The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kogi State has called for the arrest of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the state, Prince Abubakar Audu, over his call on his party supporters to kill on sight those he described as PDP thugs in the state.
Prince Audu had at two campaign rallies in Kabba and Okene alleged that the ruling PDP in the state had engaged people he described as thugs to rig the forthcoming governorship poll and had urged his party supporters to “kill the thugs” if they sight them in their communities.
But at a press briefing on Sunday in Lokoja addressed by the Chairman of the Publicity Committee of the PDP Governorship Campaign Organisation, Hon. Bode Ogunmola, the PDP said it was deeply worried that the APC candidate, who it strongly suspects of involvement in past murder of PDP members, has “adopted incitement to hatred and violence as the fulcrum of his campaign”.
The party denied the allegation of engaging thugs, stressing that even Prince Audu is on record to have publicly praised the administration of Governor Idris Wada for eradicating political thuggery in Kogi State and that in any event he does not have the power to pronounce the death sentence on anyone.
According to the PDP, “In the two rallies held by the APC so far, Mr Audu mounted the rostrum to charge APC supporters to kill those he branded as PDP thugs. The first was at the Demonstration Primary School in Kabba on Saturday 3rd October while the most recent was a few days ago in Okene.
“We are really horrified that a septuagenarian and two times governor of a state will urge young men of the same state he still desperately wants to rule, to engage in killing citizens over which he intends to be governor!
“But more than the horror we feel, this open incitement to murder has exposed Abubakar Audu for who and what he is and has provided an answer to the several unsolved murders of PDP supporters in Kogi State who were mowed down in cold blood during electioneering campaigns involving Audu in the several parties he has traversed”.
The PDP lamented that whereas there had never been any report of any supporter of the different parties on which platform Prince Audu had run for governor in the past being attacked or killed by anyone , its members had always been victims of political violence in the state.
It recalled that in 2008 in the run up to the rerun governorship election, four PDP members returning from a rally were killed while nine others were injured after they had been chased down to a village called Ogbagebe by gunmen inside a car it alleged had earlier the same day been noticed inside Audu’s compound.
“The latest of these body counts was a young man called Abu Jeremiah, alias Tubeless, a strong member of the PDP who had contributed immensely to the several defeats of Abubakar Audu in his own Local Government of Ofu.
“Since 2003, Audu never won Ofu which is his LGA except once. This young man working with other youths made sure the populated Ejule ward was totally impenetrable for Abubakar Audu.
“One week after Audu emerged the APC flag-bearer, Abu Jeremiah was at home in Ejule with members of his family, including his father and siblings, when a Toyota Jeep stopped in front of the house and men with AK 47 guns emptied their bullets into his chest, killing him instantly as his family members scampered away in horror.
“Eye witnesses said the jeep turned and drove away furiously in the direction of Alloma.
“There were several other instances of alleged murder of PDP supporters at electioneering seasons, which are yet to be solved by the security agencies. And now Abubakar Audu has come out openly to call for summary execution of PDP ward canvassers whom he has branded as thugs.
“There is no honest person in Kogi State in the last four years who cannot testify to the fact that under the leadership of Governor Idris Wada political thuggery has been completely eradicated. So who and where are the thugs Audu is condemning to death and asking APC members to summarily execute?
“This boils down to the proverbial giving a dog a bad name in order to justify putting it down. Audu is branding the five members of PDP chosen to canvass neighbourhoods for votes and also keeping vigil at polling units on election day as thugs, when he knows there are no thugs in PDP in Kogi State.
“Ironically, the same Audu is on record commending His Excellency, Capt Wada for eradicating thuggery from Kogi State. But even assuming that they were thugs, is it the powers of a governorship candidate to pass a death sentence on them?
“To answer the above question there will be first a need to deconstruct the persona of Abubakar Audu. This is a man who has no regard whatsoever for the lives of other people particularly when he will gain an advantage from the loss of such lives. It is the clear manifestation of this psyche that was displayed on the rostrums in Kabba and Okene.
“Unfortunately for Mr Audu, we are in a society governed by laws which is not a respecter of persons. It is our view in the Peoples Democratic Party( PDP) that his open incitement to murder is criminal and we are calling on the security agencies to immediately arrest and prosecute this man.
“We shall not accept the excuse that “it’s all politics”. The precious lives of our members who are citizens of Nigeria cannot be reduced to politics. Many have been killed already, how many more will die before the law will be allowed to take its course?
“We equally call on the APC hierarchy to rein in its violent candidate. APC is the ruling party today. The security of lives ad properties of all Nigerians should be of concern to them. Their silence over Audu’s incitement is worrisome to us, more so when we are going into elections.
“Is it possible that Audu’s murderous eruption is latently endorsed by the APC? Only an open condemnation of Audu’s call to mass murder by our ruling party can reassure us that this election is not going to be war by some other means.”
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