One person was killed during violence at an opposition candidate’s campaign rally in Ondo State.
The candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) contesting the Idanre/Ifedore federal constituency seat of Ondo State, Tajudeen Adefisoye, was embarking on a campaign when the violence occurred.
Another person was injured during the violence.
The incident which occurred on Friday while the politician was leading his campaign across Ipogun community created panic in the surrounding communities.
Although the SDP candidate accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of masterminding the attacks, the APC said both the person killed in the attack and the injured were APC members, ”who were shot by mobile policemen attached to the politician”.
Meanwhile, a statement by Mr Adefisoye’s campaign organisation on Friday said the campaign convoy was attacked by hoodlums suspected to be loyal to the APC who fired at the vehicles conveying the candidate and his supporters.
It said the SDP candidate had to cut short the campaign.
“The vehicles in the convoy had to start making a U-turn when they saw what was ahead. The police details in convoy were taken unaware,” the statement signed by the spokesman of the campaign organisation, Oluyemi Fasipe, said.
The statement noted that the attackers after shooting at and razing three of the vehicles escaped through bush paths.
The statement noted that although one person died in the attack, Mr Adefisoye escaped unhurt, ”but had to rush to the nearest police station at Ilara Mokin to report the incident”.
The SDP candidate had recently called on the police to beef up security for his campaign.
Mr Adefisoye said he was committed to a non-violent campaign and asked all opposition parties to do the same.
He urged the police to do a thorough investigation into the matter and bring the culprits to book.
However, the APC spokesman in Ondo State, Alex Kalejaye, told PREMIUM TIMES it was the APC members that were attacked by the SDP campaign group.
According to Mr Kalejaye, Mr Adefisoye’s convoy arrived at the community ”where he was greeted by some group of youth loyal to him, who were trying to get some money from him”.
He said police escorts in his convoy opened fire on the youth.
“In the course of the shooting, one person was killed and another was injured,” said Mr Kalejaye.
“Two of them are members of the All Progressives Congress in the area. The one killed is Benjamin Falusi and the injured person now receiving treatment in the hospital is Bode Oguntoyin.
“Our sympathies go to the families of the victims of the shooting, and we are calling on the police to do a thorough investigation into the shooting and the cause of the death of Benjamin Falusi.”
Police Begin Investigation
Police Public Relations Officer, Ondo State command, Femi Joseph, confirmed the incident.
He said the police had commenced an investigation into the matter and would soon get to the root.
He, however, said preliminary investigations had revealed that one of the hoodlums fired the shot that felled one of the party supporters.
“We have arrested two persons already, and we have also invited the Small Alhaji (SDP candidate), and they are helping in our investigations,” Mr Joseph said.
“But one of the mistakes he (Mr Adefisoye) made was that he did not involve the police in his campaign. No matter how popular you are and no matter how easy you think the campaigns can be, politicians should always involve the police, because you never can tell when hoodlums will launch an attack.”
He also rejected the assertion that the police escorts in Mr Adefisoye’s convoy fired the shot.
He said the person who fired the bullet had been identified, adding that further investigation could bring out more information.
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