Edo, Ondo gov polls can be a journey back to 1983 — SMBLF

THE Southern and Middle-Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) on Saturday expressed great concern about the coming governorship polls in Edo and  Ondo states, saying indications were that the exercises could amount to “a journey back  to 1983.”

The 1983 poll in old Ondo State in the Second Republic, contested by then-Governor Adekunle Ajasin of main opposition party, Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) and his former deputy, Mr Akin Omoboriowo of the ruling National Party of Nigeria (NPN), was rocked with violence, leaving many dead and others injured.

SMBLF expressed this worries in a short statement issued by one of its spokespersons, Mr Yinka Odumakin, recalling  “the worrisome revelations from prophets, warning by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and an alleged directive by the Attorney- General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Muhammed Adamu, particularly on the ongoing political turmoil in Edo.

According to the leaders, prophets said God told them there would be bloodbath, while the electoral umpire said fear of  violence might force it to cancel the polls, with international intelligence centres now spreading same fears of violence.

SMBLF also frowned on  the instruction said to have been issued by Malami to Adamu to provide a shield for aggrieved  lawmakers to take over leadership of the House of Assembly in Edo State, saying this act was akin to spreading fears in the minds of the people and could subsequently lead to a bloodbath.

“Prophets have said God told them there would be a bloodbath. INEC said the fear of violence might force it to cancel the polls. International intelligence centres are now spreading fears of violence. “The AGF asking IGP to shield self-help lawmakers weeks to the election is preparing violence and spreading it. It is a journey back to  1983,” the group said.

SMBLF, therefore, called on all security agencies in the country to ensure they discharge their duties dispassionately to sustain peace before, during and after elections in the two states.

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