The Director of Media and Publicity of Kolapo Olusola Campaign Organisation , Lere Olayinka , tells
KAMARUDEEN OGUNDELE that the July 14 election was manipulated
What is your assessment of the election?
What happened in Ekiti State on Saturday cannot be called an election . It can best be described as a war against the people of Ekiti State , a war against democracy in Nigeria . No reasonable person can regard what happened in Ekiti State as an election .
Why did you say that ?
An election is a process where people are allowed to make their choice willingly without inducement, intimidation , harassment or interference . In this case , the PDP agents were chased away from polling units. When you begin to drive agents of a political party out of polling units , can you call that an election ? I know of cases that as early as 9am , people that could have voted for candidates of other political parties were run out of town . Three days to the election , there was an assault and shooting aimed at Governor Ayodele Fayose . This was followed by the withdrawal of the governor ’ s security aides even when he was not a candidate in the election .
Can you expatiate on your observations ?
There was a clear demonstration of a pre -determined agenda to seize Ekiti State by force . The entire security apparatus was moved into the state, comprising 30, 000 policemen and 19, 000 men of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps among others . Has election become a war ? There was a siege on Ekiti . There was wanton arrest of PDP leaders . There are several innocent Ekiti people still in detention, including nursing mothers . Three days to the election , all that was required to arrest you was for somebody to identify you as a member of the PDP. Some of our agents that should have signed INEC forms are still being held by the police up till now .
Are you saying the voting was manipulated ?
The process was structured in a way that voting should not have taken place in the first place . It was structured in a way that only APC supporters should vote. That is why people identified as members of the opposition were sent away from polling units . They went as far as arresting PDP supporters. Thugs were operating and moving round under the cover of policemen . In other climes, when thugs want to operate, they are wary of security agencies. But here , they worked together scattering where they suspected that APC was losing, destroying votes in the full glare of security men. A South – West governor had once boasted and assured them not to worry because the APC would snatch Ekiti . It means that the votes were not meant to count from the outset and on Saturday the votes did not count. The will of the people did not prevail . That is why even those who secured the victory could not celebrate .
Ekiti is the only PDP state in the South – West with a PDP governor . Don’ t you see this as a setback that worked against the success of the party at the poll ?
It is not a setback for PDP but a setback for democracy. It means that the APC government is out to kill democracy. If the 2015 general elections were conducted this way, would President Buhari have won ? He wouldn’ t have been president . The PDP government created a space for democracy to flourish . That was why an opposition figure like President Buhari could win an election . I have to say this , 2019 is a foregone conclusion . If anybody is thinking that anybody other than those they design to win the election would win, that person is deceiving himself.
What is the solution to a free , fair , credible and peaceful election?
The solution is to remove President Buhari . No solution will come until we have a president that believes in the rule of law . Until we have a party that will operate and let others operate . As it is today , we have a ruling party that believes it should control everything; that should run Nigeria like a captured territory. We have been returned to dark ages where brute force and manipulation of elections were the order of the day . They are now working to pre -determine results . Whether Nigerians can release themselves from the hold of these people, only God can say .
Let ’ s cast our mind to recent past where elections were won by the opposition party . PDP won a senatorial election in Osun while APGA won in Anambra . Why do you think that of the Ekiti is different ? Is it because the ruling party won ?
Well, interest will always be different . APC losing in Anambra would have no effect . But APC losing Ekiti would give them a bloodied nose. That was why they laid siege to the state. That was why they withdrew the security aides of the governor and triple the security aides around the APC candidate, Dr . Kayode Fayemi . Why did the federal authorities assign riot policemen to APC leaders such that they were moving freely and arresting people on the day of election ? That was not the way it was done in Anambra and Osun states . That is why I said interests are different .
Besides, they saw Governor Ayodele Fayose as the only critic of President Buhari and must be taken out at all cost . That was why immediately after the declaration of results , there was a tweet from the EFCC saying it was waiting for the governor now that his immunity had been removed . An anti -corruption agency that should be neutral descending into a political arena! You should know they have other plans. We heard they want to try impeachment, but at the end of the day , we hope by the time these people finish with Nigeria , democracy would still be in the country .
Do you think INEC is culpable in all these?
It was a combination of INEC and security agencies. It is INEC that will direct security agencies and state the number required . Did INEC do that? Did INEC complain when people were being harassed and ballot boxes were being snatched? Did they complain when thugs were moving round with security agencies? INEC didn ’ t complain . They simply played the ostrich . We only hope they will not collapse the democracy.
Have you made efforts to secure the release of your members?
The best thing will be to go to court . We have been to police stations; no offence has been established against them . A nursing woman and another woman in purdah are in detention right now .