The Osun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has criticized Governor Ademola Adeleke for his lack of response to the news of fatalities that occurred during this year’s Osun-Osogbo festival. The party alleges that the State government has not seen it necessary to release an official statement regarding the unfortunate incidents.
In an official statement released on Saturday in Osogbo and signed by its chairman, Tajudeen Lawal, the Osun APC conveyed its concerns. Earlier reported by DAILY POST, a violent clash during the festival’s grand finale in Osogbo led to the deaths of three individuals and left several others injured on Friday.
The party further condemned the involvement of non-state actors in militarizing the festival, resulting in these casualties. According to their statement, the situation leading to the deaths of the three individuals, who were suspected cult members associated with Governor Ademola Adeleke’s administration, stemmed from a power struggle between rival cult groups within the governor’s entourage.
The statement also revealed that two additional individuals drowned in the Osun River during the celebration of the festival’s grand finale. The Osun APC expressed surprise that even a full day after these incidents occurred, the Adeleke-led administration has not released any official statement addressing these distressing developments.
The statement from the APC chairman also criticized Governor Adeleke’s administration for its alleged association with armed thugs and its lack of condemnation for their violent actions, claiming that these thugs were involved in rigging past elections for Adeleke and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The Osun APC chairman called on the police and other security agencies to investigate the deaths, insisting that the Adeleke administration owes the people of Osun State an explanation for its silence on the matter.
The Statement Read: “A fact-check on the situation that led to the killing of the three persons who were suspected cultists loyal to the State Governor Ademola Adeleke-led administration indicated that it was a supremacy battle between two rival cultist groups on the entourage of the governor that brewed the ghastly violent attack.
“It was also discovered by a credible source close to the center of the event that two other persons drowned during the celebration of the grand finale of the annual Osun Osogbo festival at the Osun River yesterday.
“It was, however, strange that 24 hours after the killing of the suspected cultists and the drowning of two other devotees in the Osun River, the Governor Adeleke-led administration has not deemed it fit to issue an official statement on the unsavory development.
“I am not surprised that the Adeleke administration is sanguinary and violence-laden as the governor himself relishes in moving with armed notorious thugs across the State, mainly those who are on the Wanted List of the police.
“Adeleke could not condemn the brutal activities of the thugs as they were those who rigged the last series of elections for him and the other candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) where no fewer than 30 members of the APC were mowed down through the bullets of the PDP political hoodlums.”
Responding to the accusations, the State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Bankole Ojo, advised the APC to avoid engaging in petty politics and exploiting such incidents. He criticized the party’s attempts to connect confrontations among cultural groups at the event to Governor Adeleke’s administration, labeling it as a misguided endeavor that displays insensitivity towards human life.
Ojo clarified that while the festival was successful due to efforts by Governor Ademola Adeleke, the large crowd posed a challenge to security agencies, resulting in clashes between traditional groups after the cultural rites were completed.
“While His Excellency, Governor Ademola Adeleke did everything as acknowledged by several stakeholders in the culture and tourism sector in the country and beyond to make the annual festival exceptionally memorable, the tumultuous crowd that thronged this year’s event ensured a difficult time for security agencies to curtail the age-long rivalry between some traditional groups resulting in some open confrontations.
“Preliminary reports available to the ministry, which in turn will be forwarded to the His Excellency, the State Governor suggested that some groups of hunters and the Oodua Peoples Congress, most of whom are not residents in the State, took their traditional rivalry out of control just after successful completion of cultural rites at the festival groove. Both groups, we would recall, usually form a significant number of devotees at the annual event.
“While the State government and security agencies are spreading proper nets of an investigation into the matter, the blood-spilling opposition elements are already in town with insane figures of casualties. This is instructive for all discerning minds as to what their intentions are and what they might have done to infiltrate the colorful festival, which they stopped at nothing to destroy during their inglorious reign in the State,” he said.
The commissioner stated that the State government, in cooperation with security agencies, is investigating the matter and condemned opposition elements for circulating exaggerated casualty figures. He affirmed the government’s commitment to preserving the World Heritage Site status granted by UNESCO to the festival Groove in 2005, highlighting its significance as a cultural heritage site and tourist attraction.
“This is a legacy the current government is committed to preserve, not just as a cultural heritage of the good people of Osogbo as an ancient city, but also as an enviable tourist site amongst its peers in Nigeria and across the globe,” he noted.