Barely eight days to the conduct of the Ekiti State governorship election, one person was reportedly shot dead by suspected political thugs during a clash between the supporters of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Social Democratic Party.
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 duel on Saturday.
Two persons who sustained gunshot injuries are now being treated at the Intensive Care Unit of the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti.
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 APC State Publicity Secretary, Mr. Segun Dipe; and the Director, Media and Publicity, Biodun Oyebanji Campaign Organisation, 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.
The duo claimed that the thugs besides shooting the dead member in the chest, also allegedly rained bullets on a vehicle belonging to the Special Adviser on Road Infrastructures to the Governor, Hon Rufus Adunmo.
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 preempt 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.