….•Withdraw personnel from Government House
….•PDP in protest march to N’Assembly, INEC
….•Fayose has stabilised, says aide
Apparently responding to the growing condemnation of its forceful dispersal of supporters of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that gathered in front of Government House, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State for an address by the state Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, on Wednesday, the police Thursday said the action was a mistake that would not be allowed to happen again.
“I want to assure the good people of Ekiti State that such mistake will never repeat itself,” Habilal Joshak, a Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), said on the state-owned Ekiti State Broadcasting Corporation, Television Service in Ado-Ekiti.
A crowd of PDP supporters awaiting the address of Fayose, prelude to a victory rally slated for the campaign headquarters of the PDP governorship candidate, Prof. Olusola Eleka, around Fajuyi area of the capital city, was dispersed by the police, using teargas.
The state governor had eventually shown up at the rally in neck brace, weeping, claiming that he had been teargassed and rough-handled by policemen who slapped and hit him with their guns.
He said he had been to the hospital for treatment and that in spite of that, was in pains, warning that if anything happened to him, the Inspector-General of Police (IG) Ibrahim Idris should be held responsible.
Fayose’s claim attracted instant rebuke from the public, leading to a nationwide protest Thursday by the PDP, which leadership marched on the National Assembly and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headquarters in Abuja, as well as all state commands of the Nigeria Police Force.
The police, however, stood down Thursday, lifting its siege to the Government House, Ado-Ekiti in an obvious remorse for its action a day earlier.
Police chief, Joshak, told the state-owned television that contrary to widespread belief, he did not order his men and officers to use teargas on the crowd.
He explained: “What I said was that those massing for the rally should be asked to leave because it is not good going by the mood of the state now to hold rally or street procession. I didn’t say they should use force.
“This is an election, and electioneering is a civil matter anywhere across the globe. So, police as security agents can’t use force on the people.
“But I want to assure the good people of Ekiti State that such mistake will never repeat itself.”
The Special Assistant to the Governor on Public Communications, Mr. Lere Olayinka, said Fayose had been discharged from the hospital and was stabilising.
“The governor is now better and stabilising fast. He is out of the hospital and I believe he will get well soon,” he said.
PDP in Protest March to N’Assembly, INEC
The PDP, which had on Wednesday asked its members to embark on protest marches to the state commands of the police to deliver protest letters to the IG through the commands’ commissioners, carried out its plan Thursday, protesting nationwide against the Ekiti incidence.
At the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, led all the National Working Committee (NWC) members and party supporters to march to the National Assembly and the headquarters of INEC.
Secondus, who handed over a petition to the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, said the police brutalised Fayose and locked down the Government House without any justifiable reason.
Secondus said: “Under the APC-led administration, a governor was brutalised and pushed to the ground. We are here to alert Nigerians that the APC government is a threat to democracy. Not only in Nigeria, but throughout the world. Security agencies are not above the law.”
The party members registered their presence with inscripted placards: “Enough of political tyranny; Nigeria is sliding into one party system; and Buhari stop the killings,” among others.
They called on the lawmakers to quickly intervene, through their oversight function on the executive arm of government, particularly on their excesses and assault on democracy.
Addressing the crowd, Secondus emphasised that the party was reliably informed that INEC and a section of the security agencies had prepared to rig the election in Ekiti.
He said: “That is why Ekiti today has been militarised and over policed with 30,000 policemen and women. The citizens of Ekiti are afraid, they are traumatised, they are harassed and they are being guarded not to come out from their homes. They arrest members of our party and citizens of Ekiti.”
The party’s former woman leader, also former Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Kema Chikwe, said for the nation to achieve good governance, it must have true democracy.
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