Former Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Tom Ikimi has deplored last Wednesday’s violent take-over of some Local Government headquarters by gun wielding youths, loyal to the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and acting at the instance of the party’s former chairman, Board of Trustees, Chief Anthony Anenih, describing it as double standard and portending an ominous signal for politics in the state.
According to him, “groups of hired thugs led by selected PDP leaders invaded the five local Government Councils in Esanland wielding dangerous weapons, recklessly firing gun shots in a desperate bid to take control of the councils by force. It took the overwhelming and determined resistance of crowds of ever loyal ACN supporters in the five local Governments to repel the assault. I am reliably informed that there are casualties in some hospitals and that some arrests were made”.
“I understand that these barbaric acts were purported to have been ordered by their leader Chief Anthony Anenih to “enforce” a declaratory judgement handed out by Justice Wilson of the High Court at Ekpoma near Anenih’s hometown in Uromi. The said judgement declared among other things that the appointment of Transition Committees in the Local Government Councils by the Edo State Government was unconstitutional”.
“I do not at this time, intend to comment on the merits or demerits of the judgement which is already subject of appeal as I write this statement”, Ikimi, now national leader of ACN said as he went the memory lane.
“I would rather draw attention to the fact that the law by which these appointments were made was passed in the year 2000, when Hon. Friday Itulah of the PDP was the Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly and all the members of that House were PDP members at the time. Chief Anthony Anenih was the undisputed leader of the Party at all levels including the State and Local Government. A number of Transition Committees were in fact constituted under his watch at the time by virtue of the law. Here lies my difficulty in understanding PDP’s (or Chief Anenih’s) new found hatred for a law which they passed with so much fan fare and utilized effectively for their selfish greedy end at the time”.
Continuing, Ikimi said, “This, I believe is what exposes the deceit in their action. Since when did PDP acquire the duties of bailiffs and Sheriffs of the High Court of Justice? When did declaratory judgements become enforceable in our Judicial system? Why was this act of gangsterism limited to Edo Central Senatorial Zone?”
Recalling how “Chief Anenih invaded Igueben Local Government by a contingent of thugs with guns blazing, commando style on 18th August 2005, to install an illegal chairman”, Ikimi said, “I reported the appalling action to the PDP chairman then Chief Audu Ogbeh and to President Obasanjo, both of whom did nothing which was one of my fundamental disagreements with the PDP that caused the withdrawal of my membership from that party. The Chief had always enjoyed heavy doses of Abuja Oxygen”.
“Here in Edo State, the simple truth is that PDP has come to the realization that they have lost the confidence of the people of the State whom they have dehumanized in the past and whose resources had been privatized before the advent of ACN”.
“They have come to know that ACN has brought a new lease of life into the State where the people truly lead; ACN has brought unprecedented development in all spheres of the lives of the people of Edo State”.
“Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has come to be identified as a miracle worker who has found resources to do those things the PDP told our people were impossible and unattainable. They told our people that the resources were not there. Oshiomhole has redirected the resources from PDP private pockets to public use”.
“Indeed PDP has realized that they have lost the contest even before the 14th of July 2012. This is the real reason why they have resolved to constitute themselves into a nuisance to create an atmosphere that they believe could impair the ability of INEC to carry out its constitutional duties in order that Edo State citizens can exercise their franchise in a peaceful and conducive atmosphere”.
“I hereby strongly call on Chief Anthony Anenih to rein in his ‘dogs’ and allow peace to reign. I do this with the highest sense of responsibility and the benefit of history. We have all subscribed to Democracy as the best form of Govermnent and we will settle for nothing less. There is ample time and opportunity for all Political Parties in the contest to present their
options and candidates to the People of Edo State who should make their choice in an unfettered atmosphere. I am pleased with news now reaching me of arrangements for the highest leadership of ACN and PDP in the State, that is Chief Anthony Anenih and my humble self to engage in a fully televised public debate which would be a fine opportunity to educate the generality of the public about our two parties. I have accepted the invitation without any reservations”.
“I look forward to a hitch free Governorship elections in Edo State on 14thJuly 2012. And hope that this will be a watershed election to point Nigeria at a new generation of elections conducted freely and fairly producing unmistakably the people’s verdict”, he said.