…Oshiomhole, Kalu woo workers, Ndigbo for Fayemi
Show of rivalry between supporters of All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Monday, ended in a clash that brought to an abrupt end of the stakeholders’ meeting convened by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris and the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu.
The parley tagged: ‘Ekiti Stakeholders Meeting’, was attended by candidates of the 35 political parties in the race.
Idris and Yakubu addressed the house after which representative of the PDP, Honourable Samuel Omotoso, a serving lawmaker, raised observations that the candidate of the APC and ex-Governor of the state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, had allegedly been bragging that he would be declared whether he loses the election or not.
Omotoso also raised observations about how he and his family were allegedly shot by security agents during APC rally in his community at Oloje town in Oye Local Government Area of the state, querying why some security agencies have been exhibiting partisanship in the countdown to the election.
When Omotoso started mentioning Fayemi’s name consistently, the APC members became uncomfortable and they raised their voices to shout him down.
In spite of this, the lawmaker refused to stop and he continued until he raised all the PDP’s objections against alleged misconducts of the security personnel.
It was after Omotoso rounded off his speech that the PDP burst into a loud noise, chanting ‘Eleka Ibo’, meaning: ‘Eleka for Votes’ for more than 10 minutes and the atmosphere of the Eagle Hall along Ikere road, Ado Ekiti, where the event was held, became charged and uncontrollable.
Eleka is the political acronym of the PDP candidate, Prof. Olubunmi Olusola, who is the Deputy Governor of the state.
Spirited efforts made by the INEC chief, Inspector General of Police and the Chairman Council of Traditional Rulers, Oba Oluwole Ademolaju, didn’t placate the rampaging party members.
It was at this time that dignitaries at the event started leaving the hall and the parley came to an abrupt end without the interactive session, where stakeholders were to ask questions and authorities concerned give relevant answers.
Earlier, the IGP said a total of 4, 390 combined forces of soldiers and other paramilitary will be deployed to complement the 30,000 policemen that have been drafted to Ekiti to monitor the election.
Idris added that a Deputy Inspector General of Police, an Assistant Inspector General of Police and five Commissioners of Police will be in-charge to give directive and ensure that the election is conducted under conducive atmosphere.
The police boss warned political leaders and their supporters to refrain from arming thugs, saying whoever arrested will be prosecuted in line with the rule of law and laws guiding the conduct of elections.
“We want all party supporters to refrain from all acts that can precipitate violence at the polling booths such as canvassing for votes, wearing of party insignias, dissuading voters from voting for candidates of their choices, loitering and blaring of siren on the day of election.
“We will also not tolerate ignoring of restriction of movement orders by the police. Don’t see election as a matter of life and death.
“Let me state that police will not hesitate to deal with anybody no matter how highly placed found flouting electoral laws.
“Let me call for the collaboration and support of the entire sister agencies and the INEC officials. Police officers have been warned to be of good conduct during and after the election.
“If you notice any misconduct on the part of any police, do not hesitate to report to the senior officers on the ground or contact me directly”, Idris added.
In his contribution, INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, said the commission decided to distribute the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to the ward level to motivate the electorate to collect to be able to exercise their franchise rights.
“For transparency, all uncollected PVCs will be brought to INEC office in Ado Ekiti and warehoused for safe keeping until a new date is fixed to resume the PVC collection,” he stated.
Also affirming that the election will be credible, the State Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ekiti, Prof. Abdulganiyu Raji, said a total of 913, 334 have been registered by the commission out of which 667,064 had collected their PVCs.
Raji said the commission still has a total of 246,270 unclaimed PVCs that were yet to be collected by owners.
Meanwhile, the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and the former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, on Monday, stormed Ekiti State to woo labour leaders and Ndigbo living in the state to vote for the candidate of the party, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in the July 14 governorship election.
Oshiomhole and Kalu reiterated the need for Fayemi to return to the Government House in view of his landmark achievements in Ekiti between 2010 and 2014 when he was the governor of the state.
While Oshiomhole led the team to canvass votes among the labour leaders, led by the former Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Ekiti chapter, Comrade Ayodeji Aluko, Kalu led the delegation that met with members of Ohaneze Ndigbo at a separate meeting.
Present at the parley with Ndigbo were Governors Ibikunle Amosun, Rotimi Akeredolu and Atiku Bagudu of Ogun, Ondo and Kebbi states respectively.
Oshiomhole, former National President of the NLC, said the APC will win the election not by intimidation but based on past records of Fayemi’s government in the state.
The former Edo State governor added that he has been told how PDP had been intimidating the people over the election, saying he has come to give assurances to workers that Fayemi won’t sack them.
“Our task as labour leaders is not to agonise but to have the will to fight. I have not come to lament that Fayose has not paid workers, I have come to give guarantee to the workers of Ekiti that their welfare will be priority to us.
“Fayemi knows that if he doesn’t perform especially for workers, I will box him from Abuja.
“Don’t be afraid, I am behind you and I will get whatever due for you from Dr. Fayemi if you convince your people to give him the votes,” he said.
Kalu, while addressing the Igbos resident in Ekiti State, said Fayemi has promised to give financial support to their businesses if elected governor, the way he did in his first term.
He urged them to discountenance the hate speeches being peddled around by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), labeling APC as anti-igbo and Islamic party, describing these as attempts to smear the image of the party.
Kalu said Fayemi remains the only person that can bring Ekiti out of squalor, saying the present governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, shouldn’t be allowed to impose whom he described a ‘cowboy’ on the people.
The former Abia State Governor added that from the look of things, the candidate of the PDP, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, doesn’t possess the credential and knack to be able to lead a complex state like Ekiti.
He said: “You have to vote for a man that is better equipped for the job. Don’t listen to the rumour that APC is an Islamic party.
“When President Muhammadu Buhari came, he inherited a massively looted economy. The PDP people were just going to the Central Bank of Nigeria to collect money on the order of the then President.
“You know what it means for the CBN to be looted and that was why we experienced the economic recession when Buhari came and today we are out of it.
“APC remains the best party for Ndigbo. I cannot be bribed by anybody to deceive you. I would rather die than to deceive you because we are one.
“President Buhari did the second Niger Bridge. He had also awarded many road contracts in the South East. Did former President Olusegun Obasanjo, late Umaru Yar’Adua and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan do all these?
“President Buhari might not have given us many appointments, but he had performed for the South East in terms of facilities and public utilities.
“If President Buhari is bad, I will be the first person to expose him. Please, vote for APC in this election. Make sure you spread the gospel and you will never regret it.
“He has promised to give you appointments in governments and give you other supports and I know the promise shall be fulfilled”, he stated.
Fayemi assured that he would treat the Ndigbo and the workers with dignity and honour if given the chance, promising to fulfill all pledges made to these groups if given the mandate to govern Ekiti again.