By Mumini Abdulkareem
The Kwara State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday raised alarm over alleged plans by some forces in the presidency to unleash over 10,000 security personnel on the state for the forthcoming Irepodun/Ekiti/Oke-Ero/Isin Federal Constituency bye-election scheduled to hold on November 17, 2018 in the state.
The PDP also said the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) is planning to storm Kwara State with thugs from neighbouring Osun State in its desperate bid to win the election at all cost.
The party further accused the APC of moves to replicate what it described as the “Osun treatment” in Kwara where people were harassed, maimed and allegedly killed during the first round of the last gubernatorial election that was initially declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
It however said it will petition relevant security agencies over the matter, adding that the electorate should be allowed to freely express their choice of candidate during the exercise.
According to the Publicity Secretary of the Kwara State chapter of the PDP, Mr Tunde Ashaolu during an interview with our reporter last night, such moves by the APC in conjunction with some forces in the presidency was baffling for a bye-election, adding that this should be a case for President Muhammadu Buhari’s integrity test.
He said, “If it is true that the Federal Government is going to unleash and enforce security apparatus on the state and allow the party to bring in thugs at the instance of their political warlords from Osun State and unleash mayhem in Kwara as we have gathered, then it is an indication of what to expect in 2019.
“Our party, the PDP is ready for the bye-election and we have the candidate, the structure and the history to deliver. We believe that they (FG) will try not to be partial; however, we are worried by recent development and information about Ekiti and Osun states. We hear that Kwara is now going to be a battle ground for them.
“Kwara is the State of Harmony and we believe power truly belongs to the people and they should be allowed to freely choose their leaders. But what we are hearing is that they are bringing in a horde of about 10,000 security operatives and other personnel for just a by-election. This is an election that defines so many things for them and we have heard all sorts of lies by some of their party leaders that they must deliver Kwara for APC.
“We want to urge the President that if truly he is a man of integrity and his party is on ground, he should not force the Kwara people to go against their will and not give us the Osun treatment where people where maimed, harassed and even allegedly killed by security agencies and thugs,” he submitted.
He said apart from PDP’s findings on the matter, various civil society organisations have also talked about the development adding that the party will petition the relevant security agencies over the issue.
He said a faction of the APC in the state led by Hon Bashiru Omolaja Bolarinwa has unleashed ceaseless violence on innocent citizens and journalists and called on Kwarans to rise and condemn the wave of attacks.
Ashaolu said the APC should refrain from its onslaught in Kwara and come out to test their popularity rather than trying to intimidate the people.
After INEC fixed November 17, 2018 for the by-election into the Irepodun/Ekiti/Oke-Ero/Isin federal constituency following the death of Hon Funke Adedoyin, the two major parties in the state, PDP and APC have gone ahead to pick Alhaji Saheed Jimoh Alatise and Raheem Olawuyi Ajulo-Opin respectively to contest the poll.
When this reporter contacted the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood last night over the matter, an officer that respondent said “Oga is in a meeting. Please call back few minutes time”.
Reply to the text message sent to him was still being awaited when this newspaper went to bed.