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ACN Berates PDP for Arrest of Party Chairman in Ekiti

The arrest and subsequent transfer to Abuja of Chairman of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Ekiti State, Chief Jide Awe following the death of an indigene of his hometown, Erijiyan Ekiti in an intra-party crisis within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is a gross abuse of federal might and blatant misuse of power, the opposition party said on Thursday.

In a statement released in Benin City by National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party described the harassment and intimidation of Chief Awe as part of a grand PDP plan to muzzle the ACN in Ekiti and trigger a breakdown of law and order in the state in the hope that it will culminate in a state of emergency as boasted by the impeached ex-Governor Ayo Fayose, who swore that no governor after him would successfully complete a term in office.

“What the PDP cannot get through the ballot box is what it wants to achieve through brigandage and abuse of federal might. But this will not succeed as the peaceful people of Ekiti will resist any attempt to turn their state into a theatre of war,” a part of the statement read.

“The truth is that the PDP has a history of violence in Ekiti State, as in other places. Factions and rivalry within the party have been responsible for incessant skirmishes during rallies, party primaries or meetings. This has happened in Ilawe, Oye, Ikere and Efon where many of their members sustained injuries during such internecine clashes. The Erijiyan shooting fits into this pattern, and it happened because a faction of the PDP tried to prevent another (PDP) faction from taking part in the defection ceremony.”

According to ACN, Awe, a highly respected high chief from Erijiyan is being selectively persecuted by the PDP, through Minister of Police Affairs, Capt. Caleb Olubolade (Rtd.) who has decided to abuse his office just to get the ACN Chairman arrested and whisked to Abuja, after he had been interrogated and released by the Police in Ekiti.

“It is shocking, to say the least, that the minister who is also an interested party, a gubernatorial aspirant and a factional leader of the PDP in the State, did not see anything wrong in the fact that no member of his party, the PDP, in the state has been interrogated by the Police over the Erijiyan crisis.

“He did not see the glaring unfairness in the fact that even ahead of the crisis, which was triggered by the planned defection of some ACN members in the town to the PDP, the leader of the defectors, also an indigene of Erijiyan, had boasted that the day of the event would be bloody.

“The threat became a reality as sporadic shooting started on Friday night and continued till Saturday night by a chieftain of PDP in the town, Chief Adewunmi Oba Odo, who is known for using gun shots to announce his presence in the town.

“That our party chairman will now be arrested and taken to Abuja over a crisis in Ekiti while those who instigated the crisis are walking free is not the definition of fairness and justice.”

ACN therefore demanded the unconditional release of Awe and his safe return to Ekiti, and the interrogation of all those who precipitated the crisis but are now walking free.

The party warned that the Police must not allow itself to be used anyone, no matter his status in the Federal Government, because in the end, the credibility of the law enforcement agency will rest on the perception of the people concerning its fairness and non-partisanship.

It also appealed to its members to be calm and resist all attempts to provoke them into violence, which the pre-meditated persecution of the ACN chairman was about.