*President escapes unhurt
*DSS warns on security
*Pelting shows Nigerians’ve rejected APC, says PDP
By Ezeocha Nzeh, Myke Uzendu and Daniel Tyokua
President Muhammadu Buhari was unhurt on Monday when the Ogun State All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential rally turned violent in Abeokuta.
The President escaped being hit by stones ostensibly pelted on the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomole, and other party officials.
Reacting to the development, main opposition Peoples Democratic Party said it showed Nigerians have rejected the APC.
The AUTHORITY gathered that as the crowd awaited the arrival of President Muhammadu Buhari, some people believed to be supporters of the governor of the state, Ibukunle Amosun, were seen chasing away supporters of the APC governorship candidate, Dapo Abiodun, from their seats.
Another account said the hoodlums were members of unnamed rival political party.
The victims scaled the fence
to avoid being harmed as the attackers threw dangerous objects such as stones, filled and empty plastic bottles, and sticks at them.
Our correspondent observed that the attackers, were armed with dangerous weapons and pounced on anyone wearing yellow attire, the colour code of Chief Abiodun and his supporters, leaving many of the APC supporters with injuries as they tried to escape from the attackers.
Some of the people hurriedly removed clothes and caps bearing Abiodun’s insignia and ran for their lives.
Due to the attack, all the seats earlier occupied by Abiodun’s supporters were vacated.
The programme, which commenced with the arrival of President Buhari at the MKO Abiola International Stadium, Kuto, Abeokuta, was suspended for some minutes following the violence.
Violence however erupted again when Oshiomhole was invited to the podium to address the party supporters.
As he began to speak, some people hauled stones at him and stones flew in the direction of the President but were blocked by eagle-eyed security operatives one of who took the hit.
The development angered the leaders of the party, including former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who left the podium while the President was making his remarks.
*Nigerians have rejected APC, says PDP
Reacting to the development, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) daid the public pelting and jeering at President Muhammadu Buhari and his APC chieftains is a direct response to the APC four years of misrule, expansion of poverty, corruption, divisiveness and bloodletting.
According to National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbodinyan: “It is instructive to note that Mr. President was pelted in Abeokuta barely 24 hours after his Zamfara state rally on Sunday, where he attempted to incite Nigerians to join the APC in their planned resort to violence to derail the 2019 general election, having realized that they stand no chance of winning the election.
“The people of Ogun state, and indeed, the South West, have shown that they are in direct alignment with other states and geo-political zones of our country in rejecting President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, whose administration has foisted so much injustice and brought unprecedented pain and anguish to Nigerians.
He urged President Buhari and the APC to read the handwriting on the wall and be ready to accept defeat after the election.
*DSS warns on security breach
Meanwhile, the Department of State Services (DSS) urged Nigerians to remain law abiding and observe the rules of engagement during the elections.
In a statement by Peter Afunanya, spokesperson for the Service, assured that DSS was committed to providing adequate security throughout the period of the electoral process.
He advised politicians and the youth to shun all acts of violence, and asked both local and international observers to keep to the fundamentals and principles of election monitoring as allowed by law and global best practice.
“Everyone is urged to conduct themselves properly before, during and after the elections and avoid actions that may cause breakdown of law and order.
“On its part, the DSS will professionally discharge its statutory mandate which, among others, is to detect and prevent threats and crimes against the internal security of Nigeria.
“Also, it will appropriately engage stakeholders. This is for the protection and success of the elections. Therefore, ensuring security that will make the electoral process noble and acceptable to participants and their supporters is uppermost to the Service.
“In this regard, the Service is determined to identify and arrest criminals and their collaborators whose activities are counter to the national objective of achieving peaceful and orderly elections.
“Similarly, the Service will not condone fake news, incendiary or hate speeches designed to whip up dangerous ethnic, religious and/or political sentiments capable of stoking the embers of violence.
Afunanya provided the following telephone lines and e-mail address (07055655591; 09030002189 and firstname.lastname@example.org) for use to reach the Service in case of emergency.