Following the recent Ekiti gubernatorial election in which the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Governor Kayode Fayemi- despite having the advantage of incumbency – lost to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, some troubling news have filtered out of Osun State where the next gubernatorial election will hold on August 9, 2014.
The situation in Osun is somewhat similar to Ekiti as an unpopular incumbent APC candidate is also squaring off with a popular PDP candidate. Out of fear that their Osun candidate may lose in a free and fair contest, as happened in Ekiti, reports in major newspapers indicate that the APC is training thugs to unleash mayhem on Osun State.
Specifically, the New Telegraph recently reported that the Osun State chapter of the PDP said it had uncovered plans by the APC “to cause mayhem before and during the governorship election slated for August 9.” The report further stated that, “PDP Director of Publicity and Strategy, Prince Diran Odeyemi, who raised the alarm in Osogbo, added that Aregbesola has started recruiting thugs to make his plan a reality. He said Governor Rauf Aregbesola is now creating a nest of thugs in a desperate move to instil fear in the electorate, following APC’s loss in the Ekiti election.”
According to the New Telegraph story: “Some of the APC thugs unleashed terror on members of the party in Ibokun, Ifewara, Iwo, Ilesa and some towns in Oriade Local Government areas.” Another part of the story stated thus: “The report of these attacks on members of the party (PDP) have been lodged with police authorities in the towns where the attacks were carried out and those who sustained varying degrees of injuries in the attack are receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital for security reasons.”
Ordinarily, one would have dismissed the story as newspaper page politics between two competing political parties. But over time the APC has proven itself to be a party hell-bent on unleashing violence on Nigerians as the utterances of its leaders have shown. Indeed, the incumbent governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, recently called on his supporters to be ready to fight police and other security agencies with “cutlasses and charms”. Are the recent attacks on PDP supporters a dress rehearsal for August 9, 2014?
Moreover, former Lagos State governor and national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu, was reported to have said: “It will be rig and roast,” in reference to the Ekiti gubernatorial election during a speech at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Oyo State on April 24, 2014. This was probably why the Independent National Electoral Commission made a request to the Federal Government to ensure adequate security of lives and property during the Ekiti election. That the Ekiti election has come and gone without violence is a credit to INEC and the Federal Government.
Besides Aregbesola’s and Tinubu’s statements, Nigerians must not forget that something similar was said earlier by General Muhammadu Buhari, another national leader of the APC. Buhari, whose statement was recorded during a BBC Hausa interview, spoke in vernacular, perhaps in the hope of restricting his unstatesmanlike words to his preferred audience. Nevertheless, his words were easily translated into English for all Nigerians to bear witness. According to Buhari: “If what happened in 2011 should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood.”
When taken together, Aregbesola’s “cutlasses and charms” utterance, Tinubu’s “rig and roast” exhortation, and Buhari’s “the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood” promise paint a clear picture of a very violent APC. That the leadership of the APC has a preference for violence is something that should concern all well-meaning Nigerians, because even foreigners are beginning to express their concerns over the APC’s predilection for mayhem.
For instance, the United States Consul General, Jeff Hawkins, recently berated Tinubu and other violence-loving APC leaders in a public statement. He said: “The sponsorship of violence and intimidation, and the rhetorical threat thereof, are utterly unacceptable in a democratic society, and need to be expunged once and for all from the Nigerian polity and discourse.”
Meanwhile, even as Aregbesola, Tinubu and other APC leaders are going about inciting their supporters to either use “cutlasses and charms” and “roast” other human beings in their quest for political power, President Goodluck Jonathan has consistently insisted that no Nigerian blood is worth spilling in order to ensure his success at the polls. The difference between the PDP leadership and the APC leadership could not be more pronounced.
In order to ensure that the good people of Osun State enjoy peace, and that the August 9, 2014 election is conducted in a peaceful, free and fair atmosphere, as was the case in Ekiti, it is important that INEC and all security agencies take all necessary precautions to forestall the violence being promised by the APC. For now that we know what the APC is planning, to do nothing will only endanger the peace and tranquility of Osun.
A word, they say, is enough for the wise.
Mr. Abimbola Jones is a public affairs analyst, wrote from Lagos.
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