The Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate in Lagos State for the 2023 polls, Dr. Abdul-Azeez Adediran, popularly known as Jandor, has appealed to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, to take measures to check incessant attacks on his campaign trains.
He called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Independent National Electoral Commission to intervene in the attacks.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Adediran’s campaign train had been attacked by political thugs in Badagry, Ikorodu, Agege, Kosofe and Surulere, leaving some of his followers wounded and vehicles smashed.
It was also reported that the attack on Friday in Surulere was the third in succession, where suspected hoodlums were said to have fired guns and destroyed some of the campaign vehicles in Adediran’s convoy.
Clearing issues around various attacks, Adediran, who spoke at a news conference in Alas area of Lagos State on Sunday, noted that his change of campaign strategies by going to the people through his ward tours to sell himself to them had exposed him and his followers to huge threats and harassment from political thugs.
He said: “I have constitutional backing to go everywhere to campaign for this election.
“Many of the people attacked are here because these attacks are not about me, but the people, hence the account we are giving now.
“At Surulere, the moment I stepped out of the mosque, these boys came and began to shout: ‘Where is Jandor?’ and started to shoot everywhere.
“I quickly entered my car and we drove away.
“The thugs hijacked one of our cars.
“Before we knew it, all our campaign vehicles were damaged and the party secretariat was also damaged.
“We still want the IGP to take these happenings in Lagos State very seriously.
“Police should please live up to its constitutional responsibility of protecting our lives and property.”
Adediran, who noted that his team had several times reported all the attacks to the police, said that there were video clips and pictures of the attacks.
He lamented that in most of the places, political thugs were also in the habit of harassing and dispersing people waiting to receive him.
Adediran explained that his running mate, Funke Akindele, was also chased out of the Fruit Market in Kosofe by thugs, while some others mounted a road block against his passage in the same council and resorted to hurling stones and bottles at him.
He added: “We will go out there and continue with our campaign.
“We don’t want anybody to harass us, we don’t want to be intimidated.
“I have been speaking to the people, interacting with artisans, professional and religious groups as well as various associations and stakeholders.
“We were attacked in Badagry, Agege, Kosofe and Surulere in Lagos.
“All these happened in Lagos.
“Our expectation was that the Chief Security Officer of the state would have addressed the people of Lagos and condemned the attacks in its entirety, but nothing of such happened.
“We believe that they (the ruling party) actually want to use that to scare us away from embarking in the ward-to-ward tour.
“We will forge ahead.”
Urging no one to twist the story, Adediran said that his followers could not have attacked the people he wanted to sell his manifestoes to, as was being alleged.
According to him, his team will not succumb to any threat from anywhere, but will go out and engage the people at the grassroots, telling them what he would do differently if elected.
Adediran said that political actors should not resort to violence but allow the people of the state to select their leaders.
Stressing that the party had written an official petition to the IGP on the attacks, Adediran urged the police to do the needful.
Also speaking, Aduke Akinde, a PDP leader at Iponri in Surulere, said that party members were preparing and waiting to receive Adediran and his team when masked political thugs drove in and destroyed the rented canopies and chairs on Thursday.
In her comment, Idowu Adeniyi (Iyalaya), a trader at the fruit market in Kosofe, who is a PDP member, said that since the foiled attempt of Akindele to campaign in the market, the authorities had not allowed them to enter their shops.
Adeniyi said: “Up till now, no opportunity to enter the market.
“We plead for help.
“We are being threatened since Tuesday.
“Our fruits, apples and bananas must be rotten now.”
In his remarks, Pastor Philips Aivoji, the Lagos State Chairman of the PDP, said that there were so many other attacks on PDP members in the state not reported in the media.
Aivoji, who noted that many PDP members in rural places were being threatened, said that election should not be a do-or-die affair.
He said: “These cannot deter us.
“We will continue to forge ahead because we believe we are on the side of the people.
“We are not going to be intimidated.”
Reacting to the alleged attacks in a statement on Saturday, Seye Oladejo, the Lagos State Publicity Secretary of the APC, accused Adediran of unleashing terror on innocent residents in the course of his campaign in Surulere.
Oladejo condemned the resort to violence on the citizens of the state in the name of electioneering.