-Engineer Shittu said that the federal government planned to deploy no fewer than 20,000 policemen and soldiers for the Saturday bye-election
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Kwara State Chapter alleged on Monday that the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state has started bringing in ammunition and political thugs from Lagos and Osun states into the state in a bid to win the coming Saturday bye election into the vacant House of Representatives seat of Oke Ero/Irepodun/Ekiti/Isin federal constituency
Speaking with journalists in Ilorin, state chairman of the PDP Engineer Kola Shittu said that the motive behind the alleged move was to disrupt and manipulate the forthcoming exercise.
The PDP chairman, who said that he had it on good authority that some suspected political thugs were already in the state, alleged that a leader of the NURTW in Lagos State would arrive the federal constituency with many others from Tuesday, November 13.
“The imported thugs, we learnt, will be camped at different hotels in Ekiti, Oke Ero, Isin and Irepodun local government areas from where they will be operating. The plan of the APC is to deploy these thugs to harass and intimidate members and supporters of the PDP from turning up at voting centres, especially in areas considered to be the stronghold of our party. This will also give the APC leeway to carry out their planned rigging,” Shittu said.
Engineer Shittu also said that the federal government planned to deploy no fewer than 20,000 policemen and soldiers for the Saturday bye-election, adding that the deployment was a ploy by the APC-led federal government to create fear in the minds of voters.
“We also believe that this heavy deployment of security officers is deliberate because Kwara is the homebase of the Senate President. Our party condemns in its entirety this unnecessary show of force,” the party leader said.
The PDP state chairman, who said that members and supporters in the state were on alert, added that the party would resist any attempt by the APC to undermine the electoral process.
“The APC should know that if their rigging machinery worked somewhere else, it will never work in Kwara State. The people of Ekiti, Oke Ero, Isin and Irepodun will defend their votes in this coming election and will not allow the APC to subvert their will,” he said.
The party also called on security agencies in the state to look into all the concerns it raised in order to take proactive steps to protect the nation’s democracy and prevent the breakdown of law and order. He added that INEC and security agencies should provide a level playing field for all parties to ensure a credible electoral process on November 17.
Reacting to the allegation, the chairman Publicity committee of All Progressives Congress APC, Kayode Oyin Zubir, stated that “There are clear indications that the paranoia suffered by the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nigeria is beginning to cascade to their foot soldiers.
“The reason the supposedly largest political party in Africa in yesteryears, now dwelling on frivolities like false alarm and deliberate falsehood, can be traced to fear of imminent defeat in the coming election and in 2019.
“Expectedly, while the party’s leader who recently gave in to a humiliating defeat in Port Harcourt, was flaunting unverifiable number of defectors to Kwara PDP, his sidekicks were equally involved in another lying spree.
“As a responsible entity and law abiding citizens of this great country, we waited patiently for the outcome of the investigation conducted by the security agencies,” Zubir said.
According to him, “We can confirm to you that the tattered umbrella, where our brothers on the other side were hiding, could not save them from the torrent of rain falling now and then, probably one of the reasons for their misadventure. Why run from pillar to post when you are pursued by your own shadow?
“Relevant checks revealed that diligent investigation into the allegations of import of thugs into Omu-Aran has been found to be false, baseless and irresponsible alarm coming from a drowning party that can believe any beer parlour gossip.
“We, therefore, call on the security agencies in the state to make public their findings on this matter. Politics must not becloud our sense of decency and accountability. Purveyors of the false alarm must be arrested for their criminal intentions.
“However, we are currently investigating an allegation that some urchins are camped in a place in Ganmo where they are preparing to be used as fake soldiers during the November 17 election.
“Our source alleged that they were in town yesterday looking for where to buy hard substances. The source added that these urchins will be in military uniforms and mingle with commissioned officers during the election and will be used to harass opponents.
“As stakeholders in this party and Kwara project, we call on hoteliers to assist the security agencies with useful tips, when strange characters are noticed in their premises. It will be recalled that official security reports revealed that the robbers that wreaked havoc in Offa in April 2018 were coordinated from a nearby hotel.
“Our party is leaving no stone unturned in our legitimate preparations for the all-important election slated for weekend,” Zubir disclosed.