Lai Mohammed, Kwara PDP differ over ban on rallies as 25 political parties sign peace accord
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has faulted the Kwara State Governor, Abdulfattah Ahmed’s ban on campaign rallies in the state.
In an exclusive interview with The Guardian, he argued that the directive was against the provision of laid down rules and regulations.Mohammed, who is the leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, claimed that the governor’s order was pre-empted by the fear of PDP’s impending defeat in next month’s poll.He said: “He has no power to ban rallies or campaigns. The law is very clear on the matter. If you want to go on a rally, you apply within 48 hours to the commissioner of police
“They are just afraid and terrified because everywhere they go, they hear ‘otoge, e malo, otoge atigbo,’ which means we have now learnt our lessons, we are now wiser.”
The minister said the destruction of APC billboards, and posters by sponsored agents of the PDP, shows that the electorate in Kwara has made up their minds to vote en masse for the APC governorship candidate, Abdulrahman Abdulrazak and other contestants at the poll.He cited the victory of Mr. Raheem Olawuyi in the House of Representatives’ election on November 18, as a clear attestation of the resolve in Kwara to reject the PDP.
Meanwhile, the PDP in the state has described the ban as necessary and a needful development.The party said it was aimed at ensuring the security of lives and property of innocent residents, as well as maintaining peace and order in all parts of the state.A statement by its Publicity Secretary, Tunde Ashaolu, in Ilorin said the decision on rallies by the state government and Security Council was necessary and timely.
It maintained that there was nothing undemocratic in the decision, as it was intended to check the escalation of violence in the state.“Every discerning individual would know that the ban was clearly informed by the recent violent attacks arising from political rallies in some parts of the state, with our members and supporters suffering the most casualties,” he said.
In a related development, 25 out of 57 registered political parties in the state have signed an accord to ensure peace before, during and after general elections.The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state facilitated the pact that representatives of all security agencies also witnessed.Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Mr. Attahiru Garba and state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Bashir Makama, urged compliance to ensure peaceful electioneering.
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