Gov Amaechi Sheds More Light on His Near Bloody Encounter with Soldiers in Ondo State
Governor Rotimi Amaechi yesterday threw further light on his Thursday’s encounter with soldiers in Akure, who, acting on ‘order from above’, physically harassed and threatened to kill him.
The governor was on his way to Ado-Ekiti by road to attend the final rally of his party –APC- ahead of today’s governorship election.
He had flown into Akure in a chartered plane from Port Harcourt only for the plane to be grounded by the authorities.
Speaking to reporters in Lagos yesterday, Amaechi said some officials of the federal government are working with military personnel to rule the country by the use of force.
He said: “If I knew that I would be shot, I would have stayed in my house. I landed safely at the Akure airport. Meanwhile, they had queried the Port Harcourt airport for letting me fly.
“And I was to take off from there to Ado Ekiti; the boundary between Ekiti and Ondo is about four kilometres. I saw about 15 soldiers carrying guns and as soon as they saw me, they corked their guns and were positioned.
“They stopped me and said I would not go to Ekiti. Meanwhile, other vehicles were going. They told me they were on order not to allow Governor Amaechi get to Ekiti. I asked if it was all the governors that were placed on the order, but they said: ‘It is you alone’.
“Already, Governor Rochas Okorocha and Amosun had gone. At that point, my desire to assert my own right came up. I sat there for about 30 minutes and I said okay, because these are soldiers with guns and we were in a bush, with no communities there, I had to be careful. So, being a Catholic, what I did was to pray for my soul. When I meet such situation, that is what I normally do.
“ As I was going, I got a call from the party’s hierarchy who assured me that they were aware of what was happening and were coming to meet me. So, I stopped only to turn my back and found they were following me. After about seven kilometres of driving, they were still following me.”
The governor said when he noticed that something untoward could happened, he decided to stop and wait for the APC chieftains who were coming to intervene.
“At that point, I insisted that I would not move any more. They came to me and said they gave me 20 minutes to move or they would shoot me. Everybody was panicking. Now, I was ready for the shooting, so I made my prayers.
“As I made my prayer, I told them I was ready for the shooting. I stayed put. After 20 minutes, they told us they gave us 10 more minutes or they would shoot. I said they better start shooting because in 10 minutes I woud be there.
“While I was there, the party sent Lai Mohammed, Rotimi Akeredolu and another senator. It was at that point that I came down to address the gentle man, the captain who came forward.
“When I asked why, they said they would speak no more; that I must leave there and I must not get into Ekiti. And I said this is not Ekiti but Ondo State.
“A similar incident had played out at the Kano airport before. I walked into five soldiers at the airport who came with their vehicle, with machine guns mounted on them.
“The man warned me that if I needed my life, I must leave there. So, my security details advised that I should leave. This is really unfortunate for the democracy that we pretend to have in Nigeria. It is a collaboration between civilians and militarymen.”
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