Governor Yahaya Bello said on Tuesday that the violence that erupted in Lokoja on Monday was instigated by his arch political rival, Dino Melaye.
In a statement early Tuesday, Mr. Bello said the “unfortunate incident” was capable of reversing the state’s “lofty strides” in security and economic development, promising to ensure that all promoters of violence, their social status notwithstanding, were thoroughly contained.
At least two persons were feared killed Monday after a political rally attended by Mr. Melaye turned violent in Lokoja, the state capital.
The Kogi State Polytechnic confirmed its student was one of the victims.
Two State Security Service agents attached to Mr. Melaye were also said to have been injured during the fracas, and Mr. Melaye’s SUV was defaced by bullets, the News Agency of Nigeria reported.
Mr. Bello accused Mr. Melaye, a senator from Kogi West district, of hurriedly putting together the gathering in order to beat back an ongoing effort to recall him from the Senate.
Some electorates in Mr. Melaye’s constituency began submitting their signatures to end Mr. Melaye’s tenure at the upper chamber.
The irate constituents said in a document forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, that their action was to save the constituency from further ridicule that Mr. Melaye had subjected it to.
Mr. Bello, recently caught violating the law by registering twice for voter card, described Mr. Melaye, known for his controversial and often unruly behaviour, as “the senator with a notorious antecedent for political violence”.
He cautioned the first-term senator to desist from “plunging the State of Kogi into needless political violence and security crisis.”
The governor said he had petitioned President Buhari and the police in January to warn of a possible breakdown of order in the state, and wondered why no proactive action was taken.
Mr. Melaye did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES request for comments Tuesday morning. Calls and text messages to his telephone went unanswered.
Mr. Melaye had earlier said the move to recall him will fail, while his supporters gloat that the effort would be futile because it is cumbersome and time-consuming.
Although Mr. Bello has not openly expressed support for the campaign, his appointees have been seen highlighting the initiative on their social media handles.
Gbenga Olorunpomi, a media aide to the governor, used his Twitter handle to show unambiguous support for the campaign, and frequently accompanied some of his recent tweets with #DinoRecall.
The governor himself urged Mr. Melaye to respect “his constituents’ rights to exercise their constitutional obligations,” in an obvious allusion to the recall efforts.
Messrs. Melaye and Bello were political allies before supremacy battle slammed them against one another.
Mr. Melaye emceed the inauguration of Mr. Bello when he was sworn in Nigeria’s history on January 27, 2016.
The latest chaos came about two months after Mr. Melaye claimed attempt on his life while staying at his country home in Aiyetoro Gbede, Kogi State.
Six persons, including the administrator of Ijumu Local Government Area, suspected to be involved in attack, were arrested and later charged to court.
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