Communique issued at the end of the inaugural meeting of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja on Thursday, June 26th 2014
It is no longer news that the governorship election in Ekiti State has been won and lost, and that our candidate, Gov. Kayode Fayemi, has shown rare sportsmanship by conceding defeat and congratulating the winner, Mr. Ayodele Fayose.
We are very proud of Gov. Fayemi for his conduct and comportment before, during and after the election, and we hail him as a true democrat in the true spirit of the APC’s belief that election is never a do or die affair, and that Nigerians must always be free to elect those to govern them. After all, it is said that the just powers of governments are derived from the consent of the governed.
Gentlemen, election is a process, and whatever happens on the voting day is only an integral part of that process. What happens before, during and after the voting day complete the process.
If, therefore, we view the just-concluded election in Ekiti as a process, then we can confidently say that while the events of the voting day itself may have led many to believe that the election was free and fair, the same cannot be said of the events before, during and after the election.
We therefore believe that we owe it a duty to the continuous improvement of our electoral system and indeed the sustainability of our democracy to X-ray this election within the context that we have outlined above and draw the necessary lessons
Incidents before election day
We believe that the events leading to the D-Day in Ekiti negate the principles of a free, fair and credible election. From the militarization of the election to the police attack on our supporters, arrest and detention of our leaders across the state and the use of huge funds to induce voters, the federal authorities skewed everything in favour of the PDP.
Militarization of the process:
With thousands of armed troops, police, state security and civil defence personnel deployed to Ekiti, the state was simply under a total lock down. While we believe that the police and the civil defence indeed have a role to play in providing the necessary security for the election, we do not see why soldiers and NDLEA operatives who were armed to the teeth need to be deployed to a non-belligerent situation like an election, especially at a time that their services are more needed in the North Eastern part of Nigeria where over two hundred abducted girls are still missing and where innocent Nigerians are being killed daily.
The questions to ask are: who ordered the deployments of the troops and for what purpose. Who gave the orders to stop Gov. Rotimi Amaechi from reaching Ado-Ekiti, as the Army captain who stopped and threatened to shoot him said he was acting under ”orders from above”. What role the did the Ministers of State Defence, Senator Musliu Obanikoro and his counterpart in the ministry of Police Affairs Mr Jelili Adesiyan play in all this especially given the fact that these two public servants passed by the spot where Amaechi was being molested and simply sped by.
It is worth mentioning that the physical prevention of Gov. Amaechi from joining his colleagues at the final campaign rally of Gov. Fayemi in Ekiti is a direct function of the unnecessary deployment of troops to Ekiti for the election. This event will go down as the biggest affront to democracy in our country in recent times.
Also worth mentioning is the flagrant abuse of national institutions that led to the country’s aviation authorities shutting down airports in Akure and elsewhere on the same day that our party had its last campaign rally in Ado-Ekiti. This act of impunity was targeted solely at the opposition, and it runs against global standards. Airports are never shut without the issuance of a NOTAM – Notice to Airmen. Again, who gave the orders for the closure of these airports.
Incidents during Election Day
On the eve of the election and on election day, without any reason, security personnel arrested APC leaders and supporters across Ekiti, ferrying them far away from where they could vote or monitor the conduct of the election. This is an attestation to the fact that the security operatives were in the state more for a sinister motive than just to provide security for the election.
In fact, the compromise by the security operatives became more obvious when a so-called Special Task Force comprising of Military, Police, SSS and NDLEA officers were summoned to a meeting Friday afternoon – a day before the election, near the Tantaliser fast food eatery at Ado-Ekiti.
In the presence of AIG Bala Nasarawa, Mrs Florence Ikhanone (National Director of SSS) and Brig.-Gen. Momoh, who was the head of the military to the election, Mr Ayo Fayose’s Chief Security Officer, Kayode Adeoye, and Chris Uba addressed the curiously-named Special Task Force which included 67 SSS operatives, 30 soldiers, 30 NDLEA operatives and 70 mobile policemen.
Adeoye and Uba reminded the officers of the Special Task Force of their duty to President Goodluck Jonathan, who was identified as their benefactor, and how the officers must ensure that their benefactor wins the election.
This was the same team that went round the state from Friday evening and throughout the duration of the election picking leaders of the APC from across the state in specially-designated black buses with Presidency plate numbers.
The case of the Campaign Manager of Gov. Fayemi, Mr. Bimbo Daramola, was particularly traumatic and saddening. His fiancee and aged father were harassed by armed soldiers who invaded his country home in the middle of the night, with guns being pointed at them as if they were common criminals. The Campaign Manager himself, an honourable member of the House of Representatives, was hounded into an unknown place by soldiers….all this because of an election!
Also on the receiving end of the brutality by security agents were accredited journalists, some of whom were ”deported”, so to say, to neighbouring Kwara State by paid agents of state who turned themselves to enforcers for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
Incidents during and after Election Day
While our leaders and supporters were being hounded and arrested across Ekiti during and after the voting, some PDP ministers and PDP stalwarts were moving around freely, with armed escort, even with a restriction on movement in place. What business did these Ministers and their cohorts have in Ekiti during the election? What was their role in the election?
These are questions begging for answers.
At a press conference addressed by our Chairman on June 20th, we warned that our democracy was in clear and present danger from anti-democratic forces who are bent on winning elections, at all cost. Today, we restate that warning and call for a reversal of the incidents that made sure a level playing ground was not provided for all the candidates at the just concluded election in Ekiti.
While voting on Election Day may not having been characterized by the usual brigandage and violence, we submit that the entire process was everything but free and fair. If an integral part of the process was badly tainted as we have clearly and fully demonstrated above, then the entire process cannot but be tainted. Voting in Ekiti may have been free of the usual violence or manipulation at the collation centres, but the entire electoral process in the state was neither free, fair nor credible.
Therefore, in order to prevent a recurrence of what happened in Ekiti, especially the militarization of the process, the harassment and intimidation of citizens, especially those in opposition, my party has decided to challenge in court some of these constitutional breaches and will also encourage our leaders and supporters, who were arrested, harassed and intimidated to seek the enforcement of their constitutionally-guaranteed fundamental rights that were recklessly abridged by the security agencies.
In this regard, we commend the good people of Nigeria who have spoken out openly against this bare-faced acts of hooliganism and brutalism by the very agents of state paid by taxpayers to prevent such acts.
Our decision to act is not only to ensure that these irresponsible and unconstitutional acts are not repeated in subsequent elections, especially that in Osun in August and next year’s general elections, but also because we have always said that evil thrives when good men do nothing!