AHEAD of this week’s Saturday governorship election in Osun, it is assumed to have taken another dimension, on Monday, in Osogbo, when the Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro issued a stern warning to leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC), not to test the strong will of the Federal Government to defend the nation’s democracy.
He maintained that President Goodluck Jonathan’s commitment to ensure that Nigeria’s peace and democratic rule were not truncated should be supported by all, irrespective of political, religion and tribal inclinations.
Addressing a joint press conference with the former Minister for Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode and Mr Akin Oshuntokun, on Monday evening in Osogbo, Obanikoro allegedly accused the APC leaders of discreetly transporting political thugs and hoodlums from Lagos and other neigbhouring states in the South West, including the Niger Delta to perpetrate violence before and on the election day.
According to him, “I am addressing this gathering as the Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We are here to ensure that we have a free and fair election. The outcome of this election is very paramount to us. We want the election process to be peaceful. Election is not just about somebody winning and somebody losing.
There is a process and we want to ensure that the processes that would culminate in the announcement of the winner is credible”.
Apparently defending the increasing number security agents for the conduct of the poll, Obanikoro asserted that “we have it on good authority that people are being mobilised from other states in the South West, particularly from Lagos. Alimosho area, including all the local governments and the 37 LCDAs”.
“We believe this kind of movement is capable of causing unnecessary crisis. And that why we have ensured the presence of security men to ensure that people who doesn’t have business being here are not here. In a free and fair contest just like we have in Ekiti, the loser came out to clearly commend and also congratulate the winner of the election”, he contended.
“The federal government would not be deterred in its moves to achieve a matured democracy in Nigeria and Osun State. At the end of the exercise, tis week’s Saturday, the loser will accept the winner as a clear winner without shouting hullabaloo of any form”, Obanikoro submitted.
While charging all segments of the society, including the media to support the nation in protecting democracy, he affirmed that to have a free and fair process requires the supports of everybody”.
In his remark, Fani-Kayode posited that “what happened in Ekiti on the 21st of June had opened the door for the rest of South West and we are targeting Lagos State in the same equal measure. The objective is to sweep away those we believe have not done as well as they could have done in the last few years”.
Security forces in Osun to forestall crisis —Presidency
The Presidency ,on Monday, said that the Federal Government decided to deploy forces to Osun State ahead of the Saturday’s governorship election based on security reports on the plans to cause mayhem during the the poll.
Special Adviser to President GoodluckJonathan on Political Matters, Professor Ahmed Rufa’I Alkali,who stated this in Abuja on Monday,pointed out that the unfavourable security reports prompted President Jonathan to announce in Osogbo,the Osun State capital last Saturday that Police would mount guard before and during the election.
He said Nigerians should be grateful for the efforts by the president in making the last governorship election in Ekiti State peaceful and he had expressed confidence that Osun election too would equally be peaceful. He pointed out that no responsible government would fold its arms when the security of lives and property were being threatened in any civilised society as it was done in Osun State.
This was coming as he predicted the return of the entire South-West states to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), through the 2015 polls.
Professor Alkali said it was glaring that the PDP was the most grounded in the zone given the manner the electorate in the South-West, had been rooting for the ruling party in the recent time.
He said it was necessary for the zone to return to the centre by 2015 in other to shake off the toga of opposition with which it had long been identified.
Professor Alkali expressed regrets that the courts halted the good plans of PDP for the South West when some of the states, according to him, fell on the laps of the opposition party by court pronouncements.
According to him, “It was glaring as every body could see that the crowd of PDP supporters ,who welcomed PDP in Osogbo was awesome. If I had doubts before now, like any other person based on propaganda, I am now more rest assured that Osun State is as good as returning to PDP after the governorship election”.
On the PDP campaign in Osun State,he urged the electorate in the state to key into the promises by President Jonathan, to work with Omisore if elected as a governor.
He said that promise alone should make the people of Osun to dump the opposition party by going out on the election day to vote massively for PDP.
He recalled that Osun state was doing well under the PDP before returning to the opposition as he recalled that the election of the former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola as the PDP National Secretary was part of the grace the state has been having under PDP.
He expressed delight that the current National Secretary of PDP, Professor Wale Oladipo also hails from Osun state, noting that Osun would get more patronage under PDP should the party obtain victory during the next governorship election. He however appealed to the PDP in Osun not to bicker at the moment, bearing in mind that doing so would not augur well for the interest of the party during the election.
APC condemns use of soldiers
A security consultant, Dipo Okeyomi, has described the plan to use soldiers, during the governorship election in Osun State, as unnecessary and an ‘over-kill.’
Okeyomi, who is also a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), stressed that there is no need to militarise a civilian election when the country is not in a war situation whereby the electorate would need tight security to and from polling centres, describing the action as a danger to democracy and a temptation to the military authorities.
Okeyomi tasked the Federal Government and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow the electorate to decide their preferred candidate among the contestants, instead of pursuing what he called desperate politics.
“Nothing can be more desperate. That is what it is. And it is unfortunate that the international community would be mocking us as an unorganised country.
How can a state election be such militarised? It is an attempt to deny the electorate their right to troop out to vote for their choice candidates,” he noted.
Okeyomi further stated that the physical transformation of Osun State by Aregbesola’s administration in the last four years, informed the people’s readiness to give the governor a second term to complete many projects he is currently handling.