The Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, has described Sunday’s police attack on a political rally in Ado Ekiti, as a ploy to assassinate him. While speaking to journalists in Ado Ekiti on Monday, the governor said men of the mobile police unit, allegedly led by their commander, Gabriel Selekere, deliberately carried out the attack in order to kill him.
Mr. Fayemi, alongside other party members, was allegedly shot at with tear gas canisters and live ammunition during the rally around the Ijigbo roundabout in Ado Ekiti. A supporter of the governor, Taiwo Akinola, died of a bullet wound sustained during the fracas.
“I am still trying to understand what happened. My immediate interpretation is that there was an assault on the government and people of Ekiti State. If one was to be extreme in one’s interpretation, one could even go as far as saying it was an assassination attempt against the governor of the State,” said Mr. Fayemi.
He told reporters that he would personally go to Abuja to take up the issue with President Goodluck Jonathan and the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar.
“I am going to Abuja to see Mr. President and the IG right away so I wouldn’t want to jump to any conclusion. I have spoken to the relevant people in authority and I believe appropriate steps will be taken. The peace that this state has enjoyed in the last three and a half years must be sustained, and I will like to think that all in authority, right from Mr. President to the Chiefs of the Security agencies, will not want the peace and tranquility of Ekiti to be in any way disturbed by irresponsible behaviour on the path of law enforcement agents,” he said.
Mr. Fayemi said that the attack was also meant to intimidate the people of Ekiti so that they would not come out to vote. He, however, added that no amount of intimidation could cow the “resilient and determined people” from exercising their franchise.
“My word of encouragement is that this will not deter our people. Our people are resilient, determined and they will vote in this election. If their agenda here was to ensure that our people are intimidated and cowed into staying at home so as not to come out on the day of election, then it has failed because our campaigns will go on. This morning, I believe the youths are on the street. We shall not be intimidated by this because it is about the mandate of the people, and for now, we are the one holding the mandate and we will protect the mandate with everything, every fibre in us,” he said.
Mr. Fayemi also condemned the police for harassing journalists who were at the scene of the incident describing the police’s action as “undemocratic and sad.” He said he feared that the constant intimidations and harassments, barely two weeks to the election, might lead to a complete breakdown of order in the state. He called on the police authorities to investigate the incident and take appropriate steps in the interest of peace.
“I don’t know of anywhere in this country where you have experienced what we experienced yesterday. Unprovoked attack, innocent citizens, even the Chief Security Officer of the State – these take us back to the debate that we have consistently insisted on that unless you have a multilevel security structure, you cannot respond to the challenge of insecurity in Nigeria because this bad behaviour has to be addressed and I will like to think that those in authority will have to do their best to address the issue.
“We are not particular about the removal of any police officer in Ekiti. However when you have a situation in which a police officer exhibits consistent blatant bias in the discharge of his duty, then clearly the authorities themselves should do the needful. They know what to do when that is the situation. In the case of the OC Mobile who was there yesterday ordering the teargasing of my convoy, I believe the authorities will take the appropriate measures. I don’t want to dwell on individuals. I think it is the structure of policing itself that we should address; that could make it possible for a low superintendent of police to behave this badly,” he said.