By Emmanuel Oloniruha
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned Wednesday’s physical attack on Gov. Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti by policemen deployed for Saturday’s governorship election in the state.
Addressing a news conference in Abuja on Wednesday, National Chairman of PDP Mr Uche Secondus, described the incident as “a complete attack on democratic order and direct assault on Ekiti State and her people’’.
According to him, Nigeria’s democracy has finally come under heavy attack.
Secondus said that in the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s desperation to take over Ekiti, the Federal Government deployed armed police personnel led by top officers, including Commissioner of Police in charge of Mobile Unit.
He said that the police blocked the state’s Government House, attacked and placed the democratically elected governor under house arrest.
“At the moment, no one goes in or out of the Government House.
“The invading police squad sacked the official security at the Government House, fired sporadically into the premises during which Gov. Fayose was beaten by policemen and brought down by volleys of teargas while several others were injured.’’
He said that the party had been informed that the attack was in line with the earlier boast to “cage” Fayose ahead of the election.
“In fact, we have been made aware that the invasion was a plot to assassinate Gov. Fayose and blame it on accidental discharge by one of the policemen.
“The PDP marks this siege on an elected governor and a government house as a recipe for violence.
“It is a complete attack on our democratic order and direct assault on the corporate existence of Ekiti and her people as a federating part of our nation.”
Secondus said that information available to the PDP revealed that APC planned to deploy its governors in each local government area of Ekiti to “coordinate its rigging plot”.
He added that intelligence had also revealed that the 30,000 policemen and some “compromised” military personnel deployed to Ekiti were being positioned to embark on mass arrest and harassment of citizens.
He said the attempt was with the view to frighten the people and prevent them from participating in the election.
Secondus said that the PDP believed that all harassment, threats, arrests or even murder, would end in vain.
He said that the people of the state were fully ready now, more than ever, to face all.
In a separate news conference also in Abuja, Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Sen. Wali Jubril, advised security agencies to ensure that the election in Ekiti was peaceful.
Jubril cautioned that the deployment of security personnel for the election should not lead to war, destruction of lives and property.
“We did not want this security to be transformed to regret.”
On his part, former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, urged the Federal Government to do everything within its powers to douse the tension being generated over the governorship election in Ekiti.
Abubakar, in a statement issued by his media office, said that images coming out of Ekiti “in the last few hours” was uncivil assault on democracy and “falls short of democratic best practices”.
He said that instructions must be immediately given to all law enforcement bodies on ground in Ekiti to act in the best interest of Nigeria.
Abubakar stated that it was not in the place of government to harass, intimidate, hound and humiliate political opponents in an election.
“What the government should do is to provide a level-playing ground and guarantee the security of the electorate and the principal political actors in the election.
“The immunity that a president enjoys under the constitution is the same immunity being enjoyed by a state governor.
“Thus, it is an aberration to democratic norms and practices in a federal system of government that one layer of government should muscle out another government on account of political differences.
“The democracy and fundamental human rights that Nigerians enjoy today was earned at a very high price.”
He advised that anything that would put democracy in jeopardy in Ekiti or anywhere else in Nigeria should be stopped forthwith.
From Rivers State, Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike condemned the brazen attack on Ekiti State by the Nigeria Police, saying that it was an affront on the inalienable rights of the people of Ekiti State to a peaceful, free, fair and credible election.
In a press conference on Wednesday night at the Government House Port Harcourt, Governor Wike said that Governor Fayose was lucky to escape with his life after he was battered by the policemen on the orders of the Presidency.
He called on Rivers people to be prepared to defend their mandate in 2019 as the Buhari administration will apply the same technique on all the states.
He said: “I therefore join well-meaning Nigerians to condemn this brazen attack on the inalienable rights of the people of Ekiti State to a peaceful, free, fair and credible elections in the strongest possible terms and warn the perpetrators of the grave danger such actions pose to the survival of our democracy.
“I wish to also draw the attention of the people of Rivers State to the fact that what is happening at Ekiti State is clearly a foretaste of what the APC-led Federal Government has planned to unleash in our State and indeed, the entire country, in their desperate attempt to rig the 2019 general elections and retain or return to power having performed woefully and lost the support of the generality of Nigerians.
“As a matter of fact, people did not quite believe me when I told the world that the APC-led Federal Government has plans to assassinate me to enable them capture Rivers State because they know they have no electoral foothold in the State.
“Today, the whole world has seen how Governor Ayo Fayose was barely lucky to have escaped the State-sponsored attempt at his life with a fractured hand and bruised face because, with him around, hale and hearty, they will never win the Saturday elections free and fair in Ekiti.
“In the face of these challenges therefore, I wish to call on the people of Rivers State to be prepared to fight and defend their rights to freely and democratically elect their leaders in the 2019 general elections.”
He assured the people of Rivers State that he will never surrender their mandate, saying that he will defend the interest of the state with his life.
He said: “As your Governor I will never surrender your mandate and abiding interest of our State to our enemies who seek to keep us enslaved and plundered even at the pain of death.
“I wish to commend and congratulate the irrepressible Governor Ayo Fayose and the people of Ekiti State for standing up and standing firm in defence of their rights to freedom, democracy and good governance.
“I want to assure you of the support of the Government and people of Rivers State at these trying times. You need not fear as God will surely defeat your enemies and grant you a resounding victory come Saturday 14th July 2018.”
Governor Wike said that the reasons adduced by the Police High Command is infantile and shameful. He said that no permission is required for a peace rally.
He said: “In explaining the attack, the Deputy Inspector General of Police (Operations), Habila Joshak shamelessly claimed that they acted to brutalize the Governor and his people because the rally and peaceful road walk he was to address and lead was not authorized by the police. This claim is totally rubbish and should be told to the marines.
“Knowing that it cannot defeat the PDP in a free and fair electoral contest, the APC had earlier threatened to cage the Governor and takeover Ekiti State Government House by brutal force.
“Today’s brutal action was therefore carried out in furtherance of the deliberate plan to intimidate the people of Ekiti State in order to facilitate the actualization of the devilish intentions of the enemies of democracy.”