The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun has threatened to occupy police stations across the state unless the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba Alkali, does not stop the ongoing arrest of its leaders ahead of the Saturday, March 18, 2023, state House of Assembly election.
The party, which maintained that it is the ruling party in the state and its members are law-abiding citizens, ruled out resorting to self-help but added that if the harassment continued, it would mobilize and storm all police posts in peaceful protests so that all their members in the state would be arrested.
According to Daily Post, this warning was contained in a statement signed by the Osun PDP caretaker chairman, Akindele Adekunle, on Sunday in Osogbo, the state capital.
The statement reads this, “Our leaders are being arrested in a bid to rig Saturday’s election. We will resist any ploy to manipulate the polls. Osun people voted overwhelmingly for PDP in the last polls. They are ready to freely exercise their voting rights again. Arresting our leaders on Kangaroo charges is an attack on democracy and our fundamental human rights.
“We will not resort to self-help. We are law-abiding citizens and a ruling party in Osun State. But if this harassment of our members continues, we will mobilize and storm all police posts in Osun state in a peaceful protest. Let the IGP arrest all Osun PDP members.
“We call on the Inspector General of Police to stop serving the evil interest of the APC. The police boss has a sacred duty to be an impartial enforcer of the law, not an agent of one political party against the other. It is unacceptable for the IGP to take directives on who to arrest or detain from APC chieftains. This is a democracy, not a military dictatorship.”
While wondering if winning the election in a free and fair poll was a sin, Akindele queried the reason why the IGP Baba Alkali was deliberately stoking the fire of political conflict in a peaceful state like Osun.
Osun PDP called on the western embassies and international human rights organisations to intervene by calling the IGP to order notes that the conduct of the police in Osun State was threatening the peace and security of the state.
“PDP members are being pushed to the wall. We are Nigerians protected by the constitution. We will not surrender our rights. We put the IGP on notice that he will be responsible for any breakdown of law and order in the state. This illegal statewide arrest must stop,” the statement concluded.
The Osun PDP and All Progressives Congress (APC) have been at each other’s necks before the 2023 general elections.
Both parties have alleged, and counter-alleged each other of killings, murder, violence, billboard and campaign poster vandalism.
Matters came to a head a few weeks to the presidential and National Assembly elections when there were reported incidents of killings perpetrated in the Ife-Ijesa axis of the state.
The APC Osun East Senatorial District candidate, Ajibola Famurewa, was arrested but eventually released.
The Osun PDP later went on to score a 100 percent victory clinching the three senatorial and nine federal House of Representatives seats in Osun.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Osun State Police Command, Yemisi Opalola, did not respond to calls to her.
But in earlier reports, Opalola had always maintained that the Police Command in the state was neutral as it did not support any political party or politicians.
Also, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Patrick Kehinde Longe, had prior to the electoral exercise in the state, held meetings with political parties and candidates for elective positions.
During the meetings, the Osun Police boss restated the neutrality of the police and also warned that being the security agency tasked with election security, it would not condone any type of violence from the political actors and their parties.
He also warned that anyone caught would not be spared and would face the full weight of the law.
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