The governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello and the Governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Muritala Yakubu have traded tackles over the attack on their convoys on Saturday in Kogi.
The governor who was returning from Abuja and the SDP candidate convoy who was coming from a consultation visit in Kotonkarfe met at Banda, a suburb of Lokoja the Kogi State capital, and gunshots follows.
Speaking about the development, the State Commissioner of Information, Kingsley Fanwo said it was thugs loyal to the SDP candidate that first attacked the governor; while the SDP campaign Media director, Farouk Adejoh said it was the governor who ordered an attack on the SDP guber candidate.
A statement from Fanwo reads apart, “The Convoy of the Executive Governor of Kogi State, His Excellency Alh Yahaya Bello was blocked and attacked by people believed to be supporters of Alh. Muritala Yakubu Ajaka at about 12.30 hours today.
“The attack took place near the Naval Base, a few kilometres from Lokoja where the convoy of Muritala Yakubu Ajaka, having sighted that of the Governor, blocked the road and some of his armed thugs started shooting sporadically at the convoy of the Governor. A Tundra branded with the logo of the SDP and with SDP flags also blocked the Governor’s vehicle and occupants of the SDP-branded Tundra were armed with Rifles and short guns. The Governor left the scene unscathed and there is no cause for panic as the Governor is in high spirits.
“Some security aides and other aides attached to the Governor sustained some degrees of injuries and have been rushed to medical facilities for medical attention.
“We urge the people of Kogi State to remain calm as security agents are in full control to ensure the arrest of the hoodlums behind the attack. The State Government will ensure that law and order are maintained as the attackers will be brought to justice.
“The Governor has warned that no APC member should involve in any reprisal attack as insecurity from any quarter will be met with stiff penalties.”
But Farouk said the state governor, Yahaya Bello supervised the attack on their guber candidate, “The candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Alhaji Muritala Yakubu Ajaka this afternoon luckily escaped assassination when his motorcade was attacked by gunmen personally led by the Governor of Kogi State Alhaji Yahaya Bello.
“Alhaji Ajaka and some vehicles accompanying him were approaching Lokoja at the vicinity of the ram market at about 13:00pm when two power bikes and Toyota Hilux overtook his car and forced it to a stop.
“This assault was heralded by a Mercedes Benz Limousine with Bello’s official crest accompanied by an open pick- loaded with masked and hooded men bearing AK 47 Assault Rifles.
“The men jumped down and began shooting at Ajaka’s car and all other cars in the motorcade. They shot for over 5 minutes at Ajaka’s bulletproof car unprovoked.
“All this while Bello’s car was parked a few meters in front and was used to barricade the road while the gunmen had a field day.
“When they ceased, Ajaka’s car, a Lexus SUV though bulletproof was totally damaged and demobilised.
“Among the gunmen is one Friday Makama a notorious thug and a former member of the House of Assembly who was recently appointed Director General for Fireams Recovery by Mr Bello. Also identified among the hoodlums accompanying the governor is one Bashir Gegu the commissioner for Solid Minerals who has a gross reputation for thuggery.
“Mr Ajaka who was on his way to keep an appointment with the Mai Geri, The first class traditional ruler of Lokoja and The Attah Igala in Idaho decided to abort the journey and return to Abuja after conferring with the Commander of the Lokoja Naval Base.
“This again is another low scored by Mr Yahaya Bello in the exercise of crude power and brute force. Bello is on record to have unleashed guns and gunmen on several citizens in the course of his Eight years draconian rule. Several persons have been killed by his hoodlums during electioneering while others are missing.
“Ajaka until recently was a member of the APC who was forced out of the governorship nomination by Mr Yahaya Bello who used minions and proxies to obtain an injunction from a Lokoja High Court restraining him from participating in the primaries.
“The brute action today is obviously a continuation of Bello’s desperation to stop Yakubu from continuing in the election.
“We appeal to the new President of the Federal Republic, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to demonstrate that his administration will not permit the brigandage of the last eight years which has led to the deaths of thousands of Nigeria.
“Election is still five months away, but if Mr Bello does not get a strong signal that violence would not be allowed in the new administration several of our citizens will be killed by his thugs and gunmen before the polls.”