BY BASHIR ADEFAKA
“Funny enough throughout the September 22-September 27 period that the inconclusiveness stood, no single PDP cried over vote-buying. But they and their usual media promoters were busy calling for declaration of Ademola Adeleke their candidate as winner, not minding the position of the law over difference between number of cancelled votes and number of difference between the votes of winner and second position. How did some politicians get their way into Nigeria’s political space?”
Friday October 5, 2018 was the day a violent protest was staged in Abuja led by National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Uche Secondus, Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Senators Dino Melaye and Ben Bruce among other leaders of the main opposition party.
Reportedly the protest led to attacks on some police officers for stopping the partakers from gaining entry while they forcefully attempted to pull the gates of the Nigerian Police Headquarters, St. Loui’s House on Shehu Shagari Way, Abuja the nation’s capital.
Apart from allegedly teargasing the protesters, the Nigerian Police has since summoned the PDP leaders over the shameful act they hid behind playing opposition politics to perpetrate. But up till the time of putting this article together, it was not clear if the politicians concerned have answered the summon of the Police High Command regarding the incident.
Some of my readers, who have now taken my WAKE UP online column as a must-read and who are PDP loyalists have asked me why I have said nothing about what they described as the police way of gagging opposition. I have promised to make my response to those questions by them a publication issue being that it was a vital question they raised.
First, let us pick the issue from the standpoint of why they staged the protest. They alleged that Osun rerun governorship election on Thursday September 27, 2018 was a bug scam in which the police did badly towards the opposition during votes and so, not only demanding the rerun be cancelled but more profoundly, they are asking that PDP members who were arrested during whole electoral process from Saturday September 22, 2018 when the main election was held before it was declared inconclusive.
Second, let us also quickly make reference to the not-too long ago July 14, 2018 Ekiti State governorship election which, only after the winner was declared and it was All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate John Kayode Fayemi, the media which for three days after the conduct had naturally reported the election to be about the most credible and most peaceful in recent time started to be awash with hyped cries of vote-buying and incessant demands for cancellation of same.
A South West prominent leader of the PDP went on a television programme to day “PDP had never done vote-buying nor spent money to rig election in its life”. He said vote-buying started with APC in the last three years and so wanted the Ekiti election victory of Fayemi upturned. He boasted the APC would meet Alaka, the Ayodele Fayose godson that was his opponent in the forest, would have his “stolen” mandate retrieved for him by court.
He was saying all of these without even taking cognizance of our rights to hearing the truth as Nigerians. That was not to ask if it was true PDP did not buy votes in Ekiti or even hired Niger Delta militants to disrupt the election thereby causing confusion in the land. Recall those arrested militants are who PDP claimed were party members arrested and “molested” in the buildup to the July 14 election. However, while APC cannot be exonerates as taking part in buying votes during the July 14 polls, it must not be covered up as some want it to be that every Ekiti civil servant up to Local Government staff as well as teachers in the state has bank alert evidence of who credited their accounts with N3,000 each.
If one may now ask, crediting workers owed eight months full salaries with N3,000 each at the if of election is called what if not vote-buying? Blocking the road by Governor Fayose against the President of a country so powerful but simple looking, God-fearing like Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) so that, in his own shallow thinking, the President will not be able to enter Ekiti for Fayemi’s Nega rally, what can that be called if not ruling PDP gagging the opposition APC to the extent of provoking the ruling Party in the country?
Moving forward, Governor Fayose going to state television and radio to announce election results while the process was still ongoing, what other description better suits that if not electoral fraud of highest order and treason? PDP perpetrated all of those atrocities and even the media promoters of their vote-buying campaigns against the successful election, much educated as they are, did not tarry a while to ask themselves: “What if Nigerians find out and ask us questions about this and that?” But alas! They did not do so. They just went ahead and helped them hype the vote-buying cries and even hide under professional justice to say helping what is generally known to falsehood by PDP politicians is being fair to both sides. Is there any law that legitimise negativity against legitimacy? No. What then is professional justice in helping cover the truth while hyping that which is blatant lie?
