By: Oluwatosin Adesola
A coalition of over 40 political parties under the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) in Ondo State has expressed concern high level of violence accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of allegedly planning to unleash violence on the opposition parties and voters in the state before, during and after the October 10, 2020 governorship poll.
The parties which include; the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Action Democratic Congress (ADC), CNPP said violence that marred the recent local government election across the state as a dress rehearsal to what may happen during the Governorship poll.
Addressing a world press conference held at the NUJ Press Centre, Akure today, the Chairman of the CNPP, Comrade Rotimi Boboye called on President Muhammadu Buhari, the Senate and high headship of security agencies to call to order and prevent political gladiators especially APC chieftains from creating undue tension ahead of the governorship election in the state.
The press conference which was jointly addressed by the state Chairman of the ZLP, Hon Joseph Akinlaja; Chairman of the ADC, Mrs Adetoro; Chairman of the AAC, Comrade Alex Adeniyi and the immediate past state chairman of IPAC, Chief Ogunmodede, was attended by other state executive officers of the parties.
The chairmen of the political parties cautioned that all must work hard to forestall the repeat of 1983 election violence in ondo state that claimed many lives.
Akinlaja said the recourse to violence, intimidation and subterfuge by officials of the outgoing APC government in Ondo State as manifested in the recent local government poll largely boycotted by many political parties is a confirmation that the APC is preparing for war and not an election.
The ZLP Chairman and Ogunmodede said election violence does not know anybody, advising Buhari and security agencies to provide level play field for all governorship candidates and those causing trouble should be arrested for prosecution.
Akinlaja said, “We as students of history know that our state was allowed to haemorrhage in 1983 and some of its finest citizens killed in politically-induced violence.
“We are not ready and so will not be tolerant of any attempt to repeat such needless ad unconscionable violence in the name of politics,” Akinlaja said.
Boboye said, “In the said sham of an election, not only were candidates of participating parties intimidated, harassed and violently assaulted, voters were disenfranchised and figures concocted to meet the pre-planned agenda of the outgoing APC government,” CNPP said.
“We, members of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties CNPP, in Ondo State, having met on, and observed, political developments in our State as we coast home to the October 10, 2020 governorship election, agree and make the following statements.
“That rather than abate, such violence have taken new dimensions with meetings of political parties being invaded by known thugs/members of the APC, their cronies and agents.
“That we are aware that these spreading violence may not be unconnected with the well articulated though sinister position expressed by D.I. Kekemeke, a self confessed militant and an apparachick of the APC, who not only boasted of being in possession of high calibre arms, but went ahead to name known harbingers of violence that are to be recruited to cause mayhem from within and without the State.
“That spreading across the state are confirmed incidences of battered heads, broken limbs and bruised bodies which allign with the ‘strategy’ openly canvassed by Kekemeke which is yet to be condemned by his party, the APC.
“That these have also been followed with illegal arrests, dehumanising treatment and detention of members of the opposition parties by police and military officers.
“That we see these as a dress rehearsal to show the ‘preparedness” of the ‘warmongers’ to let loose violence on the opposition and the electorates in our dear state.
“That these developments crudely ape the political activities that led to the truncation of the first and second republics which we are sure no right thinking Nigerian would be at peace seeing similar things unfolding in the run up to the 2020 election in our state.
“The only way to avoid a sad repeat of the events of the better forgotten experience is to arrest the descent into anarchy that current trend portend.
“We therefore call on the President and Commander in chief of the armed forces, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Inspector General of Police and all the service chiefs and particularly the Directorate of State Service to take immediate steps to discourage the legitimisation of violence and the destruction of our fledgling democracy.
“We state that we expect nothing but professionalism and demonstrable fairness from the police and indeed all the security agencies.
“Our minimum request is that all agencies to be involved in the forthcoming polls display obvious neutrality and fairness to all.”
He also raised alarm over plot to arrest and incarcerate some key political figures in the opposition parties ahead of the election.
Boboye added that, “While we are aware of clandestine plans to arrest and detain effective and active opposition politicians across the state on trumped up accusations before the election only to release them after the polls, we warn that such could only heighten tension which may result in public tumult.
“We as members of the CNPP have resolved to conduct ourselves in the most civil and most decorous manner in the forthcoming election but will not watch the outgoing government and party throw our dear state into unpredictable darkness.
“We have attached to this statement recorded evidences of violence, brigandage and election manipulation in our State for prompt information and action. We expect immediate action from all concerned on these and many more security concerns of our dear state,” Boboye said.
APC REACTS TO ALLEGATIONS
Reacting, the Publicity Secretary of APC in the state, Alex Kalejaye, described the allegations as untrue and unfounded, saying this is in their imagination as APC will never condone thuggery.
Kalejaye said “these are very spurious allegations coming from parties that are expected to provide political education to the people.
Our governorship candidate, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, is a peace-loving man with a palpable passion for law and order.
“The All Progressives Congress, APC, will neither promote violence nor endure thuggery. The performance of the APC led government in the last three and half years are sufficient for us to the campaign, having justified the mandate given to us four years ago.
“We know of course, that the fear of the unknown is not unusual when faced with precarious situations as these persons are made to contend with.
“We can only appeal to them to calm down and pursue their ambition in a lawful manner.