JOHNSON OJO, Ado Ekiti
Following shooting that marred the grand rally organized for Dr Kayode Fayemi by All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State capital on Friday, a chieftain of the party, Hon Bamidele Faparusi, has described the sad event as a mere temporary setback for the APC.
Faparusi, a former governorship aspirant and member of the seventh House of Representatives, advised the ruling Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) not to perceive the sad event as the end of the battle.
He said the incident has made the APC members more determined to win the July 14 governorship election, adding that the only way the victims could get commensurate compensations, is for the party to triumph in the poll.
At the welcome rally, which kicked off in Akure, Ondo State capital via Ikere and ended in Ado- Ekiti, a prominent member of the party, Hon Opeyemi Bamidele and four others were shot by a policeman during a mob action necessitated by large crowd at the campaign ground.
In a statement in Ado Ekiti on Monday, Faparusi expressed regret that such a hugely successful rally that attracted mammoth crowd of APC supporters and admirers could end in such devastating fiasco.
Faparusi urged the security agencies to probe deeply into the incident to test the veracity of the claim made by the police that it was a case of accidental discharge.
“On behalf of my political family under the aegis of Itesiwaju Ekiti Movement, I pray that Hon Bamidele and those who were hit by bullets recuperate in due course and join our party in claiming the impending victory in the coming election.
“We viewed the shooting as very unfortunate and saddening. But I want to assure our people that it would only be a propelling force that would spur us to work hard and reclaim Ekiti from those who are voraciously plundering our commonwealth.
“It is disheartening that the PDP government of Governor Ayodele Fayose has succeeded in converting the entire state’s wealth into a family affair; this we must grapple to stop for Ekiti of our dream to come to fruition.
“The coming election shouldn’t be seen from the prism of individualism, for its goes beyond solitary battle.
“It is not about Dr Fayemi or APC, but about Ekiti’s collective destiny that was being pillaged by mediocre in government and there must be a rescue mission to put the state on the right track of development and economic prosperity.
“I want to charge our people not to be disillusioned by the gory event of Friday. They shouldn’t allow it to derail our focus, which was to reclaim the land and restore our values.
“We shall have a resounding victory on July 14, even in the face of the shenanigans and intrigues of Governor Fayose and those in his government”, he said.
Faparusi charged the party members to begin house-to-house and market –to-market aggressive mobilization to be able to muster enough strength to rout the PDP out of Ekiti in the next election.
Also on Monday, the Commissioner of Police (CP) in the state, Bello Ahmed, met with chairmen of political parties, warning them to abide by the rules governing the conduct of election to prevent anarchy in the state.
Ahmed said the command won’t fold its arms and allow people to breach the 1999 constitution and the Electoral Act in the name of election.
He said the meeting convened for stakeholders to brainstorm on how to ensure peaceful conduct of the coming governorship election and that the riot act has been read to them to serve as a guided principle.
The Police boss assured that his men will be neutral in the July 14 election and won’t do anything that would make them look as if they were working for a certain political party.
“What I want from men is professionalism. We are going to be guided by the instrumentality of the law, because this election is going to be a different ball game”.
On the deployment of more anti-riot policemen to Ekiti since last week, Ahmed said: “You know what is on the ground will determine what will be done. If the satiation on ground dictates we behave otherwise, we will do provided it is within the confines of the law.
“We are going to regulate every inch of activity in the state. We will not sit down and tolerate any act of lawlessness, whoever is involved. The police, we are willing, are competent to take action against any group or persons, either individual or groups as far as this campaign is concerned.”
The Chairman of APC, Ekiti chapter, Chief Jide Awe, described the meeting as a fruitful deliberation, saying the police boss spoke frankly and expressed his feelings about the comportments of political parties.
“The police boss spoke frankly and he told us to warn our supporters to respect the 1999 constitution and the Electoral Act and this we have to do in the interest of our dear state.
“We want to rule over living and not dead people, so we need to exercise restraint in the way we conduct ourselves”.
His counterpart in the PDP, Gboyega Oguntuase, a lawyer, said what the police boss preached at the meeting was civility and decorum from all political parties, which he assured his party, will stringently comply with.
“As much as we believe in this, he must also not be unaware of something; you can’t rig election and be expecting decorum.
“What our people will resist is corruption and rigging and once the police and other security agencies are ready to be neutral, then, there will be peace”.
Other chairmen at the party conceded to the idea that credible election must be conducted in Ekiti to avert crisis.
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