Former acting governor of Kogi State, Chief Clarence Obafemi yesterday narrowly escaped being killed as his vehicle was waylaid by armed robbers. According to an eyewitness account, Mr. Olafemi was returning to Lokoja, the state capital from his Mopa country home where he hosted friends and political associates when he ran into the robbers.
The witnesssaid the armed robbers numbering about 12, had flagged down the former governor’s vehicle at about 3.30 pm along the Kabba-Okene Highway and shot severally at his Sport Utility Vehicle, but he narrowly escaped.
His car windscreen was not so lucky as it was shattered by bullets just as some parts of the vehicle were also seriously damaged, but the occupants escaped unhurt.
Narrating his ordeal, Mr. Obafemi, a former Speaker of the State House of Assembly popularly as ‘Obembe’, said he had a premonition of the attack which prompted him to instruct his driverto be more alert while plying the road.
He said the robbers hid under the guise of motorists, whose vehicle had developed a mechanical fault but as they drew near, they proved to be highway robbers.
In the process of trying to avoid being robbed, the robbers shot at his SUV as his driver zoomed off.
The former acting governor, who was full of praises to God for sparing his life and that of his driver, however, called on the police to be more alive to their responsibilities of securing lives and property of Nigerians.
In an unrelated development, the former acting governor in his New Year message has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to do everything possible not to allow the PDP break into pieces.
Mr. Obafemi, who made this known in a press statement which he personally signed, said he had warned the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national leadership early this year that unless there was internal discipline, democracy and justice within the party, the party was bound to implode and break into pieces.
“A party which does not pay much premium on party leadership but rely on the dictates of political office holders, a party which has no internal cohesion and mechanism to resolve crisis is bound to collapse suddenly”, he added.
He said if the party had paid heed to his warning, the recent mass movement of political office holders from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) would have been averted, stressing that President Jonathan could still do a lot through genuine reconciliation to restore the lost glory of the party.
“We must strive for unity, genuine peace and total reconciliation; we need peace because a troubled Nigeria brings bad omen to the West African sub region, because if we run Nigeria aground, no country around us will be able to accommodate our refugees.
“Our leaders must at this stage be very cautious. Nigeria is bigger than any individual or political position, we must not destroy it”, the former acting governor warned.