Ekiti 2018: Senate to prevail on relevant bodies to be neutral

Ekiti 2018: Senate to prevail on relevant bodies to be neutral

Thursday, July 12, 2018 7:10 pm

National Assembly, Abuja, Nigeria.

The Senate on Thursday assured Nigerians that it would prevail on relevant bodies to be neutral during the conduct of July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State.

The Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu gave the assurance while addressing a large number of protesters from the Peoples Democratic Party over alleged attack on Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose.

The protesters, led by PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus stormed the premises of the National Assembly to protest alleged attack on Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose by security agents.

They were also protesting alleged plot by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies to rig the Ekiti gubernatorial election in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Saturday.

The protesters, numbering over 500, blocked the main entrance to the National Assembly, hindering human and vehicular movement, according to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN

Ekweremadu commended the PDP for organising a peaceful protest, assuring that the Senate would intervene and ensure principles of democracy were respected in running in Nigeria.

“We want to thank you for organising a peaceful protest. This is because what you have done is within the textbook of democracy. Democracy is about free speech and free expression.

“We will do everything possible to ensure that we will continue to work within the tenets of democracy.

“We have heard you. We are going to make contacts with all the institutions of democracy as it concerns the state.

“We shall make contact with INEC, Police and other security agencies to ensure that they are neutral.

“We believe to be leaders in Africa. We cannot be leading from the back. We must show leadership by example.

“So, whatever we do, we must also know that the world is watching us. We want to thank you for taking this path of honour”, he stated.

Earlier, Secondus alleged that the party had reliable information that INEC, in collaboration with security agencies, had concluded plans to rig the Saturday gubernatorial elections in Ekiti.

He alleged that the All Progressives Congress(APC) was in a desperate attempt to take the state at all cost.

He said the citizens of the state were living in fear following alleged restriction of movement by security agencies.

He expressed concern about the conduct of the 2019 general elections.

Secondus further called on the National Assembly to quickly intervene, and investigate perceived excesses of security agencies to save the country’s democracy.

“Sir, we are aware and we have been reliably informed that INEC and a section of the security agencies have prepared to rig the election in Ekiti.

“That is why Ekiti today has been militarised and over policed. 30,000 policemen and women are in Ekiti.

“The citizens of Ekiti are afraid. They are traumatised. They are harassed, and they are being guarded not to come out of their homes.

“The Ekiti Government House was sealed and the Governor brutalised. This development is an eyesore to democracy.

”We came first to National Assembly because you represent democracy and the hope and aspirations of Nigerians,” he said.

He further said it was the seat of democracy where all Nigerians elected are gathered to discuss national issues.

“We believe that we should register our protest to the National Assembly to quickly intervene, query, examine through oversight, the excesses and assault on democracy.

“We call on the international community to see and watch what is happening in Ekiti, if this is the type of election that APC and INEC want to conduct in Ekiti.

“By this, the 2019 general elections is under threat. We believe that if they continue in this manner and rig the poll, there will be nothing like 2019 elections.”

A one time Minister of Aviation, Mrs Kema Chikwe, said that for Nigeria to achieve good governance, there must be true democracy, saying the Wednesday incident in Ekiti was undemocratic.

“If you watch the video, you could see shootings in the air and you will see molestations.

“Election is about one man, one vote. For us to achieve good governance in this country, we must have true democracy.

“PDP believes in structures and peace. There are excesses. Everywhere in Ekiti has been turned into a war zone.

“The governor has been humiliated and he has immunity. What type of democracy do we have?

“PDP ruled for 16 years of peace, and we want it to continue. We are starting now to show that enough is enough; there must be a change so that we will have a credible 2019.

That’s what we are starting today”, Chikwe said.

Meanwhile, the Senate Caucus of the PDP, arising from a close door meeting, condemned the development.

Briefing newsmen shortly after the close door meeting, the Chairman of the caucus, Sen. Godswill Akpabio said it was an unfortunate development.

According to him the caucus resolved to call on the Executive to set up a commission of enquiry to investigate the matter.

He further said the caucus members would pay Fayose a visit to ascertain the situation of things.

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