Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, Thursday led all the National Working Committee members and party supporters to the National Assembly and the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to protest the killings in the country and the attack on its members in Ekiti by the police on Wednesday.
Secondus who handed over a petition to Deputy Senate President Ike Ekwerenmadu alleged that the Police brutalised Ekiti state governor Ayo Fayose and locked down the Government House without any justifiable reason.
Secondus said:”Under the APC-led administration, a governor was brutalised and pushed to the ground. We are here to alert Nigerians that the APC government is a threat to democracy. Not only in Nigeria, but throughout the world. Security agencies are not above the law.
The party members registered their grievavces with inscriptions on placards that read: “enough of political tarrany”; “Nigeria is sliding into one party system”; “Buhari stop killings”, among others.
They called on the lawmakers to quickly intervene through their oversight function to curb the excesses of the executive and assault on democracy.
Addressing the crowd, Secondus emphasised that the party was reliably informed that INEC and a section of the security agencies had prepared to rig the election in Ekiti.
“That is why Ekiti today has been militarised and over policed with 30,000 policemen and women. The citizens of Ekiti are afraid, they are traumatised, they are harassed and they are being …. not to come out from their homes. They arrest members of our party and citizens of Ekiti.
“There was a civilian coup d’etat. The Ekiti Government House was sealed. The governor was brutalised. This development is an eyesore to democracy. We came first to National Assembly because you represent democracy and the hope and aspirations of Nigerians.
“This is the seat of democracy where all Nigerians elected are gathered together to discuss national issues. We believe that we should register our protest to National Assembly to quickly intervene, query, examine through your oversight function on the executive arm of government particularly on their excesses, assault on democracy with the security operatives and Independent National Electoral Commission.
“We also call on the international community to see and watch what is happening in Ekiti if this is the type of election that APC and INEC want to conduct in Ekiti. By this, the 2019 general elections is under threat. And we believe that if they continue in this manner and rig the poll, then, there will be nothing like 2019 elections.”
Ekweremadu, who received the protesters said that the peaceful protest was within the context of democracy, adding that democracy is about free speech and free expression.
He said: “We will do everything possible to ensure that we will continue to work within the tenet of democracy. We have heard you. We are going to make contacts with all the institutions of democracy as it concerns the state.
“We shall make contact with INEC, Police and other security agencies to ensure that they are neutral. I want to assure you that as soon as possible so that in Ekiti, there is going to be free and fair election.
“We believe to be leader in Africa. We cannot be leading from the back. We must show leadership by example. So, whatever we do, we must also know that the world is watching us. We want to thank you for taking this path of honour.”
Also speaking during the protest at INEC Secondus said intelligence information available to the party shows clearly that some INEC officials and some security agents were conspiring to rig election in Ekiti state.
“We have been informed that what they did in Edo state, what they called result replacement is what they are planning to use to rig election in Ekiti state and we brought all these things to bear to INEC leadership that if they compromise and rig the election, the consequences of their actions they will bear because if you rig election, it is a recipe for crisis.”
Secondus decried the massive deployment of hostile security agencies to Ekiti state ahead of Saturday’s governorship election, adding that such an action was intended to intimidate the electorate.
“So Nigerians are watching whether there will be election in 2019, it will start with the Ekiti state election. The international community I believe are also watching to find if there will be election in Nigeria in 2019,” he said.
Meanwhile, the party, in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, charged Ekiti people to protect their votes.
The party asked the Ekiti people not to despair over the violence unleashed on them by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, but square up for their inevitable triumph over oppressive forces in this weekend poll.
The party said the harassment, arrests, threats and Wednesday’s manhandling of Governor Fayose by the police squad detailed by the APC, amplifies the clarion call for the people of Ekiti state to march shoulder to shoulder with an unequaled vigour against the oppressors by voting en masse for the PDP on Saturday.
“We know that the whole essence of heavy security presence in Ekiti state is to attempt to frighten the people and scare them away from participating in the election, but such cannot work in Ekiti where the people are famous for their boldness, fearlessness and resistance in the face of repression,” the party said.