The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has described as a gross abuse of federal might and a blatant misuse of power the decision to arrest and whisk to Abuja the Chairman of ACN in Ekiti State, Chief Jide Awe, following the death of an indigene of his hometown, Erijiyan Ekiti, in an intra-PDP crisis.
In a statement issued in Benin City on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the harassment and intimidation of Chief Awe is 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, which the instigators hope will culminate in a state of emergency, as boasted by the impeached ex-Gov. Ayo Fayose, who said no Governor after him would finish his term.
”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,” it said.
ACN said Chief Awe, a highly-respected high chief from Erijiyan, is being selectively persecuted by the PDP, through the Minister of Police Affairs, Capt. Caleb Olubolade (rtd), who has decided to abuse his office just to get the ACN Chairman arrested and taken to Abuja, after he (Chief Awe) had been interrogated and released by the police in Ekiti.
”It is shocking, to say the least, that the minister, who is also an interested party, a gubernatorial 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.
”The threat became a reality as sporadic shooting started on Friday night and continued till Saturday night by a Chieftain of PDP in the town, Chief Adewunmi Oba Odo, who is known for using gun shots to announce his presence in the town. That our party chairman will now be arrested and taken to Abuja, over a crisis in Ekiti, while those who instigated the crisis are walking free, is not the definition of fairness and justice,” the party said.
ACN therefore demanded an unconditional release of Chief Awe and his safe return to Ekiti, while all those who precipitated the crisis but are now walking free should be immediately invited by the police for interrogation.
The party warned that the police must not allow itself to be used by anyone, no matter his status in the federal government, because in the end, the credibility of the law enforcement agency will rest on the perception of the people concerning its fairness and non-partisanship.
It also appealed to its members to be calm and to resist all attempts to provoke them into violence, which is what the pre-meditated persecution of the ACN Chairman is about.