A group known as the Ekiti Patriotic Front (EPF) has raised the alarm over persistent attacks on supporters of former Governor Segun Oni and the Social Democratic Party’s (SDP) candidate for the June 18 governorship poll.
The development, according to them, could derail the country’s democracy.
EPF alerted the international community, the National Security Adviser(NSA), Major Gen Babangana Monguno and the Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Alkali Baba, urging them to beam their searchlights on Ekiti to curtail the dangerous trend of light arms’ buildup ahead of the election.
Addressing journalists in Ado Ekiti, yesterday, the EPF Chairman, Tope Idowu, stated that it was disheartening that over 180 members of the SDP had allegedly been threatened, assaulted and had their property damaged by political thugs without arrest.
Idowu expressed dismay at the level of political desperation on the part of a political party and how some perceived political thugs had been brandishing guns and dangerous weapons overtly, which he said could affect the credibility of election.
He said: “The family members, friends and associates of SDP’s candidate, Engr. Segun Oni and his Deputy, Oladipupo Owolabi have become endangered species owing to incessant attacks directed at them by sponsored thugs.
“As at today, more than 30 houses and property belonging to prominent members of SDP have been vandalised in several towns namely: Ayetoro, Efon Alaaye and Ikole Ekiti to mention but a few.
“In the same vein, about 150 SDP members in several other communities, including women and their children can no longer sleep peacefully in their homes for fear of attack.
“We make haste to say that the ongoing proliferation of arms and unprovoked attacks if left unchecked are capable of escalating to the level of not only affecting the June 18 election, but also the 2023 general elections.”
The group appealed to the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Alkali Baba, to order the state Command to arrest those parading themselves as thugs and flaunting dangerous weapons to intimidate perceived opponents.
“How could thugs accost the convoy of SDP Deputy Governorship candidate and seized his vehicles all in the name of politics? Most disappointing was the fact that nobody had been arrested. Police must rise and save the situation. The 2022 election is a litmus test to what will happen in 2023 larger picture.”
He called on international community as partners in the electoral development of the country to take interest in how elections are conducted in the country.
“Cases of electoral violence, vote-buying and ruling political class influencing elections are very high in African continent, particularly in Nigeria, and we must take concerted efforts to address these challenges”, the EPF leader said.