It was a gloomy Saturday at Omuo Ekiti, as three persons were shot dead during the House of Assembly bye-election in Ekiti East constituency 1 conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Two police officers, an officer of the Federal Road Safety Commission, a Corps member and a presiding officer, as well as one other, were also shot during the crisis and are now in critical conditions in the hospital.
Among those killed are a 52 -year old Bola Adebisi and 36-year old Tunde Ogunleye.
The election had just started barely two hours when violence erupted and forced voters, INEC officials and security agents to stop the election, as everyone had to scamper for safety.
The Senator representing Ekiti South Senatorial District, Senator Olujimi, said she narrowly escaped being shot as political thugs invaded her polling unit at ward 7 unit 007.
The federal lawmaker said she was snuck out of the polling unit by party supporters.
Besides shootings and killings, there were also reported cases of ballot snatching in Ward 9 unit 008 in the constituency.
Recounting how the crisis was triggered in her unit, Mrs Biodun Olujimi, said the election started peacefully before some APC thugs and compromised police officers started disrupting the voting process.
“The leaders of APC came to the polling unit, infact, we greeted warmly. After they left, some APC thugs who stayed behind pulled out guns and started shooting sporadically. This is the first time we would witness this. They picked the ballot box and ran away.
“A man died as he was trying to escape the scene. The policewoman guarding the ballot box was also shot in the head. The corps member and presiding officer at the unit were hit by bullets. In total, eight people were shot. Some dead and five are battling with their lives in the hospital receiving treatments”, she narrated.
Olujimi accused the leaders of APC of being the masterminds of the horrendous attack, saying they mobilised people from all over the state for the election taking place in just five wards.
A member of the House of Representatives and a native of the town, Hon. Femi Bamisile, described the shooting as appalling and unbelievable, saying no election is worth the blood of any Nigerian.
“In any election where people are being lost, that is no longer democracy. APC was fully prepared for this election and canvassed for votes and we never wanted to kill anybody. I really don’t understand how it happened. I didn’t want to believe that it was our party. The election started peacefully what could have erupted shootings and killings?”, he asked.
Regretting the extreme show of brutal force by political goons, the PDP candidate in the election, Mr. Akinrinade Adeniran, said the signal of war started manifesting on Friday night when his house and cars were allegedly riddled with bullets.
“They invaded my compound on Friday and smashed my car’s windscreens with gunshots. They also shot at the roof of my building. This is no longer a democracy. Democracy is the government of the people and the people should be allowed to make their choices through their votes”.
But a statement by the Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Sunday Abutu, said only six persons were shot.
“Today, some hoodlums attacked ward 7 unit 7 during the House of Assembly bye-election. In the process, six people were injured, among them were two policemen and one National Youths Service CorpsCorps(NYSC) member who are currently receiving treatment in Ikole General Hospital”.
Abutu said the State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemihas, however, given a directive that all the suspects involved must be apprehended and brought to book.