At the All Progressives Congress (APC) rally in Ado-Ekiti, Ngige, in Pidgin English, blunders, “If you marry two wives, you go know which one wey better. Fayose is the better wife. E dey cook, e dey give husband food. E no dey give am trouble. You must bring back Fayose on Saturday.”
Of course, it is common knowledge that Fayose was not the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The PDP’s candidate is Prof. Kolapo Olusola who happens to be Fayose’s current deputy. The APC’s candidate is Dr. Kayode Fayemi. Ngige apparently mistook ‘Fayemi’ for ‘Fayose.’
Act One, Scene Two: Fayose weeps like a baby. A day after Ngige’s act, precisely at the PDP rally in Ado-Ekiti, Fayose sobs, “They (the police) are beating anybody who has any sign of PDP on them. They are not picking our calls; they’ve made up their minds to do this evil.
“I am in pain, I am in severe pain. (sobs) I can’t turn this neck anymore. If anything happens to me, the Inspector-General of Police should be held accountable.
The build-up to the just-concluded Ekiti governorship election was highly dramatic. Act One, Scene One: Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige, urges the electorate to vote for Governor Ayodele Fayose.
Like Fayose, our democracy has serious neck pains. It needs urgent treatment. One of the maladies happens to be the security agencies. They tend to show bias for the government in power. Before the above scenario painted by Fayose, security operatives had reportedly dispersed supporters of the PDP from the popular Fajuyi Park in Ado Ekiti, where they had gathered for the rally.
They reportedly thwarted every move by Fayose to lead his supporters back to the park. Moving the rally to the Government House did not help matters. The outgoing governor claimed that the police manhandled him and many PDP members there. He cried for justice and pleaded for the intervention of the international community, lamenting that Ekiti State, nay Nigeria, was in trouble.
In 2014, when the PDP was in power at the centre, Fayose was the beneficiary of the invasion of Ekiti State by security agents. He moved about like an emperor and later won the election. Then, he did not lament that Nigeria was in trouble. As the saying goes, the measure you give is the measure you get.
Nevertheless, two wrongs do not make a right. The problem is that most of our politicians consider our elections a do-or-die affair. Just consider this: the Federal Government deployed 30,000 police personnel, armoured personnel carriers and some other security hardware for the Ekiti election. Commanding the security operations was a Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), assisted by an Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), and three commissioners of police (CPs). The DSS was also there in full force. And please note that Ekiti is not an isolated case. Similar security build-up had occurred in the past in such states as Anambra and Ondo.
This type of scenario only creates unnecessary tension and verbal warfare in
the polity. After the alleged assault on Fayose, for instance, the PDP and the APC traded accusations to no end. In Abuja, Anambra, Imo, Nasarawa and some other states, members of the party protested and condemned what they saw as an assault on the nation’s democracy.
The national chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, described it as a civilian coup. As he put it, “We are aware and we have been reliably informed that INEC and a section of the security agencies are preparing to rig the election in Ekiti. That is why Ekiti today has been militarised and policed. Over 30,000 policemen are in Ekiti. The citizens of Ekiti are afraid, they are traumatised, they are harassed and they are being guarded not to come out of their homes.”
The APC didn’t waste time to defend itself. It rejected the claim by the PDP that policemen were drafted to Ekiti State to harass PDP supporters in Saturday’s governorship election.
The APC further noted, “With PDP’s claim in its press statement, it is obvious that its leadership does not have the facts of the actual events in Ekiti State or it is deliberately attempting to divert public attention from the comical performance put up by Governor Ayodele Fayose on Wednesday, which was clearly contrived to give the impression to the public that he was being persecuted.”
Nigeria’s democracy has become a potpourri of tragicomedy. In some cases, it provides comic relief. In some other instances, it makes you sad and troubled. Or how do you explain police rationalisation of what they did. They said they prevented the PDP rally from holding to forestall the outbreak of violence between the two leading political parties; and that they acted because the two par- ties intended to have their rallies at the same date in Ado-Ekiti metropolis.
Incidentally, the APC had a successful rally the previous day in Ado-Ekiti. Nobody molested its supporters. No tear gas. No fracas. So, how the police came about the story of two leading parties holding rallies the same day remains a matter of conjecture.
The PDP sustained its allegations against security agencies even on Election Day. Its candidate, Professor Olusola Eleka, said his party contested against security agencies and that there were plans to tinker with the results of the election.