Posted by News Express | 21 June 2014 | 4,301 times
The All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday warned that the road being charted by the Federal Government in handling today’s Ekiti State governorship poll, among others, can lead to a repeat of Operation wetie in the Western Region should the people of Ekiti be denied the opportunity to freely elect the candidate of their choice.
The election is being contested by 18 governorship candidates, which includes the incumbent governor of the State and APC candidate, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, a former governor of the State and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Ayodele Fayose, a federal lawmaker and governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, and Barrister KoleAjayi of the Accord Party.
Over 433,000 persons, who have collected their permanent voters’ cards, are expected to decide the fate of the 18 contestants to the governorship seat from about 733, 000 eligible voters in Ekiti across 2,195 polling units spread across the state.
APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun yesterday at a press conference in Lagos threatened war if the election is rigged. The conference was attended by APC chieftains such as Governor Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), former Governor Bukola Saraki (Kwara), Senator Osita Izunaso (National Organising Secretary), Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, Chief (Mrs.) Kemi Nelson (APC Women Leader), Alhaji Lai Mohammed (the party’s spokesperson), among others.
Chief Odigie-Oyegun, who spoke against the backdrop of alleged “militarisation of Ekiti State ahead of (today’s) governorship poll, harassment, intimidation and torture meted to the APC governors and party chieftains, who were not allowed to partake in the final rally held for Governor Kayode Fayemi in Ado-Ekiti as their planes were grounded.” He reminded President Goodluck Jonathan of the ugly episode of 1965 Operation wetie in the old Western Region.
“Actions have consequences, and whoever fails to condemn the acts of impunity being perpetrated by the central government will not have the moral right to condemn the reactions that such actions may elicit,” Odigie-Oyegun warned, even as he further warned that the road being charted by the Federal Government “would make every Nigerian a refugee if care is not taken.
“We have done our opinion survey; we would have landslide victory in Ekiti. If PDP is confident of winning, why did they have to militarise Ekiti, the people would defend their votes. The road the Federal Government is charting will make all of us refugees, it is road to anarchy. We cannot survive another four years with the way things are going,” he warned.
Chief Odigie-Oyegun, in his statement entitled “Democracy in danger as Nigeria comes under creeping fascism” reminded the President of the promise made to Nigerians several times of ensuring a free and fair poll as his 2015 presidential ambition was not worth the blood of any Nigerian, insisting that the APC would not accept the outcome of a rigged election in Ekiti today.
“We urge President Goodluck Jonathan to live up to his pledge, made several times over, that he would always ensure that elections held under his watch are free and fair, and that his ambition is not worth the life of any Nigerian. The President should call his dogs of war to order before the precipitate a serious crisis in Ekiti,” the APC National Chairman said.
“We remind the president not to allow Nigeria to unravel under his watch, through acts of omission or commission. We urge him to take a lesson from history, and to realise that the crisis of 1965, 1983 and 1993 all started from the South-west over elections that were either manipulated or annulled. Our country is still reeling from the effects of those crises and we cannot afford to plunge the nation into another crisis,” he warned.
Chief Odigie-Oyegun frowned at what he described as over concentration of security forces in Ekiti and barring of APC governors and chieftains from entering the state to partake in the final rally of Governor Fayemi as suggestive of planned rigging of the poll ahead of real voting exercise taking place today.
According to him, the Federal Government has made Ekiti a war zone, whereas it should not be so, reminding that what was taking place in the state was election and war.
Reacting to the charge by the opposition party, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, told State House correspondents in Abuja yesterday that Jonathan had consistently proved to be committed to democracy, rule of law and free and fair elections.
Abati advised the APC to search themselves rather than “crying wolf where there is none.”
His words: “It is absolutely wrong to accuse this administration of repression. If anything, this administration has been most tolerant of opposition and most respectful of everybody’s right of association. This accusation cannot stand at all.
“In Ekiti election and any other election at all, the government is committed to one man, one vote; one woman, one vote; and one youth, one vote which is President Jonathan’s concept.”
The presidential spokesman noted that the security agencies have a duty to stop anyone from entering Ekiti if they believe such a person could compromise the election.
“At the same time, the security agencies have an obligation to ensure that people who, with their choices, would rather compromise the integrity of the process are not allowed to do so,” he added.
On its part, the PDP also countered that the APC and its leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, were merely jittery over the likelihood of their losing what it called their investments in Ekiti State.
•Pieced together from reports in Tribune and Nigerian Pilot. Photo shows the three leading contenders in today's Ekiti State governornorship election, Fayemi, Fayose and Bamidele.
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