Two factions of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State engaged in a bloody clash in Offa town on Sunday.
The scuffle was between two groups in the party — one loyal to the state Commissioner for Water Resources, Femi Agbaje, and the other to the senator representing Kwara South, Lola Ashiru, both indigenes of the town.
Mr Agbaje, who started a weekly ward tour in the town last week, repeated the same on Sunday before it turned bloody.
The two camps engaged in a fight that led to gunshots, before many scampered for safety.
Two people sustained severe gunshot injuries and were rushed to different hospitals.
While one was admitted at General Hospital in Offa, another was taken to Gentleman Abdulsalam Memorial Clinic but later referred to General Hospital in Ilorin, the state capital, owing to the severity of the injuries.
The commissioner had earlier dared his political rival in the town during a radio programme monitored by our correspondent.
Although he refused to mention names, his description of an elected official who had spent two years in office, perfectly points to Mr Ashiru.
“Some fools sat down and said Femi White should not go out for campaigns or ward tours.
“They still have the chance to perform. We voted for you. I cannot campaign with you and after you are elected, you don’t fulfil the promises we made to the people and you expect me to praise you. I can’t,” he said on-air, subtly throwing a jab at the senator.
He said the initiative of the weekly ward tour is not his but of indigenes of the town appointed into various offices who want to ‘give back’ to their constituents.
However, in his reaction, Mr Agbaje’s media aide, Azeez Idowu, said his principal had no hand in the violence that erupted.
“A weekly ward tour was hitherto organised by the Offa political appointees in Offa local government area, consisting Hon. Femi Whyte, Mallam Abdulmajeed Abdullahi and many others, who, with their followers go round the Wards in solidarity support for the governor.
“The ward tour, since its commencement last Sunday, had been calm, peaceful and without any hitch, until this Sunday (20th June), when the peaceful gathering was invaded by the political thugs and hoodlums, masterminded by one Kanjuko, in an attempt to disorganise the peaceful gathering.
“The thugs, believed to be working for some politicians, stormed the gathering with a white Honda Accord (Baby Boy), said to be owned by one Agbeti and started throwing broken bottles on the lovers of Hon. Femi Whyte,” the statement read.
He also confirmed that some of the injured were receiving treatments at the general hospital, Offa.
As of the time of filing this report, our reporter could not get the comments of Mr Ashiru as his known telephone number was switched off.
When contacted on Monday, the spokesperson of the police in the state, Ajayi Okasanmi, said he was not aware of the incident and would reach out to the appropriate quarters.
The protracted crises rocking the state chapter of the APC and its likelihood of ruining the party’s chances of a second term.