The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday threw jabs at each other over tomorrow’s governorship election in Ekiti State.
The PDP claimed that the state had been militarised to prepare the ground for rigging of the election for the APC candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi. The PDP’s candidate is Prof. Kolapo Olusola. While the APC claim PDP was making wild allegations because it knew that its candidate will lose. The party has been rejected, APC said.
Meanwhile, PDP organised protests in Abuja and some state capitals to express its misgivings over the claim by Governor Ayodele Fayose that the police shot at him and fired into the Government House teargas, which injured him.
An unconfirmed source said last night that the police summoned the governor’s security detail and asked them if he was attacked. They were said to have denied any assault on the governor, who reportedly sent some emissaries to the police. Attempts to seek confirmation of the report from Deputy Inspector General (Operations) Joshak Habila, who is in charge of security for the poll, failed. His aides declined comment.
PDP National Chairman Uche Secondus led a march on the National Assembly.
The protesters were received by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu. Secondus claimed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), allegedly in collaboration with security agencies, planned to rig the election.
He said the state’s residents were living in fear following alleged restriction of movement by security agencies. There was no confirmation of any restriction yesterday.
He expressed concern about the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
Secondus urged the National Assembly to investigate perceived excesses of security agencies to save democracy.
“Sir, we are aware and we have been reliably informed that INEC and a section of the security agencies have prepared to rig the election in Ekiti.
“That is why Ekiti today has been militarised and over policed; 30,000 policemen and women are in Ekiti.
“The citizens of Ekiti are afraid. They are traumatised. They are harassed, and they are being guarded not to come out of their homes.
“The Ekiti Government House was sealed and the governor brutalised. This development is an eyesore to democracy.
“We came first to National Assembly, because you represent democracy and the hope and aspirations of Nigerians.
“We believe that we should register our protest to the National Assembly to quickly intervene, query, examine through oversight, the excesses and assault on democracy.
“We call on the international community to see and watch what is happening in Ekiti, if this is the type of election that APC and INEC want to conduct in Ekiti.
“By this, the 2019 general elections is under threat. We believe that if they continue in this manner and rig the poll, there will be nothing like 2019 elections.”
A one-time Minister of Aviation, Mrs Kema Chikwe, said for Nigeria to achieve good governance, there must be true democracy, saying the Wednesday incident in Ekiti was undemocratic.
“If you watch the video, you could see shootings in the air and you will see molestation.
“Election is about one man, one vote. For us to achieve good governance in this country, we must have true democracy.
“PDP believes in structures and peace. There are excesses. Everywhere in Ekiti has been turned into a war zone.
“The governor has been humiliated and he has immunity. What type of democracy do we have?
“PDP ruled for 16 years of peace, and we want it to continue. We are starting now to show that enough is enough; there must be a change so that we will have a credible 2019.
That’s what we are starting today”, Chikwe said.
Ekweremadu, while receiving the PDP protesters, said: “We will do everything possible to ensure that we will continue to work within the tenets of democracy.
“We shall make contact with INEC, police and other security agencies to ensure that they are neutral.
“We believe to be leaders in Africa. We cannot be leading from the back. We must show leadership by example.
“So, whatever we do, we must also know that the world is watching us. We want to thank you for taking this path of honour”.
The Senate Caucus of the PDP, led by Senator Godswill Akpabio, called on the Executive to set up a commission of enquiry to investigate Fayose’s claim.
But the APC dismissed the PDP’s claims.
APC National Publicity Secretary Bolaji Abdullahi said in a statement that with the PDP’s allegations, it was clear that they were not abreast with developments in Ekiti State.
The statement said: “We reject the claim by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that policemen were drafted to Ekiti State to harass PDP supporters in Saturday’s governorship election in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
“As usual with elections, extra security deployment is routine to keep the peace for credible and transparent elections.
“With PDP’s claim in its press statement, it is obvious that its leadership does not have the facts of the actual events in Ekiti State or it is deliberately attempting to divert public attention from the comical performance put up by Governor Ayodele Fayose on Wednesday, which was clearly contrived to give the impression to the public that he was being persecuted.
“Somehow, Fayose has contrived to make this election about himself. But it is not. The contest is between Dr. Fayemi and the Professor that has continued to hide behind Fayose’s fingers.
“What is clear to every voter in Ekiti is that to vote for this Professor is to hand Fayose a third term.
“Given their horrid experience with him, they have wisely rejected them both.
“The PDP in Ekiti has read the handwriting on the wall. They know they have lost the election. They therefore have to save their face with these wild allegations.
“The story of how Fayose used the security agencies to manipulate the last election is still fresh in the memory of the people. Unfortunately for him, he has no such opportunity this time. Winning a free and fair election is a strange territory to him and that’s why he is looking stranded.
“It is therefore mischievous of PDP to continue to claim that the Police assaulted Fayose on Wednesday after Fayose himself has apologised to the Police authorities for lying against their officers.
“The ultimate decision about who governs Ekiti lies with the people of that State, which they will make on the principle of one man one vote.”
Director of Media and Publicity of the Fayemi Campaign organisation Mr. Wole Olujobi, also faulted Olusola’s claim that policemen assaulted Fayose on Wednesday.
He explained that Fayose’s apology to the Police authorities for lying against their officers did not support the claim that the police assaulted the governor.
“It is great that security detail attached to Fayose have confessed that there was no attack on the governor.
“The security detail confessed after they were queried for dereliction of duty in the protection of their principal.
“Late last night (Wednesday), Fayose sent his aides to the police for forgiveness for lying against their officers.
“The police spokesman this evening said so, but Olusola is still misinforming Nigerians that the police assaulted Fayose, which then goes to show the quality of his Christian life that he is flaunting to aspire to lead the state.
“While the APC respected the security agencies when they asked APC to cancel its own women’s rally to avoid conflict, the PDP and Governor Fayose, particularly, have themselves to blame for his shameful conduct.
Policemen yesterday vacated the gates of Ekiti State Government House which they occupied for two days.
The withdrawal succeeded in dousing the mounting tension generated by Wednesday’s encounter between Governor Ayodele Fayose and the police.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that security agents also vacated the campaign office of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate Deputy Governor Kolapo Olusola.
Many supporters of the governor yesterday thronged the Government House, demanding to know if he was hale and hearty.
Olusola told the supporters that the governor was fast recovering and that there was nothing to fear.
He also told them to maintain the peace and to refrain from taking the laws into their hands.
It was gathered yesterday that Fayose may declare today work –free to enable civil servants to travel for Saturday’s poll.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor Idowu Adelusi told NAN that arrangements were on to allow workers to leave for their home towns since there would be restriction of human and vehicular movements tomorrow.