Now back to Osun for which Saraki, Secondus, Melaye, Bruce and others have protested, the PDP’s top notchers led by Senate President Bukola Saraki were well on ground in Osun and they attested to the process as going on and concluded peacefully. That was not without serious vote-buying but this time, not even any PDP politician knew who the vote-buyers were. That was strange!
What love there is between cat and rat that cat will see rat in its smartly hideout and it will pretend as if it does not see? Except it has resolved within itself to sleep hungry. The PDP has no reason not to expose APC politicians who bought votes in Osun First. So, not exposing APC vote-buyers means there was no such.
Unknown to PDP moneybag, they probably believed the Police of Buhari/APC regime is like that of Olusegun Obasanjo/PDP and Jonathan/PDP era who could be bought over at any price. The IGP Special Squad was always on ground and many Nigerians are now getting more cooperative with process of Change thus, while they did their bribery of some unpatriotic police officers and buying of votes of some electorates who could sell their future and future of the children’s children for cheap price, patriotic other officers and other electorates wired the IGP Squad and even the IGP directly hence the arrest, not only the police officers but also, of politicians who are PDP members.
Funny enough throughout the September 22-September 27 period that the inconclusiveness stood, no single PDP cried over vote-buying. But they and their usual media promoters were busy calling for declaration of Ademola Adeleke their candidate as winner, not minding the position of the law over difference between number of cancelled votes and number of difference between the votes of winner and second position. How did some politicians get their way into Nigeria’s political space?
Quite glaring, Iyiola Omisore, who emerged second at the inconclusive, had spoiled the chances of PDP to win the election. The votes of PDP and Social Democratic Party (SDP), Adeleke and Omisore, put together would make clear win for PDP if Omisore did not defect. Although ADP and APC votes put together might not pull the winning trigger in favour of APC but disunited house also affected the APC which made it suffered to the extent that it needed to now prostrate before it’s ardent political adversary to crawl into a lead in the rerun.
But the PDP spat into the air and caught it up again with its eyes, saying, “Over my dead body” APC must not won. Politicians of that party therefore resulted to all manner of discrediting offensives against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the APC led Federal Government and the security agencies particularly the Nigerian Police. Surprisingly some foreign observers who had earlier credited the INEC and security agencies bought into the PDP cries and started saying it fell bellow standard. To achieve what?
Perhaps now thinking they had foreign support, Secondus, Saraki, Bruce, Melaye and other PDP leaders went on the violent protests demanding release of those fraudulent PDP members in police custody to the extent that they had to attack police officers and forced their way in attempt to forcefully enter the Loui’s Order House.
Teargasing them therefore is normal. How? Saraki and co might not be well grounded enough to know that the Police already has evidences against them to make the demands they were making untenable.
I gathered that the lowest police rank involved in that Osun election, like Ekiti, was paid N140,000 by the Federal Government as allowance for providing security at the election. I also gathered each of the lowest rank got paid N11,000 daily for hotel accommodation while INEC, as a routine, paid him N10,000 feeding allowance daily. All of these with standing instruction against being swayed by politicians’ bribe money.
Alas! Despite these largesse by government, some politicians went to some of those police officers who apparently got allowances from government and INEC higher than the lowest of ranks, offered them between N5 and N6 million each and they collected it.
Don’t forget the difference between allowances paid by government/INEC and bribes by politicians: to focus attention on making election credible and to turn eyes away from vote-buying and malpractices, respectively. The police arrested both the police officers and politicians who gave them the money either directly or indirectly have been mentioned. They why are PDP leaders like Saraki and Secondus crying over arrested members? Why have they not told us why their members were arrested? Why, despite signing agreement with Police not to commit election related offenses, they happened to be the only political party members who defaulted? Why release of only their members they are calling for but not release of the arrested police officers?
So, until these PDP leaders honour the IGP invitation and provide answer to the above questions, I won’t have issue with Police actions against them.