However, midway into the campaign rally at the Skypower Grounds, beside the Archbishop Vining Church on Oba Akinjobi Way in GRA Ikeja, a melee ensued as Ambode addressed the audience and made a case for Sanwo-Olu.
“People started running helter skelter and thugs armed with knives and cudgels began attacking themselves”, says Bayo, 31, who was right inside the venue when all hell broke loose.
A fight between NURTW factions
Video footage from the venue showed young men making a dash across the sandy ground with machetes and knives; and photo journalists lying on the deck as police pranced on the scene to fire live bullets into the dusty sky.
“What I seek from all of you is the continuous growth and continuity of this state”, Governor Ambode yelled through the public address system, as violence broke out before him and other dignitaries. “You guys should wait”, Ambode added, but no one was going to obey him at this point. The knives, cudgels and guns were well and truly out to halt his speech.
Pulse was told that factions of the Lagos State chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) were purveyors of the mayhem and that Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly referred to as MC Oluomo, was one of the fatally stabbed on the afternoon.
“MC Oluomo was stabbed twice with a poisonous knife called Makenje (which literally translates to don’t touch blood). All the VIPs were spirited out of the venue by security personnel. It was like a war zone with sophisticated guns and machetes on display”, one APC chieftain who was at the venue told Pulse on condition of anonymity.
A plot to settle political scores?
Another source told Pulse that the violence was orchestrated by persons who are still angry that Ambode was schemed out of the 2019 governorship race and disgraced, as Sanwo-Olu was settled for by the powers that be.
“It was well planned by top politicians. This was carried out by thugs loyal to Ambode’s camp. These thugs and the politicians who put them up to this are still angry that Ambode didn’t get a second term ticket. The plot was to disrupt the rally and turn attention away from the candidate Sanwo-Olu. And you have to say they succeeded to some degree”, says the source.
The legend of MC Oluomo
MC Oluomo wasn’t supposed to be rushed to the hospital after being stabbed, because he supposedly wears a spiritual armour that shields him from gun, knife and other dangerous weapons. Which was why the knife used to stab him was a poisoned one, Pulse was told. But he was expected to be inured from the venom of a poisoned knife, no less.
In other words, MC Oluomo was supposed to be 'unkillable'.
“The only way they could break through MC Oluomo’s skin was to poison the knife and as I speak with you now, native and medical doctors are battling to keep him alive by extracting the venom from his system. It's 50:50 for him now”, another APC source shares.
Another source tells Pulse that MC Oluomo is recovering in hospital after “doctors and two elderly jazzmen (native doctors) extracted the poison from his system.
“The man who stabbed MC Oluomo lives on Apapa Road in Ebute Metta. Forget what the Commissioner of Police is telling you”, the APC source offers.
Wanted for culpable homicide
The Lagos State Police Command has declared a chieftain of the NURTW, Mustapha Adekunle aka Seigo, wanted for the stabbing of MC Oluomo.
Lagos police spokesperson Chike Oti, says Seigo arrived the rally with a group of persons who went on to unleash mayhem as the rally progressed.
“However, at the tail end of the event, Seigo and his group, for a reason yet to be determined, violently engaged other supporters of the party. In the ensuing melee, one MC Oluomo, another NURTW chieftain, was stabbed and was rushed to Eko Hospital where he is currently recuperating, while two other victims of the attack were taken to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) for treatment. The crisis was quickly contained by policemen at the venue.” Oti stated.
The police has also declared Seigo a wanted man.
Oti says it is surprising that the thugs disrupted the rally even after Lagos Police Commissioner, Imohimi Edgal, held peace talks with various factions of NURTW before the event and extracted commitments from them to the effect that no one was going to disrupt the campaign rally.
“It was therefore surprising that a prominent member of NURTW would attempt to violently disrupt a peaceful political rally. In view of the development, the Command wishes to encourage members of the public with useful information on the whereabouts of Mustapha Adekunle popularly known as Seigo to report such at the nearest police station,” Oti added.
However, APC sources loyal to the Sanwo-Olu camp tell Pulse that the police is not pointing at the real culprits of the violence and stabbings.
“The Seigo they are declaring wanted is a close ally of MC Oluomo. How will Seigo stab his own close friend? The police is deliberately chasing shadows here. They should ask Kunle Poly and Agbede about the violence and not try to rope in an innocent Seigo who has no reason to stab his friend MC Oluomo”, one APC source says.
The reign of thugs
APC governed Lagos runs a patronage political system where motor park lords and street urchins extract rent from residents, political godfathers, motorists and the state government.
These motor park lords have louts who answer to them and who they often command to wreak havoc on their behalf.
Politicians in turn keep these thugs and louts, arm them and call on them during election season.
Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital, elects a new governor on March 2, 2019.