Thursday, June 19, 2014 6:43 pm
Nigeria’s Federal government bared its fangs Thursday, deploying the full force of its state and coercive powers to bar governors of the Opposition APC, from attending the grand rally to round up the campaign of Governor Kayode Fayemi in Ado Ekiti.
The airport in Akure was shut down, preventing the landing of private planes and chartered aircraft bringing dignitaries to Akure, from where they will make the 30 minute journey to Ado Ekiti.
Governor Rotimi Amaechi, who landed in Akure before the closure, was arrested by soldiers in Odudu as he made his way to Ado Ekiti by road.
In Benin, Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s helicopter was grounded. He wanted to fly straight to the Ekiti state capital.L
Election is due in the state Saturday. Governor Kayode Fayemi is slugging it out with ex-governor Ayo Fayose and Labour Candidate, Opeyemi Bamidele. Fayose belongs to the PDP, same party with President Goodluck Jonathan.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state , was left stranded at the Airport for two hours before being informed that it was an “order from above.”
Commander of the 81 Air Maritime Group, Benin City, Air Commodore Soji Awomodu told the Governor that he received “a call from above” that no private jet or helicopter be allowed to fly out of Benin City to either Akure or Ekiti.
A source at the 81 Air Maritime Group who declined mention however said it was purely a military affair.
Oshiomhole expressed shock at the development, wondering why he was stopped.
The Airport Manager, Mr. Sunday Ayodele and the Airspace Manager, Mr Ibekwe said they had no hands in the Governor’s ordeal as they had no directive to that effect.
The helicopter with registration number 5NBQ8 later flew out of the Benin Airport at 1:20pm without its intended passengers.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Media, Prince Kassim Afegbua confirmed the incident and described it as strange.
It will be recalled that on June 7, 2013, an OAS Helicopter ferrying the Edo State Governor to Awka, Anambra State, was recalled mid-air and grounded by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
The Filipino Pilot of the OAS chopper, Captain James Manahash, had said at the time “we were already airborne when we got the call to return to the airport and was even threatened that failure to do so would lead to complete grounding of the aircraft. The governor prevailed on me to return and listen to them.
This would be the second time when the governor’s helicopter would be grounded on order from above. He was first grounded on 7 June, 2013, after it was recalled mid-air