Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State and some members of his cabinet were hurriedly ferried out of the crossover party to herald year 2020 organised by the state government when suspected thugs disrupted the event in the early hours of Wednesday.
The event, which was held at the Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, Osogbo, ended abruptly some minutes to 1am, when some hoodlums started throwing stones towards the direction of dignitaries including the governor, his wife, Kafayat Oyetola, and Chief of Staff to the Governor, Dr Charles Akinola.
One person, whose name could not be ascertained as of the time of filing this report, was said to have been arrested by security agents in connection with the attack.
Other dignitaries at the event were the state chairman of the APC, Gboyega Famoodun; Secretary to the State Government, Wole Oyebamiji, and the Commissioner for Special Duties and Regional Integration, Lekan Badmus.
Before the event was disrupted, there were musical performances by various artistes and presentation of gifts.
But the programme was disrupted when some people, suspected to be political thugs, suddenly started hurling stones in the direction of Oyetola and other dignitaries.
An eyewitness simply identified as Kazeem, told our correspondent that some men bearing weapons were seen entering the venue of the party some minutes to 1am.
He said, “Governor Oyetola had already addressed the gathering and performers had come on stage to entertain the people. But few minutes to 1am, some men bearing weapons were seen entering the venue. Before long, they started throwing stones at the direction where dignitaries that attended the event were sitting.
“When the stoning became intense, operatives of the Department of State Services had to fire several shots into the air to disperse the crowd and move the governor and other dignitaries out of the venue. I had to run towards Olaiya Junction before I eventually saw a commercial motorcyclist that took me out of the area.”
It was also learnt that a suspect was arrested by the DSS operatives at the scene in connection with the attack as security agencies in the state were said to have launched probe into the matter.
When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Ismail Omipidan, said the governor was not attacked.
He said what was being regarded as an attack on Oyetola, was actually a clash between two rival groups outside the venue of the event.
The CPS stated, “It was not an attack on the governor and members of his cabinet. During festivities, there is always exuberance by the youth. Two groups were fighting outside where we were holding our programme.
“If it were to be an attack on the governor, I am sure by now, we would have heard that the governor’s security men shot two or three people in an attempt to rescue their principal.
“So, it was just some miscreants who were fighting outside where we were holding our crossover party. Immediately after we left the venue yesterday (Wednesday), we still went to the Ansarudeen Mosque, Sabo, where a prayer was being held to usher in the New Year.”
An Assistant Director of Operations, DSS, Osun Command, in an interview with our correspondent, said all enquiries into the matter should be directed to the Chief Security Officer to the governor. (The Punch)