There was a minor altercation at the central Eid prayer ground in Osogbo on Wednesday when aides of the Osun Governor clashed with former Senate spokesperson Senator Ajibola Basiru over seating arrangements.
The incident caused a disturbance at the Eid ground, preventing State Governor Ademola Adeleke from performing the two raka’at prayer rites at the venue.
Senator Ajibola Basiru, accompanied by a prominent religious leader in the state, Chief Tunde Badmus, arrived at the prayer ground in the Oke-Baale area of the state capital and occupied seats in the front row.
However, some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), loyal to the Governor and local residents of Osogbo, confronted the Senator and requested that he vacate the space reserved for the Governor in the front row.
Although the Senator moved from the spot, he insisted that, as one of the leaders, he always sat in the front row and would not be moved to another row.
The situation lasted for more than ten minutes and caused a commotion until the Governor and his entourage arrived at the ground.
Upon observing the situation, the Governor’s security detail prevented him from leaving his vehicle to participate in the prayers.
It was reported that an attempt to arrest the Senator was thwarted, and he subsequently left the ground with Chief Badmus after the prayer rites.
However, the Governor’s spokesperson, Olawale Rasheed, released a statement after the incident, claiming that the Governor had narrowly escaped an assassination attempt at the prayer ground.
Rasheed criticized Senator Ajibola for his involvement in the entire incident and stated that the Governor had instructed security personnel to apprehend those responsibly.
“My good people of Osun, I appeal for calm and urge us to continue to celebrate the Sallah festival in peace. I am safe by the special grace of God.
“I have directed security agencies to arrest those behind the incident and get them to face the wrath of the law. The Commissioner of Police has been directed to arrest those involved, no matter how highly placed.
“The State Government had meanwhile condemned the orchestrated attacks on the Governor by stalwarts of the All Progressives Congress at the praying ground. Members of the public will recall an earlier security alert on an evil plot to destabilize the peace and stability of Osun state.
The government expresses profound shock and astonishment at the actions of former Senator Ajibola Bashiru, who unlawfully occupied the space designated for the Governor at the prayer ground. Despite numerous attempts, the government was unable to persuade the former Senator to relinquish the space.
Members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who advocated for respect towards the Governor’s office were subjected to physical assault. The scene became chaotic by the time the Governor arrived for the prayer.
Furthermore, the government was deeply alarmed to discover heavily armed thugs scattered throughout the prayer ground. Security sources indicated that these individuals were allegedly brought in with the intent to harm the Governor and other key government officials.
Upon the Governor’s arrival at the venue, he found himself practically surrounded by armed thugs, prompting the security personnel to quickly escort the Governor into his vehicle for safety.
“For the second time, the Governor attempted to enter the praying field, but the encirclement by armed thugs was already visible. It was at that point that the Governor had to leave the praying ground”.
In response, Senator Ajibola countered Governor Adeleke’s claim of an assassination attempt, deeming it illogical and completely unfounded.
He stated, “If anyone suggests that I, Ajibola Basiru, attempted to assassinate the Governor of Osun State, that person requires a psychiatric evaluation. I did not see the Governor today, and I am not even certain if he saw me. However, today (Wednesday), I was assaulted by PDP thugs led by Muniru Raji at the prayer ground where I was seated to pray. I did not encounter any official protocols, yet Muniru Raji brought thugs who demanded that I vacate the spot where I usually pray every year. I did not see the Governor, nor did I engage in any altercation. The thugs removed my turban and attempted to forcefully take me away, but the worshippers stood against them. If they claim that someone wanted to assassinate the Governor, it indicates that something is amiss with the Governor himself for allowing such a statement to be issued on his behalf.”
“I was invited by the police, and the Governor’s Chief Security Officer was present. The matter was resolved amicably. I am now back at my house, and I will be heading to Ila Orangun to celebrate with our leader, Chief Bisi Akande. We informed them that it was the Governor’s overzealous supporters who incited the trouble. There is a well-established seating arrangement for Muslim leaders, and I sat where I was supposed to sit. I did not witness any official protocol from the Governor, nor did I set my eyes on him. I had no knowledge that he was attending the Eid. The individual who issued that statement requires a psychiatric evaluation. The Governor should dismiss the person responsible for spreading that story.”
In the meantime, both the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), engaged in a blame game regarding the incidents.
The PDP, through its Chairman, Sunday Bisi, cautioned Senator Ajibola to monitor his behavior, warning that the party and the people of Osun State would not tolerate any attempts to disrupt the peace in the state. On the other hand, the APC Chairman, Tajudeen Lawal, held PDP hoodlums responsible for the attempted forceful removal of the Senator from the prayer ground while also criticizing the Governor for needlessly fueling tensions in the political landscape.