Ondo PDP raises alarm over electoral violence

LESS than 24 hours to the Presidential election in the country, the Ondo state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Thursday raised the alarm over plans by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state to cause electoral violence across the state.

The State Chairman of the PDP in the state, Hon. Clement Faboyede, who stated this during a press conference in Akure, Ondo state capital, accused the state Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi, of spearheading the attack to disrupt election in the state

According to Faboyede, the Deputy Governor had been using thugs, fake security agencies to harass and threaten the people of the coastal community ahead of the Saturday election, saying some PDP leaders in the district had been arrested and detained.

He said “The information at our disposal has fingered some leaders of APC IN Ondo State to cause electoral violence; and first on the list is the Deputy Governor, His Excellency Agboola Ajayi.

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“He is exploiting all opportunities and avenues, including the use of thugs to cause violence in this election. It is an open secret that he has mobilized thugs and some unofficial security agencies to harass and detain our party leaders in the Southern Senatorial District.

“We are appealing to the whole world to please talk to the Deputy Governor to allow a free and fair election. It is worthy to note that he has sworn an oath to protect lives and properties; he is the Deputy Governor of the state and not of APC.

“It will be negative of his office to unleash harassment, terror and to detain the opposition party leaders in his district or anywhere in the state.

“There should be free and fair elections in the three senatorial districts of this state, most especially Ese-Odo Local Government, the Apois and Arogbo/Ijaw axis where the Deputy comes from.

But the Deputy Chief Press Secretary to Ajayi, Mr Olorunleke Akeredolu, refuted the allegations against his boss and the state government, saying the major opposition party, PDP, was only raising a false alarm and foul cry.

Akeredolu, who also described the allegation as “both distasteful and regretful,” however, explained the terms of engagement with the ex-Niger Delta militants.

According to him, “It is also a shame that a national party like the PDP would throw caution to the wind and deliberately embark on peddling complete falsehood in a desperate attempt to discredit an election that is yet to hold.

“This action of the PDP in Ondo State is symptomatic of a political party that is being stared in the face by sure defeat at the polls.

The PDP chairman maintained that APC in the state through the Secretary to the State Government, Hon. Ifedayo Abegunde, Senator representing Ondo Central District, Tayo Alasoadura and the Chairman of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Jacob Adebo, have been planning to unleash terror on the opposition parties.

“We also have on record of militancy and thuggery in past elections, and information at our disposal reveals that they are stocking arms at the new stadium under construction in Akure to be used to disrupt the election and cart away ballot boxes in the Central Senatorial District.

“Tayo Alasoadura should know that he is holding a distinguished position and know that he should be law-abiding. He has to be electoral Act-compliant, nurturing thugs is undemocratic, it is against the electoral act.

“We are begging him also to please check his friends of using thugs to cart away ballot boxes or shooting sporadically in the air to scare away voters,” Faboyede said.

He warned members of the NURTW in the state to desist from meddling in the politics of the state and from being used as political thugs to repress the opposition parties.

“The APC party parades hooligans and thugs under the disguise of NURTW headed by Idajo. It is becoming too much of him, this state belongs to all of us. We on our side, we are law-abiding and won’t go against the law.

“We love peace, we know we are winning this election and want every vote to count in Ondo State. We are appealing to Idajo to be law abiding and to sheathe all his hooliganism, he should allow peace to reign.”

They also called on the Federal Government and state governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, to impress on his Deputy and other party loyalists to refrain from any action that could plunge the state into any electoral violence.

“So far so good, Akeredolu has exhibited that he is the governor of the state and not of APC, but we want to beg him to call to order Ajayi, Alasoadura, Abegunde and Idajo.

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“We are begging the governor to use his good office to appeal to all his lieutenants to complete themselves and allow a peaceful, free, fair and rancour-free election.”

“We don’t want the repetition of the 1983 saga in Ondo State when houses were burnt and several lives were lost as a result of election rigging. We are begging for peace and will remain peaceful.”

The PDP leaders also appealed to the new Commissioner of Police, Mr Undie Adie and other security agencies to be proactive and ensure that some unscrupulous politicians do not use government machinery to oppress the people.

Also reacting to the PDP allegation, the State Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr Alex Kalejaye said the popularity of the party in the state has been causing a nightmare for members of PDP in the state, saying the party remains a party to beat in any election.

Kalejaye said “The APC, in Ondo State is so popular in Ondo State to conclude that we are riding to victory with ease at the polls.

Therefore, it is inconceivable that the APC would contemplate using violence for whatever reason. We can never be lured into embracing violence in an election we are favoured to win by all indices.

The APC has campaigned vigorously across the country and indeed, the State, to convince the electorate that President Muhammadu Buhari deserve a fresh mandate, to sustain the rebuilding of the economy and the sincere war against corruption.

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