By Jethro Ibileke
Hell was let loose on Saturday, at the ever busy Kings’ square in Benin, Edo state capital, when supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and those of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), clashed.
The clash preceded the visit of the leadership of the PDP who were at the palace to pay homage to the Monarch, ahead of the commencement of the campaign flag-off of the party.
It was gathered that the immediate past national chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Captain Hosa Okunbo and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, were also at the palace for a royal function after the visit of the PDP leadership.
Eye witnesses alleged that supporters of the governorship candidate of the APC, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and those of the PDP governorship candidate, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, engaged in a shoot out around the Benin Monarch’s palace, Oba Ewuare.
It was further gathered that APC supporters and the PDP were chanting solidarity songs while the candidates were inside the palace of the Monarch for their respective functions.
Trouble started when Governor Godwin Obaseki was said to have stormed the palace and youths of the opposition APC, raised a song to disparage the Governor and his entourage.
In a reprisal, the PDP youths who were at the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium-venue of the campaign flag-off, were allegedly mobilised to the palace and all the adjoining roads around the palace.
Sounds of gunshot rented the air, with several supporters of both sides sustaining varying degrees of injuries, just as motorists and pedestrians scampered for safety.
Some motorists who were unlucky had their vehicles vandalised in the heat of the confrontation.
Most vehicles branded with the PDP and APC campaign logos were not spared in the attack.
It took the timely intervention of security operatives at the palace and others attached to the convoy of the VIP’s who include Edo billionaire, Capt Hosa Okunbo and the APC governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu to halt the violence