Osun Governor Speaks on Attack, Blames Political Thugs

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Adegboyega Oyetola

By Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo

Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State has said that the attack on him Saturday cannot be planned by the youths who he said constituted over 60 per cent of the voters that elected him into office.

He said the youths had embarked on successful and peaceful road walk with the government several times in the past.

In his special broadcast to the people of the state on Sunday, the governor said it was political thugs and hoodlums that made the failed attempts on his life and those of his aides while identifying with youths who were engaging in legitimate protest against brutality of the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

According to him “the entourage and I joined protesters from Alekuwodo area to Olaiya Junction chanting solidarity songs with them and encouraging them along the way. During the course of my address to the protesters to reiterate our cooperation and support, political thugs hijacked the exercise and hurled stones and dangerous weapons at us and vandalised several cars in my convoy”.

He remarked that preliminary investigation revealed that the commando style with which the assailants carried out their attack was deliberate and pre-planned. He added that it was also evident that it was not the genuine protesters that carried out the violence.

He said: “Preliminary investigation further revealed that no live bullet or cannister of teargas was fired at the rampaging political thugs. Therefore, no life was lost at the scene of the incident. I was properly evacuated to safety.”

The governor stressed that regrettably, two lives were reportedly lost Saturday but none occcured during the attack on me. “One of the deaths which was caused by a lone motorcycle accident occurred around 12noon, long before I got to the protest ground”, he said.

Oyetola further said: “The second death was said to have occurred around Ayepe, about 5 kilometers away from Olaiya where we held the protest.”

“We sympathise with the families of the deceased and pray to God to grant them the fortitude to bear the great losses.”

“I have directed that the incidents be properly investigated with a view to ascertaining the causes of the deaths.”

Governor Oyetola opined that this week, the government would be setting up a Judicial Panel of Enquiry in line with the directive of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to investigate all related cases of abuse and brutality by the disbanded SARS saying the panel will also investigate Saturday’s attack.

He described what happened on Saturday has objectionable, unacceptable and a blight to the Omoluabi ethos that the State of Osun stands for.

He said that the “Osun youths who are the original #EndSARS protesters have travelled the long road of building a better Osun with us and we have been on the lane of delivering a better and prosperous Osun together. This assassination attempt could not have come from them.”

The governor also added that his administration had identified with the youths from Day One of the protest in the belief that protest was a legitimate right of the citizenry and a core component of democracy. He also noted that on day one of the protest, Senior Government Officials were at the Nelson Mandela Freedom Park to identify with and address the protesters.

He recalled that these senior officers of the government also addressed them at the Gate of the State Secretariat, Abere, on the fourth day to identify with the protesters, pledge government’s solidarity to their cause and promise to deliver their demands to the President. Those demands have since been met by Mr. President, he said.

He noted that the protesters had engaged in peaceful demonstration for the first two days before it was later hijacked in the last five days. Oyetola said government had cause to raise the alarm last Wednesday to the effect that the protest had been hijacked.

Earlier on Saturday, the governor remarked that the party, the All Progressives Congress, did raise another alarm that identified political thugs were seen brandishing dangerous weapons while following the protesters.

He described as unfortunate that Saturday’s protest which started peacefully was allowed to degenerate into a violent exercise and a huge danger to the lives and property of the people.

“We commit to the cause of our youths and the #EndSARS protesters and shall do everything to ensure that their demands are met,” he said.

He therefore urged citizens to be peaceful and to be law abiding as all efforts shall be made to protect them and their property.