BY SEYIFUNMI LUMEKO
Nigerian Independent National Electoral Commission has suspended the bye-election in Ekiti indefinitely following gunmen killings of three persons during the Ekiti State East 1 State Constituency Bye-Election on Saturday.
The indefinite suspension of the bye-election was contained in a statement on Saturday by INEC Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye.
Okoye said: “The commission made adequate arrangements for the election. Personnel and materials arrived on time in all the 39 Polling Units spread across five wards of the constituency for the 23,670 registered voters to exercise their franchise in a free and fair process.
“However, no sooner had the voting commenced than unidentified gunmen unleashed mayhem at some polling units, thereby disrupting the process.
“Unfortunately, some innocent voters were shot dead, while a policeman, some INEC regular and ad hoc staff who sustained gunshot injuries during the melee are receiving medical attention.
“The situation is unacceptable. In its avowed commitment to electoral integrity, the commission has suspended the election indefinitely. To continue with the process will amount to rewarding bad behaviour. The security agencies are aware of this unfortunate situation and have commenced an investigation.
“The commission commiserates with the innocent victims of this dastardly act and affront to our democracy.”
Reacting to the killing by the gunmen, Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi and former governor Ayo Fayose have condemned the dastardly acts.
In separate statements in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital described the gory incident that led to the death of three persons as unfortunate and barbaric.
Fayemi, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode who assured the people of the state that perpetrators would not be allowed to go scot-free, directed the Nigeria Police Force to fish out anyone involved in the violence irrespective of their political affiliation.
The Governor commiserated with the families of those reported to have been killed in the mayhem as well as those who sustained varying injuries.
“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. The government would not relent in efforts to always ensure the safety of lives and properties. We shall ensure all purveyors of violence are brought to book,” he added.