In what has become almost a yearly occurrence for the past three years at least, a yet to be known number of Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, faithful in Kwara State have lost their lives during a scramble to receive handouts from the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Bukola Saraki.
While PREMIUM TIMES quoted a source as saying no fewer than a dozen people were feared dead on Wednesday night’s stampede, the state chapter of PDP regrettably announced the death of only four of its members.
Several others were also left with varying degree of injuries in the incident which occurred at a venue popularly called PDP Charity House, which is near Mr. Saraki’s Ilorin residence.
It was learnt that the peaceful and cheery gathering soon turned into a rowdy affair as indigent party members tried to outdo one another as Mr. Saraki, who currently represents Kwara Central in the Senate and other philanthropists distributed the yearly Sallah gifts.
The dead and the injured were packed into ambulances and taken to nearby hospitals.
In a statement on Wednesday night, the Publicity Secretary of Kwara PDP, Mas’ud Adebimpe, confirmed the incident and expressed the party’s condolence to families of the victims.
Mr. Adebimpe said, “The Peoples Democratic Party Kwara State chapter held its annual Sallah celebration at PDP Charity House where many party faithful were in attendance.
“The event which is an annual activity of the party went on smoothly until the unfortunate incident of a stampede, which led to some people fainting. They were immediately rushed to a hospital few blocks away from the venue.
“While some are currently responding positively to treatment, we however regret to announce that we lost four of our party members to the unfortunate development.
“Our prayers go out to the families of the deceased and we pray for the quick recovery of those that are responding fast to treatment.”
It would be recalled that in May 2007, during the yearly sallah gifts distribution by the Sarakis at the Mandate House, Ilorin, several persons lost their lives as they scrambled for rice and other items.
The same episode repeated itself in November 2010 when no fewer than 11 others died, but incidentally, only four deaths were confirmed by the Kwara government at the time.