Thugs suspected to be loyalists of All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Ize-Iyamu Osagie and that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s flag bearer, Godwin Obaseki, clashed around the palace of the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II on Saturday.
It was learnt that there was an exchange of gunfire by the loyalists of the duo, leading to destruction of vehicles while several persons sustained injuries.
Onolememen Obaseki and other PDP governors, who were in the state for the flagged off of his re-election, were at the palace on a courtesy visit to the Oba of Benin when the incident happened.
It was gathered that the crisis started when supporters of Obaseki were chanting pro Obaseki slogans while those loyal to the APC candidate, who were at the palace waiting for some APC chieftains allegedly invited to a function at the palace, were also chanting slogans to disparage the governor.
It was further gathered that after the governor and his entourage had left the palace, the loyalists engaged in a fight, with the APC – who were more in number – having the upper hand.
It was learnt that the loyalists of PDP then ran to the Ogbe Stadium, the venue of the flag off of the campaign and informed their members who stormed the ring road area to engage the APC supporters.
Source told our reporter that several persons on both sides were injured while many vehicles were destroyed.
It however, took the intervention of the police to bring the situation under control. Speaking on the clash between supporters of the APC and PDP, governor Obaseki warned his supporters not to retaliate but conduct themselves in a peaceful manner. “We do not want bloodshed. “Do not retaliate for us. “What they are trying to do is to scare the people,” Obaseki said.
Meanwhile, efforts to get confirmation from the state police spokesperson, DSP Chidi Nwanbuzor, was unsuccessful as calls put across to him were not answered.