The Nigeria Intervention Movement, (NIM) has faulted the Police for manhandling Governor Ayo Fayose in the process of preventing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from organising a peaceful rally in Ekiti State ahead of the governorship election scheduled to hold tomorrow.
In a statement jointly signed by leaders of the movement, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) and Dr. Abdulljalil Tafawa Balewa, yesterday, the movement described the police action as equivalent to an act of thuggery and pure violation of the 1999 constitution.
NIM stated: "We wish to state in clear terms that such act of thuggery by an agent of the state like the Police, is a rape on Nigeria's democracy, as well as, contemptuous violation of the sacred laws of the nation, especially section 108 of the 1999 constitution, which up till this moment confers immunity on every sitting governor and therefore, such barbaric use of coercive force on a sitting governor should be vehemently condemned, sanctioned by the Federal Government and resisted by the Ekiti people to prevent a dangerous conspiracy by state agents against the constitutional democracy as well as the human rights and freedom of the people."
The movement said it was compelled by "this grievous act of the police against Nigerian constitution and the Ekiti people to direct all its coordinators and allies in Ekiti State to immediately set up Elections Vigilante Teams against any further thuggish and uncivil acts of the police and other security agencies in the state," especially during this crucial period of elections in order to ensure that the popular will of Ekiti people prevails
It disclosed that a high powered delegation of NIM Leaders from its national secretariat have been dispatched to Ekiti to immediately engage Governor Fayose and leading governorship candidates in tomorrow's election to prevent undue intimidation and coercion of the electorate.
Also, the Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams, has urged all stakeholders in Ekiti, including political parties, candidates and the electorate to ensure peace and tranquility before, during and after the election.
In a statement he released yesterday, Adams expressed concern over the prevailing security situation in the state, stressing that election should not be a do-or-die affair.He said: "In the build-up to tomorrow's election, Ekiti has been in the news for the wrong reason. A situation where the security of the electorate is not guaranteed is not acceptable to our democracy in the 21st century."
Adams pointed out that Ekiti governorship election holding tomorrow will be the first in the Southwest, since his installation as the Aare Onakakanfo of Yoruba land in January. "As the Aare Onakakanfo of Yoruba land, with strong belief in the promotion of Yoruba culture, and a proponent of peace across the world, I urge the Inspector General of Police, the Department of State Security (DSS), and other government security architecture to rise up to the challenges of ensuring peace in the exercise.
While appealing to the electoral umpire to ensure the election is free, fair and transparent, Adams maintained that a situation where security operatives allegedly wear masks few hours to an election is uncalled-for, stressing also that politicians must play by the rules, not forgetting that elections would go, but Ekiti State will remain.
Also reacting to the incident, human rights lawyer, Dr. Femi Aborisade, said if the action of the police on Governor Fayose is true, it is condemnable, adding, "The repression of the PDP rally by the police in the same way in which I condemned the undemocratic attack on the right of freedom of movement of some APC governors who wanted to attend the APC rally in support of former Governor Kayode Fayemi in 2014 were condemnable."
Dr. Aborisade, in a statement said: "Our courts have pronounced that Nigerians have the right to protest and embark on rallies peacefully without police permit. While the police have the right to arrest any protester who infringes on the law in the course of rallies, the police have no right to decree that protesters must first obtain police permit.
The human rights lawyer said APC government should not take Nigeria back to the dark days of the military. "We reject that statement and the repression of the PDP rally in Ekiti State as undemocratic, barbaric, totalitarian, backward, illegal and unconstitutional. "If the police can prevent peaceful rallies led by a Governor, ordinary people, students and workers would be more viciously repressed. No to attacks on democratic rights without justifiable cause."