Edo State Deputy Governor, Dr. Pius Odubu, on Sunday narrated how he narrowly escaped death in the hands of suspected assassins in the Etsako West Local Government Area of the state.
Odubu, a governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress for the September 10 governorship election in Edo State, was reportedly attacked on Saturday by some armed thugs on his way to Auchi to meet with party delegates in the area.
The thugs were allegedly paid N1m to carry out the act.
Odubu, who is said to currently have a frosty relationship with Governor Adams Oshiomhole due to his governorship ambition, was said to have been denied access to the APC secretariat at Fugar on Saturday.
He was said to have left for Auchi and was meeting with some delegates when the suspected thugs suddenly appeared and opened fire on the gathering, leaving several persons injured, including a policeman and an operative of the Department of State Services.
Odubu, who spoke through the Odubu Campaign Organisation on Sunday, during a press briefing in Benin, said he had to be shielded inside a hall to avoid “direct bullet contacts”.
The campaign organisation added, “Surprisingly, at Auchi, the deputy governor and his team met with passionate, patriotic (and) huge number of delegates but no sooner had the meeting begun that gunmen opened fire outside the secretariat on both security men and members of the deputy governor’s entourage and delegates.”
It noted that although the attack was “orchestrated directly at his person” and geared towards disrupting the aims of the campaign, seven persons sustained varying degrees of injuries and were receiving treatment at the University of Benin Teaching hospital.
Speaking on behalf of the organisation, a former Minority Whip in the House of Representatives, Mr. Samson Osagie, listed the victims to include a DSS operative, Patrick Amakiri; his escort police commander, Inspector Agge Felix; and a driver, Zibiri Yakubu.
Osagie explained that preliminary investigation revealed three principal suspected masterminds of the attack.
He described the attack as an act of cowardice “perpetrated by those who dread a free, fair and credible democratic contest” and an attempt to compel the deputy governor “to quit the governorship race or be eliminated”.
Osagie called on the national leadership of the APC to intervene in the ongoing development in the state.
“This, to us, is the height of naked display of cruelty, animosity, acrimony, intolerance, gross irresponsibility and man’s inhumanity to man,” he added.
The leadership of the state chapter of the APC condemned the attack on the deputy governor, calling it “absolute madness”, which had become “endemic” in the party.
The state APC Publicity Secretary, Mr. Godwin Erhahon, stated this in a statement on Sunday.
Erhahon added, “I am not a member of any campaign organisation; I am not a supporter of any aspirant.
“Therefore, I am here to also condemn what happened yesterday at Auchi on behalf of all the APC members and leaders who are not yet infested with the ongoing madness that has become endemic in the party.
“What happened yesterday was absolute madness. I think we should pray for them (perpetrators) so that sanity can come into them, otherwise, they will end up destroying themselves.”