18th July, 2013
Violence and assassinations often characterise governorship elections in Ekiti State. The fracas that broke out in Ekiti State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Tuesday underscores the usual recourse to violence just before every governorship election in the state.
According to reports, thugs allegedly led by one of the leading governorship aspirants in the 2014 election, invaded the party office at Ajilosun area in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, firing gunshots, breaking bottles and wielding machetes in a bid to prevent the inauguration of the party’s governorship consensus committee. The committee was set up to pick a governorship candidate among the over 20 aspirants jostling to fly the party’s flag in next year’s election. By the time the melee subsided, some party officers were drenched in their own blood following the attack on them.
Aside, there had been intermittent skirmishes between supporters of the PDP and the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, one of which resulted in the death of a supporter of one of the parties.
These violent incidents are reminiscent of the orgy of political violence, intimidation and harassment witnessed during the administration of former Governor Ayodele Fayose. The gruesome assassination of a governorship aspirant, Dr. Ayodele Daramola on 14 August, 2006, in his home in Ekiti, added to the notoriety of Ekiti State as a flashpoint of merciless competing political interest groups. Following the callous murder, some aides of Fayose were arrested and quizzed by the Nigerian Police. But like several other unsolved murders by the police, Daramola’s killers have remained unknown, and as such, they have not been brought to justice.
It is important that people who mastermind the killing of their political opponents and instigating political violence must be brought to book. There is no doubt that there will be deterrence if culprits are diligently investigated and prosecuted by the police for their heinous crimes.
The political class must rise against political intolerance and stop seeing politics as a zero sum game. If truly their motive is to use politics as vehicle for advancing developmental goals for the people, violence and desperation will not be the rule of the game. Let peace prevail in Ekiti