Ekiti Poll and “Janjaweed” agenda: Et tu Asiwaju!
By Abimbola Jones
With less than a month to the governorship election in Ekiti State, the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Ahmed Bola Tinubu at his investiture as Chancellor of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) said that anybody who rigged the forthcoming election in the state would be roasted alive. This statement, coming from a party whose second name is violence, cannot be ignored because the same statement was credited to another leader of the party in 2011 that if Goodluck Jonathan won the presidential election, Nigeria would be made ungovernable. Till date, Nigeria has been made partially ungovernable by the same group of people who want power by all means.
The poser for the Asiwaju of APC is: who was he speaking for? And if there was a clan he was speaking for, it could not be more than the dregs of the society who would be used as thugs to cause mayhem in Ekiti in order to perpetuate his political fiefdom in the state. As a leader of a party, what is expected of Tinubu on such occasions is for him to tell the students of the university to be of good behaviour and not to propagate and recruit students into political thuggery
The imperative of Tinubu's statement on the forthcoming governorship election in Ekiti State ( and by extension Osun because Osun comes on the heels of Ekiti) is that he has successfully taken the message of violence to the people they intend to recruit in weeks to come to serve as riggers and thugs for APC as they always do. It would be recalled that in Tinubu's Lagos State, the Almighty APC was shamefully beaten by Peoples Democratic Party,PDP during the local government elections even in the ward where Tinubu resides. Tinubu and his cohorts did everything humanly possible to make sure that the mandate of the people was stolen.
It beats one's imagination why Tinubu and his APC are already shouting about rigging. If actually they had the people's mandate in the instance to represent them and they have done well, should they be afraid of election? It goes to show that the Asiwaju of some selected Yoruba leaders has already developed cold feat because he is fast losing his political estate, which is the southwest.
Tinubu made the same noise during the Ondo governorship election and his party placed a distant third in the end of the election. It is obvious that if APC, as a political party and the ruling party in Ekiti has done well, Tinubu would not need to incite people to violence in the forthcoming election. But by using the language of threat and violence to cow the other political party in the race is a clear indication that the party he speaks for has lost confidence in itself.
Interestingly, facts on ground in Ekiti reveal that the APC is jittery because of the entrance of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Ayo Fayose, whom they fear has the magic wand to wrestle power from the ruling party in the state. It is on record that Fayose in 2003 defeated an incumbent governor, Niyi Adebayo of Tinubu's former party-the Alliance for Democracy (AD)- to become governor.
Tinubu at the investiture said that “no government that wants people's votes will be doing what they are doing. They are planning to rig the elections but be ready to protect your votes. It is going to be rig and roast”. Haba, Asiwaju! Tinubu should not be seen to be harbinger of violence; instead, he should be preaching peace as an acclaimed leader of his people in the Southwest.
The painful aspect of this statement was that it was made before the students whose mind is fertile and easily prone to manipulation of any sort, and these students had already been strategically told by Asiwaju that studying is not necessary but thuggery is it all in the name of protecting the votes. In any case PDP should be the party to cry about the plot by the ruling APC government in Ekiti to rig election and notthe other way round. But the party, analysts content, is crying wolf as it has come to the reality that Fayose has what it takes to return the state to PDP.
The former governor of Lagos State should note that the students that he is preparing for war are in that school to learn and to be responsible citizens; not to be stuffed with the idea of violence as suggested by the message he delivered to the students on the occasion. Tinubu and his clan of violence-thirsty political followers should note that Nigerians are tired of bloodletting and anybody goading the youths, adults and party members to imbibe the culture of violence is the number one enemy of the electorate as well as democracy.
There is no crime in soliciting votes from the students for his party but encouraging the students to be handy for thuggery is criminal, and should be condemned by all well-meaning Nigerians. The like of Tinubu should note that you do not get power by killing those you are supposed to rule. It is high time that Tinubu and his like stopped using “janjaweed” approach in soliciting for people's mandate because the electorate are wiser.
For the avoidance of doubt, I am writing against those who are hell bent on making sure that our country is turned into a slaughter field. Tinubu and his party should not throw the hitherto peaceful southwest into a battle field all in the name of protecting votes that are not exclusively theirs. The former governor should know he does not need to lecture the electorate on the imperative of protecting their votes. If the ruling party in Ekiti has come short of the appreciation of the voters in the state no amount of the governor's sermon will change the stand of the electorate.
Preaching violence as Asiwaju has done, is bad leadership by someone who occupies a frontline position in the politics of the country. I admonish him to stop inciting the people because violence will beget violence and the entire polity would be the worst for it. So, Asiwaju of APC, spare us this invitation to a barbaric culture of violence.
Abimbola Jones sent this piece from Ikeja, Lagos State.