The Nigerian Human Rights Community, (NHRC) has accused the Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, of plotting to disrupt the declaration rally of a member of the All Progressive Congress, (APC), Senator Babafemi Ojudu, which has been scheduled for Friday 9 March 2018.
The group alleged that Mr Fayose’s agents plan to remove hundreds of posters and billboards already installed for this purpose.
In a statement on Thursday, the NHRC, a coalition of 135 civil society groups said there were complaints that Mr Fayose was planning to use his thugs to disrupt the rally, starting with the defacing of the billboards carrying the campaign pictures and messages of Senator Ojudu.
We should be glad to see Mr Fayose prove these allegations wrong,” the group stated.
“Ahead of these reports that smack of intolerance, Mr Fayose, we were informed, has already deployed his thugs to either deface or totally remove Senator Ojudu’s billboards and burn them to ashes.
We caution Mr Fayose to exercise restraints and tolerance, since nobody has tampered with any of the campaign materials he has either pasted or erected on the streets of Ado or its environs campaigning for his deputy, Prof. Eleka to succeed him.
The rules guiding campaigns recognises plurality of opinions. We have been informed that Mr Fayose is already intimidated by the campaign strategy of Senator Ojudu. We think the solution is not to deploy violence. This will be like opening another ugly chapter in the history of Ekiti, a state that has seen so much political violence and state motivated killings in the past” the statement signed by Samuel Adenuga, the group’s Assistant General Secretary stated.
According to the NHRC, the July election is not only of interest to Ekiti people, it is of greater interests to the international community. “The July election will signal what pattern the 2019 elections may follow. Mr Fayose, the Chief Security Officer of Ekiti state is in a position to determine what Ekiti people should expect in July, either a civil conduct or a state of violence and blood-letting.
The group added: “Tolerance is important to political transition. The signals from Ekiti are not impressive. Our office has been inundated with trusted information that Mr Fayose is plotting to foment discourse by forcefully removing the posters of his opponents and also planning to disrupt their rallies. We have been informed that he has concluded plans to remove Senator Ojudu’s billboards and also invade his rally with thugs. This is completely in bad taste. The entire human rights community in Nigeria will hold Mr Fayose personally responsible for any incidence that may undermine basic democratic rules in Ekiti State.”