The Chairman of Osogbo Progressive Union (OPU), an umbrella body for all indigenes of Osogbo, Alhaji Akeem Woleola, escaped death by the whiskers when some hoodlums attacked him and his members in Osogbo, last weekend.
Narrating his ordeal in the hands of the thugs, Woleola said about 70 of them stormed the venue of the special prayer which was organised by a member of the union and inflicted machete cuts on him and other members of the union.
Woleola who linked the attack to the current leadership crisis rocking the union and fingered a prominent indigene of Osogbo, as the sponsor of the attack on him and his followers, called on law enforcement agencies to investigate the incident thoroughly.
The OPU home branch chairman told journalists that the matter was reported at Dugbe Police Division and that a petition has also been forwarded to the police authority in Osun State, demanding justice on the matter.
He said: “We were at the special prayer organised by one of our members when the thugs descended on us all of a sudden. They were about 70 and they came with very dangerous weapons. I received a machete cut on my head while other members of OPU who were at the venue of the prayer with me also sustained various degrees of injuries.
“Of course, we are not oblivious of the motive of the attackers and we were able to identify their sponsor. The thugs told us that Alhaji Tunde Badmus who is popularly known as TUNS had paid for our lives to be snuffed out just because of the leadership dispute in the union.
“Therefore, we want the police to arrest the thugs that attacked us and investigate the matter properly,” Woleola added.
Reacting to the development, Special Adviser to Badmus on Media, Alhaji Dawood Ajetunmobi, said his principal was not involved in the controversy and that Woleola was not even attacked.
He explained that artificial blood was splashed on to mislead members of the public.
Ajetunmobi added, “The only logical explanation for this abnormal scenario is that an artificial (cow) blood is splashed on their clothes to present a wrong impression to the public. It then follows that, there was no any attack on him. Also, the composure of Mr Hakeem Woleola in the picture does not depict somebody who has just suffered an attack in the hands of thugs.”
The immediate past chairman of OPU, Alhaji Kasali Owolabi, condemned the attack on Woleola, adding that the manner people were using thugs to harass their perceived enemies is a dangerous trend that must be curtailed before it becomes a national security threat.
Owolabi said every sincere Osogbo indigene should be interested in the growth and development of the ancient city and shun violent acts and other uncivilised tendencies that could be inimical to the progress of Osogbo.
Also speaking on the incident, the Chairman of Osogbo Council of Elders, Pa Hammed Omidiran, also condemned the attack on Woleola and other OPU members and warned against such barbaric action.
Omidiran who is also the Asiwaju (leader) of Osogbo said when he received several complaints concerning the OPU crises, he summoned all the parties in the matter to a meeting and that an enquiry panel was set up to investigate the dispute and recommend the way forward.
Pa Omidiran expressed disappointment that some individuals did not wait for the panel of enquiry to present its findings before they took certain steps that prompted the recent attack on Woleola.
He advised all indigenes of Osogbo to unite and speak with one voice regardless of their differences.
Police Public Relations Officer for Osun State Command of the Nigeria Police, DSP Folashade Odoro, could not be reached but a police source who spoke under condition of anonymity, said investigation into the matter has already commenced.