Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti
APC aspirant and former member of House of Representative, Opeyemi Michael Bamidele (MOB), and one yet to be identified party member, were on Friday shot by a mobile policeman, who had allegedly misfired shortly after a rally organised by the party to welcome candidate for governor, Kayode Fayemi, for the July 14 poll.
What had first been misunderstood as deliberate shooting at the APC Secretariat in the Ajilosun area of Ado Ekiti, where the welcome rally held, was later determined to be a case of mishandling of firearms by a mobile policeman, who was alleged to be “over protecting” VIP guests shortly after the end of the rally.
Journalists had hardly left of the rally venue when sporadic gunfire were heard, leading to many scampering for safety in different directions.
The gunshots sprayed into all directions, mostly towards the ground. In the process, an APC aspirant, Bamidele, was hit on his side. He has reportedly been hospitalized for surgical treatment.
It was gathered that the mobile policeman who had allegedly mishandled his weapon had been detailed to protect some VIPs who were almost mobbed by a crowd demanding money from them.
An eyewitness said: “The mobile policeman, in his effort to protect the VIPs, was using his gun to push away the crowd; some members of the crowd got annoyed and dragged the gun with him. It was then he shot sporadically in the air, to scare them away.”
Another eye witness said: “The mobile policeman in question who allegedly mishandled his gun was mobbed by angry party members who eventually disarmed him. He was said to have been behaving funny earlier in the day, leading to some of his colleagues urging him to surrender his weapon. Some had even alleged that he was probably drunk.”
Meanwhile, the yet to be identified mobile policeman was terribly beaten by the angry, and is feared dead.
The rally, which attracted a large crowd of party supporters and admirers across the state, started on a good note from Akure, capital of Ondo State, before it turned horrible.
Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, Kayode Fayemi and former Minister of Works, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, who were in a long convoy of vehicles, had gone up to greet party leaders at the APC secretariat and were descending the stairs when the policeman suddenly fired warning shots to scare the gathered throng.
Bamidele was immediately hauled into the car conveying the Ondo governor and driven to the hospital, while the other victim collapsed on the ground, many speculating that he must have died.
Leading up to the incident, Fayemi and his entourage were received in Ikere Ekiti by long convoy of vehicles and large crowd of party supporters, which caused a serious traffic snarl along Ado–Akure road.
Before the violence, Akeredolu and Fayemi, while addressing party members, said he had come home to rescue Ekiti from the pangs of poverty and wanton neglect purportedly caused by the PDP administration.
Akeredolu applauded party members for putting behind them the post-primary crisis, saying he was encouraged by the size of the crowd that Ekiti remains a stronghold of the APC.
“Fayemi has returned with full force to reclaim the land. He needs your support and this task shall be achieved in the mighty name of God,” he announed.
In his response, 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.”
Tactically referring to the just defected former Minister Adeyeye, Fayemi said: “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.”
In his contribution, Adeyeye, who returned to the party on Tuesday after twelve years in the PDP, said: “I have returned home and my mission is to ensure that we kill Fayose politically by burying him.
“We shall mobilize well to achieve this task and, by the grace of God, this is a must-win and must accomplished task for all of us,” he added.
Fayemi’s deputy governorship candidate, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, was also in the entourage, among other party leaders.