Jesusegun Alagbe, Olaleye Aluko and Enyioha Opara
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel; the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights; and the Campaign for Democracy, among others, have condemned the alleged police attack on the Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose.
In a statement, Emmanuel said such action portended grave danger for the sustenance of democracy in the country.
Fayose had on Wednesday claimed he was brutalised by policemen who allegedly stormed the main entrance to the Ekiti State Government House to stop a rally by the Peoples Democratic Party.
Residents said gunshots were fired at the main entrance to the Government House, while tear gas canisters were reportedly shot to disperse the crowd at the rally.
The governor also alleged he was hit with the butt of a gun by one of the mobile policemen.
Reacting to the incident, Emmanuel, who is the national coordinator of the PDP’s election team in Ekiti, said all governors from the party saw the police’s action as an abuse of the Constitution.
He said, “It is not about Fayose or Ekiti State, it is about every one of us. If it can happen to Fayose, it means it can happen to anybody. We should not just look at Fayose today, we should not just look at Ekiti State, let us look at Nigeria. So what is happening?
“Elections will come and go, faces will come and go, but Nigeria will remain. Let us not do something that will bring down this country.”
In his reaction, the CDHR President, Malachy Ugwummadu, said the legitimacy of the Ekiti governorship election was the popular participation of the people without police harassment or assault.
“We do not need the narrative that the police tried to paint. That interruption exposes the police as being partisan. I hope that this police action will not undermine the credibility of Saturday’s election,” he said.
The CD President, Usman Abdul, described the police’s “crude” intervention as unfortunate.
“The withdrawal of security personnel from the Ekiti State Government House is rather unfortunate. I believe the civil societies will mobilise fully to ensure that democracy, due process and credibility are not truncated in the Ekiti election,” he said.
Similarly, the President General, Ohanaeze Igbo Women Organisation Worldwide, Mrs. Calista Adimachukwu, tagged the alleged attack on Fayose as an attack on democracy and the people of Ekiti State.
“I call on the Federal Government to ensure that those involved in this crime are brought to justice, regardless of their status and rank, because we cannot continue to allow this country to drift into a lawless state,” she said.
Also condemning the incident, the Niger State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, said the police action was a violation of the 1999 Constitution, which grants immunity and protection to a serving governor.
In the letter by the State Working Committee, chaired by Tanko Beji, the party said Nigerians must rise against the police action.
The party also said it had sent a protest letter to the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, through the Niger State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Paul Yakadi.
Confirming the receipt of the letter, Yakadi promised to forward it to the IGP.
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