The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole on Sunday gave his account of weekend’s fracas during the first convocation of Edo State University, Iyamho.
He accused Governor Godwin Obaseki with whom he has been having a running battle and Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu of master-minding the attack on him and his guests.
He reiterated that the attack was organised to embarrass him at his country home – where the university is located.
He said having served as governor for two terms, he cannot be described as Obaseki’s rival.
Oshiomhole and his guests – the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu; Chairman of Honeywell Group, Mr Oba Otudeko; and the Vice Chancellor of Edo University, Iyamho, Professor Emmanuel Aluyor – were attacked at his residence, shortly after the convocation.
The national chairman said he had intelligence, which he shared with the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), that the deputy governor had mobilised 1,000 persons to the university to cause mayhem, boo and jeer at him.
He said the show of shame was embarrassing to the guests, particularly Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele, who delivered the convocation lecture.
Speaking at a news conference in Abuja yesterday, Oshiomhole said: “I decided that I should use this medium to speak of the unfortunate incident that happened in my community yesterday (Saturday) after the convocation ceremony at the Edo University. It was my decision to invite the Chancellor and his entourage including His Royal Majesty, Oba Akiolu, Oba Otudeko and other dignitaries.
“I personally invited them to join me for lunch which they graciously accepted, and so, it is unthinkable that I will invite people for lunch, and I will make arrangements to disrupt or prevent my guests from coming to my house. So, any suggestion that I had an idea of what happened, nothing can be farther from the truth.
“When I discovered that something had gone wrong, I went to the gate and by then they had gone. I tried to speak with the governor. I called him, the phone rang out but at least I was able to speak with the Chancellor and his wife and I am happy that they fully understood. However, this whole thing was unfortunate because it was organised by the state government.
“By Thursday evening, and you can crosscheck with the IGP. I had information that the Deputy Governor asked some people to organise 1, 000 people to the university community. The whole idea was for them to boo me and celebrate it in the media that the comrade-chairman was booed in his own community. The CBN Governor who delivered the convocation lecture was also a witness.”
He added: “The CBN governor was not invited to address a rally. He was invited to deliver a convocation lecture and he wasn’t going to talk to those thugs who were wearing all kinds of inscriptions. They didn’t come for a political rally.
I conveyed the message to the IGP to prevent thugs being imported to the place by the deputy governor. Some few minutes later the governor arrived and Mr. Emefiele went to him and said to him, ‘what are these people doing here?’
“He said Mr. Governor, if those people were there, he wasn’t going to deliver the convocation lecture because he didn’t come to do politics, he just came to perform a normal intellectual activity which was the convocation lecture. The governor promised to get the people out of the university. You can imagine, it is easier to mobilise thugs into a place, but it is far more difficult to demobilise them. So, we had to meander into the auditorium where the lecture was to be delivered and, of course, you could hear all sorts of slogans and counter-slogans.
“This was exactly what they had planned and the whole idea was they would have their cameras waiting. As I step out, people will be booing me and the media will report that Oshiomhole booed when he attended the convocation ceremony. That was the whole idea.”
The deputy governor on Saturday denied having a hand in the attack on guests at the chairman’s residence.
His spokesman, Mr. Musa Ebomhiana, said: “The large crowd that gathered at the gate brutally attacked the governor’s convoy, destroying three cars in the process. The convoy had to quickly turn and came back to the varsity campus. So, how did the DG cause it, could he have arranged his own attack?
“In fact, they were there on the invitation of the Comrade himself.”