.”
At press time, neither the ruling APC administration of Governor Dapo Abiodun, not the Police had reacted to the fracas.