WOLE BALOGUN, Ado Ekiti
The senatorial candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in the Ekiti Central senatorial district, Barrister Obafemi Adewale, has alleged that some hoodlums loyal to the All Progressives Congress (APC), who allegedly followed the convoy of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo into the state on Monday vandalised his campaign materials and removed others.
Obafemi, who is former Secretary-General of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and ex-Attorney- General of Ekiti State, also described the alleged destruction of his campaign materials as a rude shock to his party and unwholesome development against democratic precedents.
His words: “We are having this press briefing because of the significance that we attach to the latest development that occurred in the state, particularly in Ado Ekiti on Monday. In furtherance of our campaign for the February 16 polls, we have mounted our campaign materials all over the state just like any other candidate; it was, however, a rude shock to us and for me particularly as a senatorial candidate of PDP in Ekiti Central to wake up on Monday morning to the ugly acts of some undemocratic forces who went all over the state to vandalise our campaign materials and remove many of them.
“We found out that only the materials for me and other candidates of the PDP were so vandalised by those hoodlums. We also observed that none of the materials of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was so vandalised; this unequivocally establishes the fact that it was done by either member of APC or hoodlums, criminals sympathetic to APC; we noted in particular, one of our billboards in front of Eyitayo estate on Iworoko Road, Ado Ekiti, was vandalised by miscreants who were within the convoy of the VP, and there are eyewitnesses to this development. It is very clear that this was done by the APC and we are worried by the fact that the ruling APC is displaying intolerance to the opposition in the state.
“Maybe they wanted to give an impression to the VP that they are the only one on ground here; we want the world to know that the stronghold of PDP is Ekiti Central senatorial district; this is a PDP state and it has been demonstrated by the results of past polls in the state since 2003.
“The democratic space is been polluted and shrunk by the activities of these undemocratic elements in the state. We demand peaceful, free and fair polls not only in Ekiti but in the nation. It is the only way we can guarantee true democracy; what happened in Ekiti on Monday if not checked was a message that the opposition cannot operate freely in the state but we refuse to be intimidated. I urge my supporters not to remain undaunted, determined and hold out firmly against oppression, intimidation and undemocratic forces; Nigeria is a great country and Ekiti is a land of honour; we want to behave ourselves honourably and we plead with the ruling party to allow peace to reign in the state. One of the hallmarks of democracy is a periodic change in administration through democratic elections; this election cannot be considered democratic if the ruling party is not allowing the opposition to operate freely.
“The presidential candidate of the PDP Atiku Abubabar visited Ekiti last week and PDP members did not vandalise campaign materials of APC or other parties because Atiku was in town; what would APC have lost if they allowed the VP to know that there are other parties campaigning in Ekiti. I tell you, the highest form of deceit is self-deceit; what APC is trying to do is to give a false impression that they are the only one on the ground, but by the results of the coming polls, we will show them that PDP is the only party to beat here. We don’t want those who come from Abuja to think that it is only APC; no matter how those who are in power think they are, the peoples’ power is greater.
The APC has not been campaigning in our senatorial district; we hear rumours that they want to rig the polls, but we warn them against this. No one should dare rig the polls. We are peaceful people. Everyone knows that Obafemi Adewale is a peaceful living man, a gentleman. All my followers know that they must conduct themselves decently. This is how we want those in opposition and say they are the ruling party to conduct themselves.
“The VP has been campaigning against hate speeches; he should now start campaigning against hateful actions which are being done by members of his party now,” he said.