Armed men kill APC members in Ekiti rally, party fingers former House of Rep member as mastermind
By Akin Bolawole
Armed men in the convoy of Social Democratic Party, (SDP) in Ekiti State on Sunday shot and killed a member of the All Progressives Party, (APC).
Several members of the ruling APC also sustained injuries when armed men in the SDP convoy opened fire on members of APC killing Tope Ajayi.
Eyewitnesses said the armed men were with a former House of Representative member, Mr Bimbo Daramola who only recently decamped from APC to SDP.
In his reaction, the Biodun Oyebanji Campaign Organisation condemned the violent attack on members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Itaji-Ekiti on Saturday, which resulted in the killing of one APC member, Tope Ajayi, and many others sustaining severe injuries.
A statement signed by the Director of BAO Campaign (Media and Publicity) Chief Taiwo Olatubosun
made available to Irohinoodua said unspecified number of APC members are presently hospitalized where medical personnel are battling to save their lives following life-threatening injuries they received in the attack carried out by Social Democratic Party (SDP) thugs led allegedly led by a former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Bimbo Daramola.
One of the victims, Joshua John, who is presently at a critical condition at the State University Teaching Hospital, said he was tortured and shot in the leg in the presence of SDP candidate, Chief Segun Oni and Hon. Daramola.
The Oyebanji Campaign warned Oni and his supporters against further attacks on APC members saying the warning to SDP and its candidate became imperative against the background of similar murderous conduct in the past when Oni allegedly deployed thugs to attack opposition members in his alleged desperate bid to win governorship rerun poll in 2009.
The APC said its campaign procession in Ekiti North senatorial district was peaceful earlier in the day until it was disrupted by SDP thugs under the command of Daramola at Itaji-Ekiti which was carried out in broad daylight.
It was also reported that the attack on the deceased was carried out by violent thugs who arrived in one Toyota Hilux and Tacoma vehicle, and were seen taking instructions from Daramola who was present at the scene of the crime.
The APC claimed that the SDP thugs shot at many vehicles in its campaign procession including the one belonging to the Special Adviser on Roads, Hon. Sunday Adunmo also known as Galaxy during the what it described as an “unprovoked attack.”
The Director of Media and Publicity of the Biodun Oyebanji Campaign Organisation, Rt. Hon. Taiwo Olatunbosun, said “It is very disturbing that Daramola was seen by eyewitnesses personally leading thugs parading as security officials, and instructed them to shoot directly at our members in Itaji-Ekiti. He and others culpable of the breach of peace are to be held accountable.” Daramola, reported to have a predilection for violence and inciting statements, was until recently a member of the APC before decamping to the SDP.
Olatunbosun explained that the activities of the Biodun Oyebanji Campaign Organisation had been rancour-free and devoid of any violence since it began. “It is tragic that within one week of Daramola decamping to the SDP, we have recorded a spate of violence including an attack on our campaign rally at Oke Ayedun on Friday, and now the brutal killing of our member today, and the maiming of many others who are now battling for their lives in the hospital.”
Olatunbosun commiserated with the family of the deceased, and called on the security agencies in the state to investigate the incident thoroughly and ensure the perpetrators are brought to book, while calling on all APC members and the general public to go about their normal activities without fear.
“I assure all our peace-loving members and the good people of Ekiti State that despite the scheming of Bimbo Daramola and his newfound desperate cohorts in the SDP, the June 18 governorship election would be peaceful and the APC would be victorious”, he concluded.
The Oyebanji Campaign called on the Police to invite Daramola and other SDP henchmen to state all they know about the attack for justice to be done to the deceased and the injured and prevent a reoccurrence in days ahead.
The statement added: “The present sad incident in Itaji-Ekiti is not without precedents as can be cited in a chain of such dastardly acts by members of Oni’s party while desperately seeking to win governorship election in 2009.
“In his desperation to win 2009 rerun election, media were awash with reports of violent attacks on the opposition members allegedly sponsored by Oni in his desperate bid to sustain a fraudulent electoral victory to deny the actual winner of the 2007 election, Dr Kayode Fayemi.
“There were reports of Oni’s supporters mingling with imported thugs that invaded Ekiti State during rerun poll to unleash mayhem on the state. The unprecedented violent attacks led to the deaths of several of the then ACN members while scores were maimed for life.
“Oni’s supporters and thugs unleashed mayhem in Oye-Ekiti in 2009, leading to the deaths of many people, including Sodiq Musa, while Segun Ajayi lost his leg to shooting by alleged Oni’s thugs in Ido-Ekiti.
“Several members of observers groups, who were monitoring election in Ekiti to ensure transparency, were brutally attacked. Victims included Prof Abubakar Momoh of UNILAG and Fouad Oki, who offence was monitoring the poll to ensure compliance with the practice in the democratic world.
“In desperation for power, security men and journalists were not spared as well, as some of them received machete cuts and severe beating in the Government House in the hands of thugs that caused some of the journalists to pass out before they were resuscitated.
“Like in 2009, the SDP chief is on a familiar terrain again desperate to win the June 18 election by violence, including alleged killing of APC member in Itaji-Ekiti.
“Also during 2009 rerun poll, reports were rife of alleged Oni’s thugs mounting roadblocks with an alleged instruction to “delete” protesters blocking the road to demand transparent poll when it became apparent that Oni was allegedly in cahoots with some bad eggs in the then INEC to manipulate the poll in his favour.
“The death in Itaji-Ekiti is an addition to the statistics of politically-motivated fatalities allegedly traced to Oni in his desperation for power.”
The Oyebanji Campaign said it was in possession of intelligence that hundreds of thugs and youths had been armed with guns and other dangerous weapons across the state to cause mayhem accusing Oni of desperation to cause violence on election day to scare voters in areas where he is not popular.