*Say Police, other security agencies must apologise to Nigerians
*lOoni, British envoy, Adams warn against violence, call for credible polls
*lPDP Senate caucus demands Judicial Commission of Inquiry
By Dayo Johnson, Dapo Akinrefon, Gbenga Olarinoye, Emman Ovuakporie & Dirisu Yakubu
DISTURBED by the rumpus in Ekiti State with the police tear-gassing Governor Ayodele Fayose and supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP during a victory march at the Government House Pavilion, on Wednesday, leaders and members of the party, yesterday marched to the National Assembly and Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in protest.
The protest, which was in compliance with the directive of the PDP National Working Committee NWC, was also carried out in some states of the country including Abia, Imo, and Ondo.
This is coming as the House of Representatives has set up five committees to probe the Ekiti issue while Ooni of Ife, Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II; British High-Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Arkwright; and Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Aare Gani Adams, warned stakeholders against violence and stressed the need for credible poll, tomorrow.
During their peaceful march to the National Assembly and INEC, the PDP leaders and supporters demanded among others, the conduct of free, fair and credible governorship poll in Ekiti State.
Led by the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus and other members of the NWC, the procession took off at the Legacy House as youths and women sang in solidarity with the party.
Placards bearing various messages such as ‘Buhari, stop intimidating Nigerians’, ‘This is not the democracy we voted for’, ‘Buhari, you are not God’, among others, were displayed by the protesters who conducted themselves in orderly fashion much to the admiration of security personnel on hand to forestall a possible breakdown of law and order.
At the National Assembly entrance gate where the protesters were received by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, former ministers of Aviation and Women Affairs, Kema Chikwe and Josephine Anenih, respectively were on hand to coordinate the women as they sang the famous song, “I have decided” swapping PDP for Jesus and concluding with “No turning back.”
Presenting a letter of protest to Ekweremadu, Secondus said the leadership of the PDP decided to bring to the notice of the National Assembly what he called the assault on democracy in Ekiti State.
“We have come to notify our lawmakers that democracy is under threat. Only yesterday (Wednesday), the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose was assaulted, harassed and pushed to the ground. The All Progressives Congress, APC, has not only placed democracy under threat in Nigeria but also throughout the world.
“We are aware of a civilian coup in Ekiti but all we are saying is that we don’t want elections to be rigged. The international community is watching what the security agencies and INEC will do on Saturday. We demand free and fair elections because anything short of this is a recipe for disaster.”
Receiving the letter, Ekweremadu promised that the leadership of the National Assembly will look into the issues raised in the letter even as he admonished security agents to play by the rules at all times.
“All the issues raised in your petition will be looked into by the leadership of the National Assembly. We are going to make contacts with INEC and the police and we are going to do everything possible to make sure that there are free and fair elections,” Ekweremadu pledged.
From the National Assembly, the protesters marched to the INEC headquarters where one of its national commissioners, Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola received the party’s petition on behalf of the commission.
Reps to Buhari: Get IGP, others to apologise over misconduct
Meanwhile, members of the House of Representatives, yesterday, moved that President Muhammadu Buhari should direct the Nigeria Police and other security agencies to apologise to Nigerians over their misconduct.
To this end, the House asked all its relevant security-related committees to probe the Ekiti matter and report back within two weeks for further legislative action.
This resolution was based on an amendment raised by Rep Isa Ali that the matter should be investigated by all the security committees in addition to the prayers in the motion.
The move was consequent upon a motion of urgent public importance, titled: ‘Urgent Need to Intervene and Save Our Democracy’ by Rep Tajudeen Yusuf, PDP, Kogi praying the House to condemn the action of the police in Ekiti and make the Nigeria police apologise to Nigerians.
Yusuf, who doubles as chairman, House committee on Capital Market and Institutions, in his lead debate expressed concern over the barricade
of Ekiti State Government House in Ado Ekiti by Nigeria Police Force, few days to the governorship election.
