Posted by By Garba Ahmad, Kaduna | 2 March 2015 | 4,053 times
Security agents are alleged to have supervised and protected a gang of hoodlums suspected to be supporters of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as they destroyed billboards and posters of Mallam Nasir El-Rufai in Zaria and Sabon Gari locl government council last Friday.
A statement issued through e-mail by El-rufai campaign spokesperson, Samuel Aruwan, on Sunday also alleged that the thugs destroyed all visible campaign materials and replaced them with Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, the incumbent governor.
“This act of arson comes ahead of the governor’s rally on Saturday) in the ancient city. Zaria axis is an APC stronghold, as demonstrated by the massive rallies the party held in Sabon-Gari and Zaria local governments.
“Conscious of their unpopularity, the PDP is now displaying posters of Yero that feature pictures of the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari. It is seen as an admission that the PDP’s own presidential candidate is not sellable to the electorate, but also a demonstration of the PDP’s affinity for deception. In the said posters being paraded in the said axis, Yero is paired with Buhari while Malam El-Rufai is axed with a red ink.
“In the course of Yero’s rally on Saturday that brought hired thugs from all parts of the state and beyond, dangerous weapons were freely flaunted and showcase with impunity in presence of security agents,” he said.
Since the campaign for the 2015 elections started, Aruwan stressed, Yero has been preaching intolerance and indulging in violence.
Recalling Yero’s launch of his campaign on 12 January, 2015, the spokesman said the governor announced that he had powers to stop El-Rufai from entering Kaduna or leaving his house or demolishing the house. The audio recording of that statement, he said, is in the public.
“Again, the PDP government in Kaduna State and their commissioned campaigners are presently inciting citizens of Kaduna State on religious and ethnic lines against the candidature of both Buhari and El-Rufai.
“They are also engaging in series of mudslinging aimed at branding APC and its candidates as violent oriented personalities. They are presently circulating leaflets branding Buhari as hater of Christians along with El-Rufai in manipulating citizenry.
“We will continue to play issue based politics despite all deliberate attempts and mischief to taint our image and popularity before the good people of Kaduna State. Neither the tons of illicit money they are spreading to bribe voters nor can the violent actions designed to intimidate and frighten citizens save the PDP in Kaduna State from the coming electoral humiliation,” he also said.
The people of Kaduna State, he maintained, are tired “of an incompetent, wasteful government that has proved incapable of leading, performing or delivering public services. That is why the people are enthused that the APC has presented Mallam Nasir El Rufai, a man with a clear record of competence and performance.”
However, Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero in his swift response insisted that his administration will continue to remain focus and committed to peaceful electoral process.
He said in a statement signed by his Director General, Media, Ahmed Maiyaki: “It has come to our notice that the All Progressives Congress (APC) in its desperate attempt to drag others to its crude style of destruction has laid false allegation against the Peoples Democratic (PDP) and its supporters over alleged defacing of posters of its candidates in Zaria.
“While we view it as a waste of time to banter words with the APC, which is clearly a sinking ship in Kaduna State, it is however pertinent to always provide truth in the face of a new opposition strategy of feeding the people with lies.
“The fact remains that the APC is already known to be waging a struggle for space, hence posters of candidates of other parties, especially the PDP are regularly being destroyed on the prompting of APC leaders. This is exactly why the opposition party expected same treatment during the mega rally held by His Excellency, Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero in Zaria and Sabon Gari Local Government Areas on Saturday.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the PDP and its supporters maintained decorum and high sense of maturity during the campaign by refusing to replicate the barbaric act of attack on posters and bill boards, which is a tradition invented in our political landscape by the APC. We dare say that no posters or campaign materials of the APC were destroyed during the rally and we challenge the APC to provide evidence to the contrary.
“It could be recalled that when thugs sponsored by the APC destroyed PDP posters and bill boards during its campaigns, vivid evidences were provided. We therefore challenge the APC to provide similar evidences on their claims.
“We call on the well discerning people of Kaduna State to consider this false accusation by the APC as a display of jittery over the massive reception accorded Governor Yero and his campaign team in Zaria and indeed all the 22 other Local Governments in the state. The APC in Kaduna State has already sensed defeat and is already preparing its excuse by blaming its misfortunes on Government and security agencies.
“Governor Yero remains committed to the peace accord supervised by the Police and has never and will never encourage any form of attack on persons or campaign materials of his opponents. The governor believes that power is from God Almighty and He alone determines who wins the next election. The Governor is also solidly in support of all candidates of the PDP at all levels.
“We renew calls to leaders of APC in Kaduna State to stop beating drums of war by preaching violence to their handful of supporters. For us the next election is just another page in our history and it is not a do-or-die affair.”
•Photo shows El-Rufai and Yero.
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