Governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who last year defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) have vowed to ensure the defeat of President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 presidential election, if he seeks a second term in office. Governors Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) had left the PDP for the APC following irreconcilable differences between them and the ruling party leadership
The governors, in an apparent response to President Jonathan’s attack on them last Thursday at the PDP National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Abuja that the party did not miss them and described them as political lightweights who could not win their wards, said they would prove their electoral worth by stopping the president in next year’s election.
Former National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New Peoples Democratic Party (NPDP), a faction of the PDP they formed with others such as former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and former Kwara State Governor, Senator Bukola Saraki, before joining the PDP, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze conveyed the determination of the governors to work against the president in a statement yesterday in Port Harcourt.
Their determination to stop Jonathan came on a day violence broke out in Ekiti State ahead of the June 21 governorship election as thugs and the police were accused of attacking APC members after they had gone to sweep off “the footprints of PDP’s members,” a symbolic gesture to show that Ekiti people did not want the opposition party in the state. Two people were shot dead in the attack while the police allegedly fired tear gas canisters at the car of the Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi. Vice-President Namadi Sambo, a day after the PDP rally, at which the party’s governorship candidate, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, was presented with the PDP’s flag, also met with aggrieved governorship aspirants of the party and solicited their support for Fayose’s victory.
In a formal reaction by Amaechi and Kwankwaso to Jonathan’s description of them as political lightweights, the governors, in the statement, urged the president “to prepare for a grand political war come 2015.” As exclusively reported by New Telegraph on Friday, Kwankwaso, Wamakko, Ahmed and Nyako, had earlier dismissed the president’s claim and told him to wait till 2015 before he could reach such a conclusion. The governors said they would work together with other democratic forces in APC to rescue Nigeria from “the doom towards which Jonathan and PDP are inevitably leading the country to.”
They described the president’s statement as shocking and ridiculous considering that he would not have been elected if not for the sacrifices of the governors which ensured that he won both the PDP presidential primaries and the 2011 presidential election. “It is on record that Rivers State under Amaechi’s watch made Jonathan’s presidency possible by delivering over two million votes in his favour during the 2011 presidential poll. For the same Dr. Jonathan to turn around, only three years down the line, to describe Governor Amaechi as a political lightweight who cannot win his ward speaks volumes about how ungrateful and uncharitable a man he is,” the statement added. It also faulted the vote of confidence the PDP passed on the president on his handling of the security challenges facing the country.
It said: “By commending President Jonathan at a time when he has proved to be completely overwhelmed by the security challenges confronting Nigeria, PDP has demon-strated without any reasonable doubt that it has lost its sense of value.” Also yesterday, Sambo met behind closed doors with aggrieved PDP aspirants in Ado-Ekiti as well as with some stakeholders of the party in the South- West geopolitical zone.
The Ekiti State PDP Chairman, Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe, who briefed journalists at the end of the three-hour meeting, said the vice-president addressed all issues relating to the well-being of the party and preparations for the June 21 governorship poll in the state. On the demands by some former aspirants that the money they paid for expression of interest and nomination forms, totalling N11 million be refunded, Ogundipe said all the issues raised by them were being addressed.
It was learnt that Sambo told the party chiefs to rally round Fayose and ensure his victory come June 21. Besides, Sambo advised PDP members in the state against being provoked by any political party to resort to self-help. Meanwhile, violence erupted in Ado-Ekiti yesterday as APC and PDP supporters clashed during the symbolic ceremony to show that Ekiti people did not want PDP in the state.
In the attack, a man was shot dead and many people were injured while some vehicles and motorcycles were destroyed. Also, tear gas canisters were fired at the convoy of Fayemi, leading to an altercation between him and the Commander of the MOPOL Unit in the state, Mr. Gabriel Selekere. The vehicle of a former Deputy Governor, Dr. Sikiru Tae Lawal, a leader of the PDP, was also damaged by some political thugs. It was gathered that APC members, led by the state chairman of the party, Chief Jide Awe, had taken off to sweep away the perceived ‘evil’ footprints of the PDP leaders, when they clashed with PDP members on their way.
Awe, who later briefed the press on the issue, said he was on the mobilisation effort with Senator Femi Ojudu and a member of the House of Representatives, Oyetunde Ojo, among others, when Selekere and his team accosted them. “The MOPOL commander said he had an order to disperse us. We wanted to dialogue with him but he replied us with gunshots and tear gas and one person was killed. “He pounced on our vehicles damaging three and many of our members were arrested and some were injured. The man said he came to Ekiti State to safeguard the interest of the president. We want to let them know that nobody has the monopoly of violence.
“We are calling on the Inspector General of Police to within 24 hours redeploy the MOPOL commander and the Commissioner of Police,” Awe said. However, Ogundipe gave a different account of the incident as he accused Fayemi of causing chaos in the state. “Fayemi led some thugs to Ijigbo Junction in his official capacity as the governor of the state. If Fayemi is afraid of his impending loss in the election, he should not be shy or ashamed to voluntarily resign from office.
“I don’t know why a governor should personally supervise such a heinous crime. They are claiming that the person shot dead was APC member and that they were together in their mobilisation rally. Why were they not able to give his name? The fact is that the person killed was a passenger on Okada and it was the APC people who covered him with their vest,” Ogundipe stated. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ekiti State Command, Victor Babayemi, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), said in a statement that eight persons were arrested in connection with the incident.
He however denied any attack on Fayemi. He said: “While the Commissioner of Police and the State Director of the Department of State Security Service were physically mobilising more men from the Police Mobile Base, Okesa, Ado- Ekiti, they were intimated about the plan of the governor to visit the scene of the ongoing incident. Considering the situation on ground, the CP and the Director SSS reached out to the governor through his ADC and Chief Security Detail, who had earlier called them to intimate them of their intention, not to visit the scene until the situation has been brought under control. However, the advice was not heeded.
“The CP having mobilised reinforcement, proceeded to the scene in company with the SSS Director where they met the governor. He narrated his encounter with the riot policemen which he found unacceptable. Once again, he was advised by the CP and SSS Director to leave the scene due to the situation on ground, which he heeded. Thereafter, the injured victim was rushed to the teaching hospital on the instruction of the CP and the SSS Director.” But the APC, in a statement disputed his account, saying riot policemen led by Selekere shot dead a member of the party.
It also accused the police of holding Fayemi hostage for about 45 minutes at the Ijigbo junction, and firing tear gas on the governor’s car while his security aides were disarmed and one of them arrested. It was learnt that a furious Fayemi had confronted the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Felix Iyanna, demanding explanation for the police alleged brutality. But Iyanna was said to have denied ordering the attack on the APC supporters. “I am here to protect you,” he told the governor.
But Fayemi fired back, saying: “You are here to protect me and your men were shooting at me? I am the chief security officer of this state and your men were firing at me. You have killed someone now! You have killed someone! Whose interest are you protecting? Whose interest are you protecting?” The governor, who later addressed APC supporters said the attack was a rehearsal of what the PDP and the police intended doing during the governorship election. According to him, Ekiti people will not allow anybody to return the state to the era of slavery and terror. He urged them to continue to be law-abiding; saying no one could harm them.
Source: New Telegraph


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