The All Nigeria Progressives (APC) has condemned the conduct of the Ekiti governorship election in which its candidate, Gov. Kayode Fayemi, lost to Ayoele Fayose of the Peoples Democratic Election (PDP).
The elections, considered by many to have been free and fair, shocked many within the APC as they now face the unlikely outcome that they would lose even more states in the South-West.
While Gov. Fayemi has won admiration for conceding and ruling out going to tribunal, the leadership of the APC, called attention to the incidents before the day of the election, insisting that the heavy presence of security men in the state aided the PDP’s victory.
If, therefore, we view the just-concluded election in Ekiti as a process, then we can confidently say that while the events of the voting day itself may have led many to believe that the election was free and fair, the same cannot be said of the events before, during and after the election.
“We believe that the events leading to the D-Day in Ekiti negate the principles of a free, fair and credible election. From the militarization of the election to the police attack on our supporters, arrest and detention of our leaders across the state and the use of huge funds to induce voters, the federal authorities skewed everything in favour of the PDP,” the APC said in a communiqué issued at the end of inaugural meeting of its National Working Committee.
“With thousands of armed troops, police, state security and civil defence personnel deployed to Ekiti, the state was simply under a total lock down,” the communiqué signed by National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed said.
It read further: “While we believe that the police and the civil defence indeed have a role to play in providing the necessary security for the election, we do not see why soldiers and NDLEA operatives who were armed to the teeth need to be deployed to a non-belligerent situation like an election, especially at a time that their services are more needed in the North Eastern part of Nigeria where over two hundred abducted girls are still missing and where innocent Nigerians are being killed daily.
“The questions to ask are: who ordered the deployments of the troops and for what purpose. Who gave the orders to stop Gov. Rotimi Amaechi from reaching Ado-Ekiti, as the Army captain who stopped and threatened to shoot him said he was acting under ”orders from above”.
“What role the did the Ministers of State Defence, Senator Musliu Obanikoro and his counterpart in the ministry of Police Affairs Mr. Jelili Adesiyan play in all this especially given the fact that these two public servants passed by the spot where Amaechi was being molested and simply sped by.
“It is worth mentioning that the physical prevention of Gov. Amaechi from joining his colleagues at the final campaign rally of Gov. Fayemi in Ekiti is a direct function of the unnecessary deployment of troops to Ekiti for the election. This event will go down as the biggest affront to democracy in our country in recent times.
“Also worth mentioning is the flagrant abuse of national institutions that led to the country’s aviation authorities shutting down airports in Akure and elsewhere on the same day that our party had its last campaign rally in Ado-Ekiti. This act of impunity was targeted solely at the opposition, and it runs against global standards. Airports are never shut without the issuance of a NOTAM – Notice to Airmen. Again, who gave the orders for the closure of these airports,” it added.
The communiqué also added: “On the eve of the election and on election day, without any reason, security personnel arrested APC leaders and supporters across Ekiti, ferrying them far away from where they could vote or monitor the conduct of the election. This is an attestation to the fact that the security operatives were in the state more for a sinister motive than just to provide security for the election.
“In fact, the compromise by the security operatives became more obvious when a so-called Special Task Force comprising of Military, Police, SSS and NDLEA officers were summoned to a meeting Friday afternoon – a day before the election, near the Tantaliser fast food eatery at Ado-Ekiti.
“In the presence of AIG Bala Nasarawa, Mrs. Florence Ikhanone (National Director of SSS) and Brig.-Gen. Momoh, who was the head of the military to the election, Mr Ayo Fayose’s Chief Security Officer, Kayode Adeoye, and Chris Uba addressed the curiously-named Special Task Force which included 67 SSS operatives, 30 soldiers, 30 NDLEA operatives and 70 mobile policemen.
“Adeoye and Uba reminded the officers of the Special Task Force of their duty to President Goodluck Jonathan, who was identified as their benefactor, and how the officers must ensure that their benefactor wins the election.
“This was the same team that went round the state from Friday evening and throughout the duration of the election picking leaders of the APC from across the state in specially-designated black buses with Presidency plate numbers.
“The case of the Campaign Manager of Gov. Fayemi, Mr. Bimbo Daramola, was particularly traumatic and saddening. His fiancee and aged father were harassed by armed soldiers who invaded his country home in the middle of the night, with guns being pointed at them as if they were common criminals.
“The Campaign Manager himself, an honourable member of the House of Representatives, was hounded into an unknown place by soldiers….all this because of an election!
“Also on the receiving end of the brutality by security agents were accredited journalists, some of whom were ”deported”, so to say, to neighbouring Kwara State by paid agents of state who turned themselves to enforcers for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),” it said.