By Segun Amure
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it has suspended the Saturday’s Bye-Election for the Ekiti East State Constituency seat following incidents of violence which reportedly led to the death of three persons as several others sustain gunshot injuries.
INEC in a statement released by its Resident Electoral Commissioner REC in the state, Dr. Tella Adeniran stated that the election started peacefully and in an orderly manner when the polling units opened at about 8:30am on Saturday.
Adeniran stated that at 10:am, there were reported cases of violence at two polling units of Ward 09 (Obadore IV); polling unit 8 (Baba Egbe house/Odouro/Odoule) and Polling Unit 9 (Beside Baba Egbe/Odouru/Odoule) as well as Polling unit 07 (Aro street/Aro) of Ward 07 (Obadore II).
“In Polling Unit 07, Ward 07 three voters were shot dead while a youth corper, a police woman and an INEC staff sustained gunshot wounds”, he said.
The REC added that under the circumstance, the safety of electoral officials, security personnel and election materials as well as the credibility of the process cannot be guaranteed.
“The situation is such that, a conducive environment no longer exists for further electoral activity at the Polling Units and the Collation centers.
“In view of this development, the Commission has suspended the election forthwith”, he declared
In a related development, Ekiti State Ex-Governor, Peter Ayodele Fayose condemned the violence and killing of innocent lives in the House of Assembly bye-election as barbaric and shameful.
Fayose said it is a “clear evidence of terrorism against citizens, who have rejected the party in government.”
His statement reads: “I thought we have gone past this barbarism in Ekiti State especially when we are confronted with national insecurity to which the government has no solution.
“What was witnessed today in Omuo Ekiti is nothing but terrorism against the people of Ekiti, knowing that time has caught up with them and they are no longer popular.
“This will remain guilt in the conscience of the perpetrators and their sponsors perpetually for killing their own people just because of a mere House of Assembly bye-election.
“Most importantly, everything that goes round in life comes round. The perpetrators of this despicable act should therefore remember that there will be consequences for all actions because the blood of the dead will surely speak and fight back.
“To the police in Ekiti, they know what to do and the people behind all these, if only they chose not to look away. Ekiti shall be free again if we collectively confront and win this battle against fake apostles of democracy.”
Also reacting, the incumbent Governor of Ekiti State who also doubles as Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum Dr. Kayode Fayemi described the violence that marred the election as unwarranted and disturbing.
Governor Fayemi, in a statement made available to newsmen Saturday evening by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, has directed the State Commissioner of Police, Babatunde Mobayo, to fish out the perpetrators and ensure they face the music.
“This violence is most unwarranted, and deeply disturbing. I have instructed the police authorities to fish out the perpetrators and ensure they face the music. Our condolences to the families that lost loved ones and those who were injured. Government would not relent in efforts to always ensure safety of lives and properties. We shall ensure all purveyors of violence are brought to book.”, the Governor added.