The Action Congress of Nigeria has described as “a gross abuse of federal might and a blatant misuse of power” the arrest of its Ekiti state chairman, Chief Jide Awe, to Abuja following the alleged killing of Ayo Jeje in Awe’s Erijiyan Ekiti home town.
Jeje, a former member of the ACN was allegedly killed while perfecting his moves and that of his supporters to the Peoples Democratic Party in Ekiti.
In a statement in Benin City on Thursday, ACN’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the harassment and intimidation of Awe was part of a grand plan by the PDP to muzzle the ACN in Ekiti and “trigger a breakdown of law and order in the state.”
He said the prayer of the instigators of the current situation was that it would culminate in a state of emergency, “as boasted by the impeached ex-Governor Ayo Fayose, who said no governor after him would finish his term.”
Mohammed’s statement read, “What the PDP cannot get through the ballot box is what it wants to achieve through brigandage and abuse of federal might. But this will not succeed as the peaceful people of Ekiti will resist any attempt to turn their state into a theatre of war.
“The truth is that the PDP has a history of violence in Ekiti State, as in other places. Factions and rivalry within the party have been responsible for incessant skirmishes during rallies, party primaries or meetings. This has happened in Ilawe, Oye, Ikere and Efon where many of their members sustained injuries during such internecine clashes.
“The Erijiyan shooting fits into this pattern, and it happened because a faction of the PDP tried to prevent another PDP faction from taking part in the defection ceremony.’’
ACN said the chairman of its Ekiti chapter, said to have been whisked to Abuja by police, was being selectively persecuted by the PDP. The party pointed to the Minister of Police Affairs, Capt. Caleb Olubolade (retd), as being behind Awe’s travails.
It said Olubolade “has decided to abuse his office just to get Awe arrested and taken to Abuja, after he had been interrogated and released by the police in Ekiti.”
The party said, “It is shocking, to say the least, that the minister, who is also an interested party, a governorship aspirant and a factional leader of the PDP in the state, did not see anything wrong in the fact that no member of his party, the PDP, in the state has been interrogated by the police over the Erijiyan crisis.
“He did not see the glaring unfairness in the fact that even ahead of the crisis – which was triggered by the planned defection of some ACN members in the town to the PDP – the leader of the defectors, also an indigene of Erijiyan, had boasted that the day of the event would be bloody.”
Meanwhile, the Ekiti State Police Command has come under attack from the state chapters of both the ACN and the PDP.
Spokesman for the ACN in the state, Mr. Tunde Adeleke, in a statement made available to journalists on Thursday said the police were against the ACN in the investigation into the killing.
Adeleke called for the release of Awe, saying the state ACN chairman had been rendered incommunicado since his arrest. He also advised the police to extend its invitation to leaders of the PDP, who he accused of being behind the killing of Jeje.
Ekiti PDP in a statement made available to journalists by its Director-General, Information and Media Communications, Chief Gboyega Aribisogan, accused the state police command of aiding and abetting the lawlessness in the state.
The party, which called for a total overhaul of the police structure in Ekiti State, accused the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Sotonye Wakama, of bias against the PDP.
The party called for the redeployment of Wakama from the state, saying a neutral officer should be brought instead.
“The spate of robbery and politically-motivated crises in Ekiti State are becoming worrisome. It has become obvious that the commissioner of police in the state appears compromised and helpless.
“His relationship with the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria at the expense of his duties and as the man in charge of the state police command can no longer be tolerated by the teeming people of Ekiti State,” the PDP said.