He said: “Nigeria is a democratic state and the complete takeover and the barricade of the Ekiti State Government House and violent assault on armless civilians, including a serving Governor of the State does not fall within the contemplation of the general duties of the Police under section 4 of the Police Act and indeed the tenets of true democracy and the rule of law.
“The House is concerned that the above state of affairs playing out in Ekiti State clearly portends great danger for us, particularly, in view of the 2019 general elections and the heightened insecurity in the country.
“The House is also concerned that the said action of the police is clearly an illegality and constitutional breach which must not happen or continue in a constitutional democracy. The House is worried that whereas INEC has put in the enormous time, effort and public funds/resources in its determination to conduct governorship election in Ekiti State, the police and other security agencies by their overzealous action are likely to constitute ‘a clog in the wheel’ of INEC’s progress, integrity and credibility of the election and ridicule Nigeria among the comity of democratic nations.”
At this juncture the presiding officer, Yakubu Dogara threw the debate open for members after which the House asked its committees to probe the matter.
PDP Senate caucus reacts
Meanwhile, the PDP Senate caucus yesterday called on the Federal government to as a matter of urgency, set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to carry out a holistic investigation into the attack on the governor.
The PDP Senate Caucus which condemned in very strong terms, the attack on the governor, described it as an affront on the inalienable rights of the people of Ekiti State to a peaceful, free, fair and credible election.
Addressing journalists yesterday in Abuja after a closed-door session of the caucus, the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, PDP, Akwa Ibom North-West noted that Governor Fayose was lucky to have escaped with his life after he was battered by the policemen on the orders of the Presidency.
Ooni, Arkwright, Adams urge peaceful, credible poll
Also, the Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II has advised the people of Ekiti state against acts of violence before and during tomorrow’s poll saying a bloody election in Ekiti will also affect other states.
According to a statement by the spokesman of the palace, Moses Olafare, the Co-Chairman of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria made this admonition Wednesday evening at his Ile-Oodua palace, Ile-Ife while hosting the British High-Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Arkwright.
“What I heard happening in Ekiti State during this electioneering period does not make me happy as their father. Enough of crisis, we do not want any crisis in Yorubaland, where there is violence, progress and tranquility will be deprived, but where there is peace, there is progress”, Ooni stated.
“I specifically warn all youths in Ekiti state to maintain peaceful coexistence before, during and after the election, as brighter future awaits them if they productively discover themselves. Youths must refuse to be used for political violence that wastes their lives because they too can become governor or President of the country in the nearest future”, he said.
Speaking in the same vein, the visiting British envoy, Paul Arkwright who is also the United Kingdom Chief Observer to Nigeria on the Ekiti governorship election, called for a free, fair, credible and peaceful poll.
He said his visit was based on observing the conduct of the Ekiti election which precedes the 2019 general elections.
Election shouldn’t be a do-or-die affair — Gani Adams
In like manner, Aare Gani Adams called on political parties, politicians, candidates and the electorate to ensure peace and tranquility in the state, before, during and after the July 14, governorship election in Ekiti State, saying election should not be a do-or-die affair.
In a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Aderemi, Aare Adams expressed concern over the prevailing situation in the state, saying: “In the build-up to Saturday’s election, Ekiti State has been in the news for the wrong reason. A situation where the security of the electorate is not guaranteed is not acceptable to our democracy in the 21stcentury.
“The election in Ekiti on Saturday will be the first election in the Southwest since my installation as the Aare Onakakanfo of Yoruba land in January. As the Aare Onakakanfo of Yoruba land, with strong belief in the promotion of Yoruba culture, and a proponent of peace across the world, I urge the Inspector General of Police, the Department of State Service, DSS, and other government security architecture to rise up to the challenge of ensuring peace in Ekiti this Saturday.”
Police have compromised on Ekiti election — Ondo PDP
Vice Chairman of the PDP in Ondo State, Alhaji Fatai Adams, yesterday, led other members of the state executive and party members to protest against the alleged assault by men of the police on Governor Fayose.
The protesters, who stormed the streets in Akure condemned the undemocratic activities of the security operatives in the state.