… Calls for Free, Fair Governorship Election
By Lucky Isibor
Members of the Edo state chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Thursday embarked on a peaceful protest round major streets in Benin City, the state capital to register their displeasure with the alleged police brutality of its members in Ekiti state ahead Saturday’s governorship election.
The protesters which comprised of very senior members of the party had a brief stop at the Edo NUJ secretariat, Press Centre on their way to the state police command headquarters to submit a letter of protest to the police high command.
According to the spokesman of the protesters and publicity secretary of the party in the state, Chris Nehikhare, the protest was to register the party’s displeasure over the way Governor Ayo Fayose and the Governorship Candidate of the PDP for the July 14th election Prof. Olusola Eleka and the people of Ekiti State were treated at a rally.
He decried the incessant arrest, intimidation and oppression of Governor Fayose and other PDP leaders in Ekiti warning that it is dangerous for the nation’s democracy.
“It is disheartening that a sitting Governor will be brutalized and humiliated while embarking on their peaceful campaign. Elections in Ekiti State must be free, fair and credible devoid of rigging”, he declared.
Chris Nehikhare pointed out that the actions of the ruling APC and President Buhari was gradually drifting the country into dictatorship with no regard for the rule of law and fundamental human rights of the citizenry.
While describing as shameful the deployment of 30,000 police men to Ekiti state while neglecting other parts of the country being ravaged by the marauding Fulani herdsmen, Nehikhare queried the police authorities for not deploying at least 2,000 out of the 30,000 security agents to Plateau State where Fulani herdsmen slaughtered over 200 persons.
He accused the leadership of the ruling party of importing thugs to Ekiti State from Edo state with the intention of rigging and manipulating the poll. “Edo people don’t have any business in Ekiti”, he stated.
Responding on behalf of the Edo state Council of the Nigeria Union of journalists (NUJ), the Financial Secretary, Mr. Lucky Isibor advised the protesters to be modest in their conduct while on the peaceful protest from NUJ to the State Police Headquarters.
Addressing newsmen after submitting the party’s petition to the Edo State Commissioner of Police, CP Johnson Kokumo who was represented by DCP (Operations) Olatunji Ayodele, the Secretary of Edo PDP, Hon Felix Imoisili described Wednesday’s incident and alleged police brutality on Governor Fayose as another sad development for Nigeria’s democracy and called on all concerned to ensure the election is free and fair.
“One man one vote and one youth one vote, we are tired of bloodletting where the country has been turned into a theater of war.
“We question the rationale behind the deployment of 30,000 policemen and 20,000 NSCDC officers making it a total of 50,000 to a civil election when about 20 persons were slaughtered in Adamawa state just yesterday without any tangible security presence there till now. We must rescue Nigeria because we are tired,”‘he concluded.