THE camp of the governorship candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, Mr Jimi Agbaje and that of his All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, on Sunday, traded blames over act of political violence in the state in the ongoing electioneering for the rescheduled election.
In separate statements made available to the Nigerian Tribune, they accused each other of wanton destruction of posters and other outdoor adverts meant to shore up their standing before prospective voters in Lagos.
All Progressives Congress (APC), Lagos State chapter, has decried the way and manner the billboards and posters of its presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari and governorship candidate, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, and others are being destroyed by those it described as Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) thugs, calling on the police to act fast and stop the brigandage.Spokesman of the party, Mr Joe Igbokwe, gave this reaction at a press conference he addressed on Sunday, at the APC Secretariat on ACME Road, Ikeja, warning that civility was not a sign of weakness and a stop needed to be put else the party supporters could be forced to react as there was a limit to tolerance.
“We warn that the PDP should not mistaken our resolve to keep the peace as a necessary condition for the long-desired change Nigerians are longing for, as a sign of submission and docility. We warn that we may be forced to react if pushed to the wall and the perpetrators of this ongoing deliberate brigandage will be held responsible for this.
“We call on the Lagos State Police Commissioner and his command to act quickly and decisively to stop this brigandage for we cannot continue to complain while the PDP is deliberately allowed to breach the security and peace of Lagos. We warn that Lagosians will not tolerate this criminality any longer. We leave this as a last warning,” the APC spokesman warned.
Meanwhile, the campaign organisation of Agbaje, in a statement by its Director of Media and Publicity, Mr Felix Oboagwina, claimed that Agbaje’s outdoor adverts on Third Mainland bridge were defaced kilometre by kilometre by suspected agents of the APC.
According to the organisation, Agbaje’s face on the campaign adverts costing millions of Naira were tarred black overnight in what it called evil act of vandalism.
Clearly, the desecration bears the signature of the APC, whose body language, on- and off-rostrum, has been that of intolerance, intimidation, desperation and provocation.
Igokwe, who spoke at the conference attended Hon. Biodun Salami, Habeeb Aileru, Mrs Funmi Osunmade, Mr Idowu Ajanaku, among others, said the conference was called to draw “attention to the orchestrated and quite provocative vandalisation of APC posters, billboards and banners all over Lagos by thugs and hoodlums sponsored by the PDP.”
According to the APC spokesman, whose address was titled: ‘We Cannot Continue To Tolerate This Brigandage, Let The Police Act,’ the despicable act occurred in places like Gbagada, Third Mainlaind Bridge, Osborne and the Island, Ikorodu Road, among others, lamenting that the police had failed to act in spite of series of official complaints made to that effect.
“These thugs are masquerading as members of the illegal Federal Task Force in Lagos and have thrown decorum to the dogs by the way and manner they are pulling down the posters and billboards of our candidates all over Lagos, even in Lagos State roads,” Igbokwe said.
The APC chieftain recalled that the problem became more pronounced since the state Commissioner of Police made an intervention on the matter, which he said was squarely within the jurisdiction of LASSAA.
“We have had cause to raise alarm that PDP was inciting and inviting a war in Lagos by the reckless way and manner they have been destroying APC banners, posters and billboards all over Lagos.
“We have made appropriate reports to the Lagos State Police Command over this and they have strangely refused to act. Today, the thugs went on rampage through Gbagada, Third Mainlaind Bridge, Osborne and the Island, pulling down APC posters, billboards and banners and replacing same with PDP’s.
“We just got a report that about 50 thugs and hoodlums working for Mr. Jimi Agbaje are currently on Osborne, with dangerous weapons and removing the posters of our governorship candidate, Mr. Akin Ambode and our presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.
“We had expected the police to at least, pretend to be unbiased and stop this brigandage but alas, they have looked sideways and pretended as if nothing is amiss,” he said.
Igbokwe alleged that the PDP, last Wednesday, mobilized its members and thugs and held road users and traffic on Ikorodu Road for eight hours on the pretext of having a rally and in the process, targeted all APC posters, billboards and posters on the road for destruction and removal.
He said that the party was “yet to see any police action against such act of recklessness and rascality yet this was the same police that threatened to arrest LASSAA officials for regulating indiscriminate defacement of Lagos with posters and handbills.”
“We have been making this known to law enforcement agencies and the world while the acts continue to increase and PDP annoyingly continue to poke hands into our eyes in an open invitation to confrontation.
“We know the game plan of a party that sees an end to its rule and will do everything to pull down the house on everybody. This has been thus far, the restraining force we have leveraged to rein in our agitated members who have barely tolerated this provocation,” Igbokwe.
“It is clear that the PDP thinks it can overwhelm Lagos with brute force and state sponsored criminality and if it is so sure that it will win Lagos, as it has been lousily boasting, why is it precipitating a war in Lagos? Does it also have the capacity to manage the war in the unlikely event that it wins a state where it is not welcome? We want to state that our members are running out of patience in this continued provocation. While we are trying our utmost best to restrain our members from being drawn into any war that will undermine our well oiled wheel of change, we warn that there is a limit to tolerance and that our members may be forced to react even if to defend themselves and their interests,” Igbokwe further warned.
Source: Tribune


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