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March 18 Polls: Osun PDP Accuses APC of Harassing Members
Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Osun state at the weekend alleged that the All Progressives Congress (APC) was using police to intimidate and harass members of the party ahead of the State House of Assembly election.
However, the APC described the PDP as a party that use political thugs to unleash mayhem on members of opposition to distract them from voting their preferred candidates during the last set of election and turned around to be afraid of police.
The PDP Caretaker Chairman, Dr Akindele Adekunle while addressing journalists in Osogbo called for the removal of the Commissioner of Police deployed for election, Oladipo Abayomi for being biased against PDP members.
According to Adekunle, “We woke up to what appeared like rumours that Osun state would be invaded by armed men, both from the Nigerian police and notorious APC thugs imported from Lagos to be disguised as police operatives to cause mayhem and unrest in Osun State.
“To the dismay of our party, these armed men were ferried into the state and were received at the private home of the National Secretary of the APC, who from good authority, handed the armed men handouts of leaders and members of the PDP to be arrested and detained for no just cause.
“An undemocratic statewide operation is ongoing designed to pick and lock up prominent PDP leaders ahead of next state election. Our surprise is that such mass raid is being conducted against a ruling political party in clear violation of fundamental human rights of those affected.
“We want to note particularly that instead of arresting APC members who are attacking PDP members on daily basis, the said statewide raid is targeting the victims instead of the culprits. PDP members are the victims of APC violence. Now PDP members are the ones being arrested.
“Unfortunately, the Police Commissioner has not being professional in the discharge of his duties. All petitions from PDP on violent attacks on our members were not attended to. We have come to the conclusion that the state election Commissioner is biased and partisan”.
But the APC in a statement by its acting Chairman in Osun State, Sooko Tajudeen Lawal, said that it was stranger than fiction that the PDP could descend so low to make such a sweeping, unfounded and unsubstantiated allegation against Oyetola and Omisore.
The party noted that the immediate-past governor of the state and a former distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Omisore and the APC in Osun are ardent believers in the rule of law and as such would follow it to the latter.
It accused the PDP of unleashing its hoodlums on APC during the last election disrupting election with impunity and when the long hand of law catches up with them, they are crying wolf where there is none.
“It is worth recalling that for twelve years that our party, the APC, was in power in Osun State, there was no record of incidents of political killings, whereas no fewer than 30 members of our party have been sent to the great beyond by the killer squad recruited and maintained by the Governor Ademola Adeleke administration within the 100 days of his administration.
“Governor Adeleke and the leadership of his party, the PDP, cannot pretend not to know that the whole state was militarised by their heavily armed political thugs who were attacking the members of the opposition with guns, cutlasses, knives, cudgels, acid and juju during the last presidential and national assembly elections.
“The miscreants successfully ransacked the first polling unit after which they swiftly moved to the next polling unit which is a close by distance where other ballot boxes were carted away.
“The most annoying thing is that these PDP political thugs enjoy the shield of the security officers who, oftentimes, guarded them whenever the hoodlums were perpetrating their attacks on the innocent people whose only sin before them was their membership of the APC.
“We had, through press conferences in the recent past before the elections, complained copiously on how the PDP thugs had been attacking and hacking down our members in Ijesaland, Iwo, Ikire, Ikirun and Ile-Ife.
“It is on record that our party had also complained in the past of the willingness and readiness of the PDP goons to inflict violence on the members of the opposition with a view to creating fear in our members and numerous supporters”, it reads.