Politics & Business

Ekiti Election: Is news of Fayemi assassination attempt a ruse?

News that gunshot assassination attempts had been made on the life of the APC guber candidate in Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, made the rounds on social media Friday night June 1.

On WhatsApp for instance, a press statement went viral titled “‎Fayemi Survives Assassination As Ex-Lawmaker, Others Sustain Gunshot Wounds.” It was purportedly released by Fayemi’s publicity secretary, one Taiwo Olatunbosun, and it read in part: “Bloody politicking returned to Ekiti State yesterday, as former Governor Kayode Fayemi survived assassination in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital.

“Four gunmen suspected to be agents of the state government strategically positioned themselves at the party’s secretariat in Ado-Ekiti for the attack. One of the assailants dressed in mobile police uniform was apprehended and he is now helping the police in their investigation.

“They fired gunshots aimed at Fayemi but hit a former lawmaker, Opeyemi Bamidele, after Fayemi had taken a few steps forward before the bullets hit the target. Bamidele and other victims were immediately rushed to the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti. Other victims in the hospital included Olabode Joshua, Olanrewaju Gbenga, Adebayo Ogunjemilehin, Ogunmodede Oluwole and Alex Adeleye” the social media version of the news read.

The above account is fraught with errors of syntax and grammar. Bamidele was said to have been ‘fatally wounded’ which would mean that he died from his wounds. Also, the report read ‘yesterday’ whereas it was published online real time – an indication that it was meant for newspapers to publish on June 2.

Well, quite a number of blogs have latched unto the Olatunbosun WhatsApp account. They have published it and now – as we say – they are damned by their errors of news judgement.

However Punch newspapers published the news update below. It is more professionally written and more believable.

Opeyemi Bamidele, shot, hospitalised

A member of the seventh House of Representatives and erstwhile governorship aspirant in Ekiti State, Opeyemi Bamidele, and one other person have been shot.

The shooting took place at the All Progressives Congress secretariat in Ajilosun, Ado-Ekiti, during a reception organised for the governorship candidate of the party, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.

It was learnt that the bullet came from the rifle of a mobile policeman who was among those deployed to ensure security.

Bamidele has been rushed to an unknown hospital for treatment, while the yet-to-be-identified second victim is feared dead.

The reason behind the rage of the policeman has yet to be ascertained. But an eyewitness said that the policeman was provoked by some thugs who waylaid dignitaries at the secretariat.

The rally, which attracted a huge crowd of party supporters and admirers across the state, began on a good note from Akure airport, Ondo State, before things went awry.

Bamidele was standing with Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), Fayemi and former Minister of State for Works, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, when the policeman pulled the trigger.

Bamidele started muttering, “I have been hit by a bullet, I have been hit by a bullet,” repeatedly before he was rushed into a waiting car.

The cameraman of Core TV in Ekiti, Sunkanmi Ogunmuko, also sustained injuries in the ensuing melee. Other reporters at the scene scaled the fence to safety to avoid being hit by bullets.

Angry mob descended on the mobile policeman and hit his head with sticks and other items before he was rescued by his colleagues.

Earlier, Fayemi and his entourage, including his running mate, Bisi Egbeyemi, were received in Ikere-Ekiti by a large crowd of party supporters, which caused serious traffic congestion along Ado-Akure road.

Before the crisis, Akeredolu, while addressing party members, said that Fayemi had come home to rescue Ekiti from the pangs of poverty and wanton neglect caused by the Peoples Democratic Party’s administration.

He applauded the APC members for putting behind them the pre-primary crisis to mobilise for Fayemi.

“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 prayed.

Responding, Fayemi said that he returned home to work for Ekiti with party leaders because “it is a collective responsibility.”

“We are going to work with everybody, including those who just defected 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 12 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 mobilise well to achieve this task and by the grace of God, this is a must-win and must-accomplish task for all of us,” he added.

HAMILTONSTYLE suspects that someone sold fake publicity  to the public. Records however show that Fayemi’s campaign sold a similar dummy to the public in 2014 [Read: Police Attempt Was Attack On My Life – Fayemi].

Well, I sat in class with Fayemi back in the day at the University of Lagos. He has always been a serious and deep character; not given to frivolities. Rather than blame him for this cheapskate, my suspicion falls on his story spinners.

As electioneering heats up the Ekiti polity and Nigeria as a whole, we all must take news thrown at us, especially on social media, with a pinch of salt. Here at Hamiltonstyle, our hearts go out to Bamidele and other gunshot victims. We pray for their quick healing while we urge the Nigeria Police to be more professional and vigilant so that things don’t get worse.

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