Ondo 2020: Police read riot act to political parties, politicians
•as group condemns attack on opposition party
Following the violence that erupted between the supporters of All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oba Akoko in Akoko Southwest Local Government Area of Ondo State on Wednesday, the state police command on Thursday, read the riot act to politicians and political parties participating in the next governorship election in the state.
The State Commissioner of Police, Bolaji Salami, while speaking in Akure, the state capital, warned the various political parties to maintain decorum in the affairs of their political campaigns according to electoral dictates and laws of the land.
Salami who noted that the fracas that occurred between the two political parties in Oba-Akoko with some destructions of property is uncalled for, and urged the political parties to strictly adhere to their campaign timetable.
He said in order to avoid this kind of situation, the command has drawn a timetable for all political parties participating in the governorship election to ensure that no two political parties campaign falls on the same day and venue, but wondered why they still cross each other’s path during campaigns.
He warned all political gladiators against turning campaigns into war fronts, saying the command will fold its arms and watch politicians disrupting the peace bring enjoyed by the people of the state.
He promised to punish any person or political party turning campaigns into war, saying, nobody is above the law of the land.
Salami said the command would ensure constant deliberations with political party leaders in the state to ensure the election a free, fair and credible election in the state, urging them not to allow their supporters to embark campaigns that can wreak havoc on innocent citizens.
He said though the situation in Oba-Akoko has been put under control, but warned political thugs to have a rethink or risk arrest and possible prosecution.
Meanwhile, a group, Civil Society Watch (CSW), has condemned the violence unleashed on the candidate of the PDP, Eyitayo Jegede, in Oba -Akoko, on Wednesday called for an investigation into the incident.
The group in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Dare Akindolie, called on the Federal Government to investigate the incident and query the security apparatus attached to the state governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu,
“CSW demanded an investigation into why a serving governor would allegedly have about five or ten buses loaded with masked and armed thugs wielding pump-action and AK47 guns on a political campaign.”
The group also asked the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Department of State Security (DSS) to query the security operatives in the state for allowing Akeredolu to campaign in Ondo North Senatorial District on Wednesday, in violation of the security arrangements put in place by the security agencies.
According to CSW, “the place assigned to Akeredolu for the campaign at the time the incident occurred was the southern senatorial district of the state.
“The heads of security agencies in the state had earlier met with all the candidates and declared that they did not want a situation whereby two candidates would campaign in the same district at the same time.
“Jegede was assigned to be in Ondo North yesterday (Wednesday) but curiously, Akeredolu showed up in the same senatorial district, in clear violation of the rules.
“As NGOs and rights organisations had consistently cried out that APC wants to turn Ondo into a battlefield, maiming and killing innocent citizens, it is clear that the violence unleashed on Jegede aligns with the well-documented promise of a chieftain of the party.
The group, however, warned against the repeat of the 1983 violence that engulfed the state and said “It is time the government of Buhari, who came to power as an opposition candidate following the free and fair election of 2015, paid heed to the calls by highly placed and well-meaning individuals to allow a free democratic process in the country,”