OYO state Governor, Seyi Makinde, and the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in today’s governorship election in Kogi State, Musa Wada, on Friday escaped being whisked away by masked gunmen who attacked Suitorial Hotel, Lokoja where both men were lodged.
The masked gunmen who were dressed in police uniforms were said to have arrived the hotel at about 12.50 pm with some of them scaling the fence to gain access.
Makinde is the Chairman of the PDP Governorship Campaign Council for Kogi State.
The gunmen however did not succeed in gaining access into the hotel, as security men attached to the governor repelled and chased them away.
An eyewitness said while some of the masked men climbed the fence of the hotel to gain access, others came in through the gate, adding that they might have come into the hotel to abduct the PDP candidate.
The eye witness said: “Some people said they might have been fake policemen, but the governor’s security men said the attackers were not fake judging from the uniform they were wearing and that they were hooded so that they would not be identified.”
Director of Publicity of the PDP Campaign Council, Farouk Adejoh, who confirmed the attack, told The Nation on the phone that about 50 of the men dressed in police uniform were involved in the attack, apparently to abduct the governorship candidate of the PDP who was lodged in the same hotel.
Adejoh said: “I can confirm to you that the hotel was attacked by hooded men in police uniform. They came in tinted buses, but our security details repelled them.
“We have been complaining that there are so many tinted vehicles that are not registered in the state, and two days ago, the Commissioner of Police said such vehicles should be impounded. But these men came in those tinted vehicles”.
The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Taiwo Adisa, also confirmed the attack on the hotel where the governor and other members of the PDP Campaign Council were lodged.
Adisa said: “Information reaching us from Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, confirmed that some armed and masked security men who appeared in police uniform have attacked the governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde, in Lokoja, Kogi State capital.
“Makinde is the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Kogi State Campaign Council. He is in Kogi in his capacity as the Chairman of that Council.
“Eyewitnesses confirmed that the hooded security operatives arrived Suitorial Hotels, Lokoja, located on Stadium Road, Lokoja, where the Governor and some members of the PDP Campaign Council are lodged at about 12.50 pm on Friday, shooting sporadically and attempting to break into the hotel rooms.
“It was gathered that some of the hooded security operatives scaled the fence of the Hotel and attempted to enter the rooms. A melee was set off as the security operatives attached to the Governor of Oyo State were said to have resisted the invaders.”
However, the state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Busari, said the Police also got the information. But he denied that there was an attack on the governor’s hotel.
The Nation gathered that the PDP high command has already reached out to the Inspector General of Police, asking him to ensure that nothing happened to its candidate.
Also, information from Anyingba, Dekina Local Government Area of the state have it that some houses belonging to some PDP leaders in the area were allegedly destroyed early yesterday.
A source from the area said: “There was shooting throughout the night in Anyingba by hoodlums who apparently don’t want people to come out and vote on Saturday. But the people are determined to vote, so they mobilised themselves and disperse the hoodlums.”
There has been tension across the state about possible violence before, during and after Saturday’s governorship election in Kogi State with both the PDP and APC trading accusations of arming thugs ahead of the election.
Meanwhile surveillance helicopter has been flying over the state capital to ensure that there is peace around the state.
Everywhere in Lokoja the state capital was calm at the time of filing this report.
Some banks however shut their doors to customers as early as 10 am for fear of possible violence in the capital.
At Sterling bank, the security men started turning stranded customers away, while only those who had contact within the bank were allowed to go in after calling such contacts.