Wednesday, August 6, 2014
ARREST OF OPPOSITION LEADERS IN OSUN: FG IS ALREADY COERCING THE OPPOSITION
6th August, 2014
ARREST OF OPPOSITION LEADERS IN OSUN:
FG IS ALREADY COERCING THE OPPOSITION
Barely four days to the governorship election in the State of Osun, the all Progressive Congress (APC) has reported that one of its leaders, Hon. Yemi Oke in Obokun Local Government has been arrested and detained by security agents described as “Special Forces” who came from Abuja. Hon. Yemi Oke was allegedly arrested around 2.30 am on Monday 4th August, 2014 at his home in Oshogbo.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is alarmed by this ugly development. It will amount to political naivety to claim ignorance of the likely motive behind clampdown on the opposition a few days to an election.
Whereas President Jonathan declared a few days ago that the days of election rigging are gone while the Minister of State for Defence claimed yesterday that the deployment of security operatives to Osun was “to prevent the breakdown of law and order”, the arrest of Hon. Yemi Oke indicates that the Federal Government is not ready to walk its talk.
Arrest of leaders or members of the opposition is most likely to create tension, drive them underground and militarise them. This was the precursor of the famous ‘operation wet-e’ which turned the South West to the Wild, Wild West of the 60s.
MURIC calls the attention of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), election observers and the international community to the gameplan of the Federal Government. Can anyone match FG’s declarations with its actions? When did election turn into war that soldiers in full battle gear must breathe down the necks of the electorate?
We assert that a free and fair election is totally impossible in an atmosphere of tension and fear. Democracy is all about free choice but choice cannot be free in a fully militarized zone. The militarization of Osun becomes provocative when members and leaders of opposition are detained on phantom charges. It becomes too suspicious when those arrested are held incommunicado until after the election. FG must therefore be held responsible if there is any breakdown of law and order.
MURIC demands immediate release of Hon. Yemi Oke and any other opposition leader or member who may have been arrested in the past 48 hours. We affirm that there can only be one interpretation for arresting people in the opposition camp between now and election day (Saturday 9th August, 2014). It is nothing short of electoral tyranny with the aim of turning ‘election’ to ‘selection’.
Finally, we call on the new Acting Inspector General of Police and the Minister of State for Defence to create a level playing ground for all the political parties. The arrest of members of the opposition must also stop.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)