A home coming reception for the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in next month’s election in Ekiti State, Dr.Kayode Fayemi, turned bloody in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, last night.
A mobile policeman opened fire as Fayemi, surrounded by scores of party chieftains, was leaving APC’s state secretariat to move to the city centre in continuation of the rally.
A former member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Opeyemi Bamidele, and five other people were hit by bullets.
Bamidele was struck in the belly.
APC last night gave the names of the other victims as Olabode Joshua, Olanrewaju Gbenga, Adebayo Ogunjemilehin, Ogunmodede Oluwole and Alex Adeleye, and alleged that the real target was Fayemi himself.
Governor Ayodele Fayose said the attack was self-induced.
His spokesman, Lere Olayinka, said the bullet that hit Bamidele and others was “fired by one of the armed mobile policemen who accompanied Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State.”
The wounded people were rushed to the hospital for treatment.
The suspected policeman was overpowered and disarmed by angry party members who also gave him the beating of his life.
He was saved from possible death by his colleagues.
Police sources said last night that he was on an illegal duty.
Confusion enveloped the scene as bullets rang out and people ran for dear lives.
Moment before the shooting, Fayemi had driven to the premises in the company of his wife, Bisi.
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State; his running mate Chief Bisi Egbeyemi; former Minister of State for Works, Prince Dayo Adeyeye; Secretary to the Ondo State Government, Mr. Ifedayo Abegunde and other senior party figures had all accompanied Fayemi from the Akure Airport to Ekiti State where they were received by a massive crowd.
The suspect was seen helping to keep the surging crowd at bay when the unexpected happened: he began shooting in the direction of Fayemi and other dignitaries.
Suspect was on illegal duty –police sources
Police sources said last night that the suspected policeman was on illegal duty.
However, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Ekiti State, Mr. Caleb Chukwuemeka said a detailed report of the incident was still being compiled.
Handling the assignment is the Assistant Commissioner in charge of the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID).
Chukwuemeka promised to get back when the official report of the incident gets to his table
A senior officer at Ekiti State Command who asked not to be quoted denied speculation that the culprit was a fake officer.
But he said the suspect was on illegal duty in Ekiti State.
“The man who fired gunshots at the APC secretariat is not a fake MOPOL officer. He is a genuine officer, but he came to Ekiti on illegal duty,” the source said.
“He is attached to MOPOL 20 in Lagos but followed a politician to Ekiti.
“He is not on official duty to Ekiti. He is receiving treatment at a secured environment and investigation continues.”
It was an assassination attempt on Fayemi, says APC
In its first reaction to the shooting, the State Chapter of the APC said Fayemi was the main target.
It alleged that four gunmen had mixed with the crowd to carry out the attack.
Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr.Taiwo Olatunbosun, who spoke for the party said: Bloody politicking returned to Ekiti State today as former Governor Kayode Fayemi survived assassination in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital.
“Fayemi resigned his appointment on Wednesday as the Minister of Mines and Steel Development and was returning to Ekiti State on Friday in a welcome party planned by his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“It was a smooth ride from Akure Airport to Ikere-Ekiti where thousands of supporters came out to give him a rousing welcome.
“Ikere-Ekiti journey to Ado-Ekiti, a distance of about nine kilometres, lasted two hours in a heavy traffic that was punctuated by four gunmen suspected to be agents of the state government who strategically positioned themselves at the party’s secretariat in Ado-Ekiti for the attack.
“One of the assailants dressed in mobile police uniform was apprehended and he is now helping the police in their investigation.
“They fired gunshots aimed at Fayemi but hit a former lawmaker, Opeyemi Bamidele, after the former minister had taken a few steps forward before the bullets hit the target.
“Bamidele and other victims were immediately rushed to the hospital where doctors are treating them.
“Bamidele was wounded in the attack while others also sustained various degrees of injuries.
“Other victims in the hospital included Olabode Joshua, Olanrewaju Gbenga, Adebayo Ogunjemilehin, Ogunmodede Oluwole and Alex Adeleye.”
We’ll rescue Ekiti –Fayemi, Akeredolu
Earlier, Fayemi and his entourage were received by the state APC executive led by the Chairman, Chief Olajide Awe.
Akeredolu and Fayemi, while addressing party leaders and members, declared the readiness of the APC to rescue Ekiti from poverty, hunger and underdevelopment.
Akeredolu applauded the party members for putting behind them the post-primary crisis, and declared that if the crowd he saw yesterday was anything to go by, Ekiti remains a stronghold of the APC.
“Fayemi has returned with full force to reclaim the land,” he said.
“He needs your support and this task shall be achieved in the mighty name of God.”
Fayemi said: “We are here to work for Ekiti and our party leaders and this we are going to do together because it is a collective responsibility.
“We are going to work with everybody, including those who just decamped to our party, because we are one big family in APC.
“We shall win by the grace of God. Our case was like the case of a ram who moved backward to garner more strength. We are here to rescue Ekiti and it is a task we must achieve.”
Adeyeye, who joined the APC on Tuesday after 12 years in the PDP, said: “Fayose (Governor Ayodele) is politically dead and buried.
“I have returned home and my mission is to ensure that we kill Fayose politically by burying him.
“We shall mobilise well to achieve this task, and by the grace of God, this is a must-win and must accomplishd task for all of us.”
Thousands of people waved as Fayemi’s motorcade passed through Akure, Iju, Itaogbolu in Ondo State on the way to Ekiti State.
A massive lockdown soon ensued at Oke Osun, Odo Oja Oke’kere areas of Ikere where thousands of party faithful had gathered to welcome the flag bearer into the state. The convoy arrived Ikere township at about 3.00 pm.
It took another one hour for the train to reach Ado-Ekiti where a crowd was waiting to receive Fayemi and his team. They arrived the state capital at about 4.00 pm.
Enthusiastic residents held placards, banners and flyers with Fayemi’s portraits.
The Hausa, Ebira, Igbo and Urhobo communities, members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), market women and commercial motorcycle riders joined in the reception party.
Traffic was at a standstill along Ikere Road in Ado-Ekiti for about three with party members holding party on the highway.
Fayose: Blame APC for attack
Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State last night accused the APC of causing yesterday’s bloodshed.
Fayose in a WhatsApp message by his Special Assistant on Public Communication and New Media, Lere Olayinka, alleged that suspected APC thugs backed by armed policemen caused mayhem at Ojumose area of Ado-Ekiti.
He said: “Bloodshed in Ado-Ekiti now as Fayemi and his APC invaded Ekiti with thugs.
“Shot fired by one of the armed mobile policemen that accompanied Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State hit Hon. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele.
“APC thugs backed by policemen were also on the rampage at Ojumose area of Ado-Ekiti.
“One of the canisters of teargas fired by the policemen hit a woman in a taxi just now, injuring her seriously. The late Prince Adegoke’s house was invaded by armed policemen.”