11th February, 2015
Prominent Nigerians have decried the siege laid by soldiers to the home of the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the Imo State Government House, the official residence of Governor Rochas Okorocha.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, on Tuesday decried the unconstitutional deployment of military personnel to the residence of Tinubu on Bourdillon Road in Ikoyi, Lagos, western Nigeria.
Fashola said the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan “has resorted to intimidation of the opposition parties and frustration of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in its bid to glue itself to power.”
Speaking during the APC campaign rally at Ejigbo in Oshodi-Isolo LCDA, Fashola said the Jonathan administration “is a government that lies with everything. They have removed security from the head of the commission”.
The governor said the deployment of troops to the residence of Tinubu was unconstitutional and undemocratic, but vowed that APC would not be intimidated.
“Our votes will speak for us,” he added.
“When the president was begging for our votes in 2011, he did not use soldiers and was begging us. He was saying he had no shoes. After we helped him, what has he been doing? He has been inflicting pains on us,” he said.
Governor Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State said on Wednesday that deployment of military personnel to the homes of opposition party leaders would not prevent Nigerians from working towards electing a new political leadership in the country.
“We are not at war, let them go and flush out insurgents that have taken over part of our country. It is really a shame,” he said.
“ I am very optimistic that Nigeria will come out stronger and more united to utilize its abundant human and mineral resources for our nation’s optimal growth,” Wammako told news men in Sokoto.
He said that the APC leaders would not be intimidated by the involvement of the military in the ongoing political process in the country
Wamakko challenged the military to flush out the insurgents that have been terrorising the people of Borno, Adamawa, Yobe and Gombe states rather than patrolling towns in a military show of strength..
“The military are needed in Sambisa forest to bring back our girls not showing military force in cities. I am very confident that Nigerians will not be intimidated by the presence of military officers during the election as we are more politically educated than before,” he said.
Wamakko also called on Nigerians to seek divine intervention to ensure peaceful conduct of the general election.
Junaid Mohammed and Senator Olusola Saraki also condemned the deployment of troops to the homes of the APC stalwarts.
The Lagos State chapter of APC also denounced the military siege to Tinubu’s residence.
In a statement by the Lagos State Publicity Secretary of the APC, Joe Igbokwe, the party warned that Jonathan and the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) “scared of the mass rejection they are presently facing after wasting precious years of Nigerian lives, will plunge Nigeria into an intractable crisis if it does not arrest its present predilection of bringing Nigeria down because Nigerians have rejected PDP.
“Nigerians know that the PDP, its leaders, supporters, enablers dread Tinubu like a pestilence and if the weight of the gargantuan smear campaign and devilish propaganda the PDP has sponsored against the person of Tinubu has failed to sway Nigerians to continue supporting the banditry of PDP governance, it should know that it is struggling in vain.
“For the PDP to think that after fighting the military to a standstill, Asiwaju should be intimidated by the impotent show of force by a dying, failed regime and its scared enablers, then it must have its head examined.”
The party viewed the attempt to intimidate and harass Tinubu as one of the desperate efforts by a dying regime to arrest the forces of history, warning that the PDP and the Jonathan presidency were struggling in vain, “as nothing would save them from being thrown to the dumpsite of history.
“We see this brazen display of brute force as yet another in the series of the criminal misuse of the army which should be fighting the rampaging Boko Haram insurgents but have been turned into the enforcement wing of PDP’s inordinate selfish ambition.
“A nation that is being assailed with the sordid details of the misuse of the army to rig elections for the PDP in Ekiti is today being treated with the scenario of using the same army to intimidate opposition forces so as to procure another extension for a failed regime that ranks not only as the most corrupt, but the most clueless and incompetent in the history of the country.
“It is a pity that when poor countries like Niger and Chad are sending troops to fight insurgents in Nigeria, our own troops are being deployed to fight the opposition,” the party said.
The Coordinator of the Lagos. Office of the Buhari/Osinbajo Campaign Organisation, James Abiodun Faleke, has described the invasion by soldiers as intimidation taken too far but which will not stop President Goodluck Jonathan from being voted out of office on 28 March, 2015.
Faleke, a member of the House of Representatives and chairman of the House Committee on Anti-corruption, National Ethics and Values, described the invasion as the desparate attempt by a government that has lost focus and is aware that it is about to lose a popular election to intimidate opposition and cow it into submission.
“The Jonathan administration has lost everything. It has been rejected all over Nigeria and it has also been rejected abroad. The government is therefore doing everything to intimidate opposition but we want to assure President Jonathan that we will not be intimidated and our leader will not be deterred from his avowed commitment to enthroning agovernment that will improve the life of the common man,” Faleke said.
Also speaking, another Rep member, Hakeem Abiodun Muniru, described the invasion as a cowardly act on the part of the ruling government of the PDP led Federal Government.
“The die is cast. This government is on its way out hence they are afraid. They are doing this out of fear to intimidate opposition and cowed it into submission but the plan has boomeranged,” Muniru, representing Oshodi Isolo Federal Constituency 2 in the House of Representatives, said.
In his reaction, the Executive Secretary of Odiolowo/Ojuwoye Local Council Development Area of Lagos State, Rasak Olusola Ajala, described the inicdent as an act of a sinking government clinging to the last straw to survive.
He stated that the Jonathan government has been destined to lose the general election hence it is always taking actions that have been counter-productive to its cause.
“Will invading Tinubu’s house with soldiers help or damage its cause? We all know that the action has further strenghtened the resolve of Nigerians to change this ruderless administration,” Ajala said.
Also speaking, the APC candidate for Surulere Federal Constituency 2 in the House of Representatives, Hakeem Adisa Bamgbala stated that incident has further shown people of the world that the Jonathan government wants to cling to power at all costs despite its rejection all over by Nigerians.
Also reacting to the development, Tinubu, in a statement by his media assistant, Mr. Sunday Dare, said he would not be intimidated by this show of strength, intimidation and possible harassment.
“I remain resolute in my advocacy and support for the rule of law.
“Jonathan’s government has through the service chiefs staged a coup against Nigerians and the constitution and now wants to silence his critics. I will not be muzzled through the barrel of the gun,” Tinubu maintained.
The APC national leader added that the guns and bullets which the Nigeria Armed Forces should have used “to defeat Boko Haram are now being turned against the opposition and innocent Nigerians,” stressing that he would “remain emphatically resolute and committed to the path of change in Nigeria.”
The statement added: “The soldiers were first noticed on Sunday, a few minutes to 11 pm in an army truck. They were stationed about 500 metres away from Tinubu’s gate. Later they moved closer to his gate as if making efforts to enter.
“The stern looking soldiers were around for hours on Sunday and returned on Monday to continue their surveillance. Monday night about 10.45pm, they returned to the residence in two army vans and were there throughout the night.
“Some of the soldiers discharged from the van and walked back and forth in front of the house and around the house in what is clearly some casing effort. Tuesday morning, two vans from the army were stationed on both sides of the house along Bourdillon Road, their missions shrouded in secrecy.”