Just 192 hours to go to the Ekiti State Governorship election and two members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were reportedly shot dead by suspected political thugs during a clash between the supporters of the ruling party the APC and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) on Saturday, June 11.
The deceased was among the three persons allegedly shot at Itaji, Oye Local Government Area of Ekiti State, when supporters of former Governor Segun Oni of the SDP and Biodun Oyebanji of the APC, had engaged themselves in a gun battle this afternoon and were treated at the Intensive Care Unit of the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.
The rival political parties had started engaging in a blame game over the incident, in an attempt to extricate themselves from the violent act.
The Ekiti State Ekiti State Publicity Secretary, Mr Segun Dipe; and the Director, Media and Publicity, Biodun Oyebanji Campaign Organisation (BAO), Taiwo Olatunbosun; said those affected were allegedly shot by SDP political thugs, who swooped on a faulty campaign vehicle belonging to the APC candidate between Itaji-Ekiti.
Besides thugs shooting, it was also alleged that there were gunshots at a vehicle belonging to the Special Adviser on Road Infrastructures to the Governor, Honourable Rufus Adunmo.
A member of the BAO Campaign train who withheld identity in tears said, “Engineer Segun Oni and Bimbo Daramola have murdered sleep. Two APC members were killed today at Itaji-Ekiti in a peaceful rally in the town when Segun Oni and Bimbo Daramola’s thugs opened fire and killed these two innocent souls. In fact, this is an act of brigandage taken too far. Nobody has a monopoly on violence. BAO is a man of peace and he has been preaching peace saying no blood of Ekiti man or woman is worth splitting because of the election.”
The APC spokesperson, Segun Dipe, called on the police and other security agencies, to arrest the perpetrators for peace to reign in Ekiti before and during the poll.
“We were attacked, but we will not be daunted. We refused to be provoked. The hands of the law will catch up with whoever was the mastermind. we will not allow them to derail what is happening in Ekiti.
“The peace of Ekiti should not be tampered with. We now see the people opposed to peace in Ekiti, who have been creating mayhem in Ekiti.
“As I speak with you, we are at the Ekiti State Teaching Hospital. The dead member had been deposited in the morgue while the two injured are at the ICU section of the facility. This is not the kind of election our people deserved.
“We know the hands of the law will catch up with them. Desperation will not give you anything. I will not want to pre-empt the investigation that is going on. Our member was killed. APC member was killed,” he said.
Countering the position canvassed by the ruling APC, the Director of Media and Publicity, Segun Oni Campaign Organisation, Jackson Adebayo, said the APC should be held liable for the alleged heinous crime.
Adebayo said: “We were at the palace at Itaji Ekiti where Asiwaju Segun Oni was meeting with Obas in the local government area. some people were outside the palace, suddenly we saw about five buses loaded with transporters who are being used as political thugs associated with Governor Fayemi and the APC.
“They started shooting sporadically. we initially thought they were shooting to scare us away; people were running helter-skelter without knowing that they really targeted our members to kill.
“They were also trying to force their way to where Engineer Segun Oni was may be in an attempt to assassinate him. That was when they were repelled by security agencies who came to the rescue and repelled them.
“But unfortunately, one of the thugs missed their vehicle because he fell down. We interrogated him and he said they were agents of APC. They left, we learnt one of them died later, but I would not know how”.
Speaking on the killing, the Police Public Relations Officer, Ekiti Command, Sunday Abutu, said: “there was a clash at Itaji-Ekiti between opposition parties’ members and that investigation to unravel what transpired and the number of casualties, as well as the possible arrest of culprits, have commenced.”
Abutu said the police, had, however, quelled the bedlam and restored normalcy to the beleaguered town.
“But on the killing of a person, we are yet to get that confirmation. As soon as that is done, I will update the press”, he stated.
It can be recalled that the Chairman of the Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers, his royal majesty Oba Gabriel Ayodele Adejuwon FCTI the Adetila Ilufemiloye 1, the Onisan of Isan-Ekiti appealed to politicians involved must conduct themselves peacefully.
“On behalf of the Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers, I’m appealing to politicians to conduct the election peacefully in line with the laws of the land.
“I appeal to all-dominant political parties in the State, to rein in their members and conform to rules guiding the game to avert violence and bloodshed in the state.
“Give Peace a Chance no election is worth the blood of any Ekiti man, urging the politicians to gauge their temperaments and curtail their excesses in the interest of the populace. You should let your campaign be issue-based not condemning others. Let the voters know what you have as your agenda for them,” Oba Adejuwon said.
The monarch ended his statement with a stern warning saying, “ELECTION SHOULD NOT BE DO OR DIE, VOTE NOT FIGHT, ELECTION NO BE WAR AND EMBRACE PEACE.”