There was drama in Ado Ekiti on Wednesday as Governor Ayo Fayose said he was brutalised by policemen who allegedly stormed the main entrance to the Ekiti State Government House to stop a rally by the Peoples Democratic Party.
Residents said there were gunshots at the main entrance to the Government House while tear gas canisters were reportedly shot to disperse the crowd at the rally.
An eyewitness said the situation became tense when riot-policeman dispersed supporters of PDP governorship candidate in the July 14 election, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, who had gathered at the Fajuyi Pavilion for a rally.
The pavilion is serving as the campaign office for Kolapo Olusola Campaign Organisation.
The PDP supporters who refused to leave the venue of the rally were reportedly forced to by the policemen.
The police allegedly fired canisters of tear-gas to disperse the crowd, saying it had to do so because the organisers did not obtain its permit before embarking on the rally.
Fayose, it was learnt, raced to the scene to prevent the policemen from disrupting the political rally and to rescue his supporters.
But the governor said rather than listen to his entreaties to allow the rally to go on, he was attacked by the riot-policemen, who allegedly fired canisters of tear gas at him.
The governor also claimed he was hit with the butt of a gun by one of the mobile policemen.
However, the dispersed PDP members and supporters later reconvened at the Government House, Ado Ekiti where they were addressed by Fayose and Olusola.
Narrating his ordeal, the governor, who appeared in a cervical brace, wept as he addressed the gathering.
Fayose said, “I was slapped and beaten by mobile policemen in my own state. They shot at me. As I speak with you, I am in severe pains, I am experiencing pains.
“I plead with the international community to intervene. Nigeria is in trouble. Ekiti is in crisis.
“In the last few days, they have arrested PDP members, teachers, and civil servants. People of good conscience should come and save Ekiti.
“They said they were under strict instruction from the Presidency to kill me and my deputy, who is the candidate of our party.
“This is an army of occupation who are here to occupy our land. I want you to stand and remain standing, I pray they don’t kill me and put Ekiti in crisis.
“I plead with the international community to intervene and save Ekiti from this siege. How can a state governor be treated like this in his own state?
“I am passing through these pains because of my people. I will go back to hospital after addressing you to receive further medical treatment,” he said.
Olusola, who had earlier addressed the crowd before Fayose’s arrival, said Ekiti was under siege, just because the “APC is desperate to take over the state.”
“A situation whereby a policeman will slap a sitting governor, this is not good. The President must be warned. The international community should warn President Buhari.
“When they were beating me and Mr governor, I told the Commissioner of Police in charge of MOPOL Unit that you are beating a deputy governor, he told me ‘who is a deputy governor?’ The same thing he said to the governor.
“My mandate is a divine one and the army that is with us is more than those with them. We are not going to be intimidated. We shall go to the election on Saturday and win.”
But the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Operations, Mr. Habilal Joshak, while justifying why the crowd was dispersed, told journalists that the PDP did not obtain a permit for the rally.
“We are not going to allow any unauthorised rally that can trigger violence in the state. You can see that the state is tensed up.
“As law enforcement agents, we must be proactive and take actions that can prevent crisis rather than trying to quell it after it might have broken out,” Joshak said.
However, the Personal Assistant to the Governor on Protocol, Sola Owoeye, was arrested at the Fajuyi area and taken to the Criminal Investigation Department section at the police headquarters in Ado Ekiti.
The police have yet to react to the allegations raised against them by Fayose as of the time of filing this report. The state Police Public Relations Officer, Caleb Ikechukwu, said he would issue an official statement on it but he had yet to do so as of the time of filing this report.
But Olusola dismissed the police claim, saying many cases determined by the Supreme Court had confirmed that political parties needed no police permit to stage a rally.