Wednesday, March 18, 2015 2:04 pm
More Nigerians have continued to berate the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, over its rampage on Monday in support of President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election in some parts of Lagos.
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, the State House of Assembly and the Coalition if Oodua Self determination groups, COSEG, separately slammed the group believed to have been set up to champion the Yoruba course. They also accused President Goodluck Jonathan of planning to scuttle the elections that have been rescheduled for 28 March and 11 April.
Governor Fashola who spoke at the flagging-off the 2015 Agric Value Chains Empowerment programme and at the State House of Assembly, said with loads of messages he received through text messages and calls from Nigerians while the rampage went on, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has by the disruptive rally shown its own security model.
Fashola asserted that when the gangsterism displayed by the PDP supporters on Monday is put side by side with the peaceful rally the APC held in Lagos on 7 March, the difference is clear.
He said instead of the PDP supporters canvassing for the people’s votes and showing the people why their record of service is better, they were wielding knives, cudgels and other dangerous weapons.
“I received telephone calls, text messages from residents who explained to me. Some residents phoned that they were banging on their cars.
“The residents consistently complained yesterday that they were traumatised by those people, who supposedly were carrying out a rally in support of the President and their gubernatorial candidate. I am sorry about the pain and trauma they put you through,” he said recalling that while President Jonathan was being protected with 2,123 security personnel last week in Lagos, citizens were robbed and even killed in the Lekki area of the state.
“Let me be clear, the President is entitled to every protection. He is our President, but the question to ask is that when you were being traumatised yesterday, where were those 2,123 men, because you are entitled to be protected.
“The reason why the President gets all that protection is so that he can protect all of us,” he said.
“Unless you come out and vote. You are the employers, unless you come out massively on 28 March, and 11 April that is the only way God will forbid that kind of thing in Lagos. It is your vote that will change it. A vote for Buhari would put an end to this kind of abuse of state power. A vote for Ambode will continue the security that we have built and protected you with for the last eight years”, the Governor stressed.
On its part, the State House of Assembly, through its spokesman and chairman, House Committee on Security, Segun Olulade, said President Goodluck Jonathan may be on the verge of breeding another terror group for the nation to contend with “while we already have ample threats over security of lives and properties by the deadly Boko haram insurgents.
While stressing that though OPC is not a religious group, the House observed that the network of Boko Haram is presently being scaled up in such a way that they can induce any militia group that has lost control to buy into their cause especially when most youths involved in the OPC rampage neither have jobs nor understand the actual reason for their engagement in such mayhem.
“Presently, security of our nation is fragile coupled with the tension associated with the coming general elections which are a pressure too many for the nation to cope with. Sponsoring militia groups at this stage of tension is not lesser than promoting terrorism because it makes it easier to breed inter-link between terror groups and violent militias to rattle nation’s security.
“In the last 16 years, Lagos State has enjoyed peace and harmony amongst people of diverse ethnicity living in the State. The gross implication of Mr President’s employment of unemployed groups of a sect in the OPC is very dangerous because Lagos with its vast population cannot afford break down of law and order, violent rampage and civil unrest even ahead general election,” the House said.
“I believe strongly that the disruption of people’s properties and bill-boards of the APC was carried out by a section of the OPC employed by Gani Adam and his Principal.
It is very unfortunate that at this crucial stage when election is less than 10 days, President Jonathan has taken to violent option by unleashing militia groups to disrupt the peaceful atmosphere of Lagosians, action that is capable of bringing down,” Olulade also said.
In its own reaction, COSEG described President Jonathan as a man who is hell bent on returning for a second term in office by any means necessary and as such is massively bribing the militant groups across the country to cause chaos, before, during and after the rescheduled election so that if he looses, Nigeria would not know peace.
In a statement signed by COSEG’s chairman, Ifedayo Ogunlana and secretary, Rasaq Olokoba after an emergency meeting of the coalition in Lagos on Tuesday where issues bothering on the 2015 elections and the recent walk carried out by militia groups in Lagos on Monday were discussed, the group disclosed that from it’s intelligence gathering, so many groups have been mobilised by the presidency through the office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger-Delta.
The group also stressed that insisting on the removal of Professor Attahiru Jega, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, few days to the rescheduled general elections is unnecessary, diversionary and invitation to chaos.
“The desperation of President Jonathan is taking a dangerous dimension with the massive mobilisation of militia groups across the country to forment trouble before, during and after the rescheduled general elections.
“Let it be known to Jonathan and his handlers that Nigeria is bigger than any individual, no matter how highly placed. The call for the sack of the INEC chairman some few days to the 2015 general elections is uncalled for, reckless and diversionary which may lead to anarchy.
“Though we recognise their rights to freely assemble and protest, we however view the show of shame displayed by the OPC on Monday in Lagos as an insult on the people of Yoruba land and the security agencies as militia boys were seen brazenly shooting sporadically to scare those embarking on their journey to their offices.
“Many of residents could hardly make it to their offices due to traffic snarl caused by the open display of guns, matches, charms and other dangerous ammunition.
“While we will not blame them for their partisanship, the open brigandage is uncalled for, inciting and irresponsible, especially under the cover of the security agencies.
“We want to make it clear to the dollar sharing and desperate presidency that the responsible and peace-loving as well progressive Yoruba people who are in the majority do not have guns to wield round, but have permanent voters card to wield so as to vote out this tyrannical government that is desperate to rule over us again even without our consent.
“The show of shame going in Nigeria clearly shows that President Jonathan lacks the requisite ability to lead a nation like ours again,” the group maintained.