By Olusegun Emmanuel, reporting from Oshogbo.
The All Progressives Congress (APC), Saturday raised fresh alarm over what it called “the mass arrest and intimidation of its members in Osun as result counting in the state’s governorship election continues, saying over 250 of its members have been arrested so far in Osun.
National Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr. Lai Mohammed, stated that “APC is constrained to alert Nigerians and the international community that what is going on now in Osun State Nigeria is not an election but a coup against democracy,” the party said in a statement issued in Osogbo by its
”This is definitely not an ordinary election. It is the total hijack of the process and direct violation of the rights of the people. Osun State has been turned into a theater of war. An ongoing state-sponsored political terror against the Osun people and the entire people of Nigerians has been unleashed by an elected President against his own people, against his own country, in an unprecedented act of political desperation.
”As at 11 am this morning, over 250 APC members and leaders have been arrested all over the state by the security task force. The DSS alone has over 50 APC members in their custody. On the contrary, no single PDP member has been arrested so far. This is barbaric and constitutes an infringement on the constitutionally-guaranteed rights of those who have been arrested,” it said.
APC said the magnitude of arrests, the viciousness of the operation and the widespread intimidation of APC members have confirmed the party’s fears, which were expressed in several press statements ahead of the election.
The party said President Jonathan, in an unparalleled desecration of national institutions, has simply turned the men and women in uniform against the people, as the entire security outfits now owe their allegiance to the President, rather than to the nation, and are at his beck and call.
It said even as the election progresses, police officers from other neighboring states are being shipped into Osun to intimidate the state’s voters.
”PDP is not relenting in its plan to unleash terror and provoke violence after the accreditation of voters in order to prevent APC members from voting. Tear gas and gun shots will be released sporadically to scare voters from voting and create confusion at the poling units, so the agents of the PDP can substitute ballot papers and boxes,” APC said.
The party also alerted the people of Osun and indeed all Nigerians to the use of fake Youth Corpers to perpetrate massive rigging in the election, adding that the fake Youth Corpers, who were procured by the Minister of State for Defence Musiliu Obanikoro, have hijacked the accreditation of voters in many polling units.
”Genuine NYSC members who had already been cleared and paid for the election today are being turned back in favour of the fake Corpers. The genuine Corps members have been substituted with fake ones in Ede South and Ede North, as they discovered that their names have been removed and the Obanikoro-procured fake Corpers used to substitute them.
”All these could not have been possible without the active connivance of the Prof. Attahiru Jega-led INEC. This confirms our worst fears that a body that is supposed to be an unbiased umpire has descended into the fray,” it said.
Though, the claims could not be independently verified as at the time of this report, APC said its members who were arrested in Osun include:
– Alhaji Tijani Oladosu (aka TILAD), Quadri Owonikoko (a.k.a Integrity). Arrested about midnight, their whereabouts are still unknown
– Lai Mohammed, Sunday Dare, and Afolabi Salisu. They were picked up before mid-night Friday by nine gun-totting masked DSS operatives and driven to the DSS headquarters in Osogbo. Harassed and deeply traumatized, they were finally released by DSS Saturday morning
– Over 40 voters, all APC members, arrested in Erin Osun while queueing for accreditation.
– Alhaji Raimi Shitu, Vice Executive Secretary, Odo-Otin LG, arrested midnight
– Chairman of O’SCHOOL in Osun and Chieftain of APC, Alhaji Lai Oyeduntan’s house invaded in Osogbo
– APC stalwart and Octogenarian lawyer, Pa J.O Fakayode, being detained in Ora Igbomina after being picked up by security agents from Oke Ila
– All APC agents in Osu, Atakumosa West, arrested by soldiers
– All APC coordinators in Ifedayo LGA arrested.
-ASP Venture Onos, Second in Command, Police Command, Osun while on election duty, arrested for warning soldiers against the maltreatment of APC members.
– Chief Abiola Ogundokun, PDP chieftain in Iwo, is leading a detachment of DSS agents to arrest APC leaders and key members.
– All over Osun state, APC members are being chased and harassed by PDP thugs aided by security agents.
By Olusegun Emmanuel, reporting from Oshogbo.