By Olayinka Owolewa and Yinusa Ishola
The Kwara State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has inaugurated a campaign Committee for the Irepodun/Ekiti/Oke-Ero and Isin federal constituency bye election with a charge on members to work towards winning the seat.
The party also accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of importing thugs to disrupt the exercise.
Inaugurating the committee on Saturday in Ilorin, the party’s chairman, Bashir Bolarinwa, said the election is a must win for the party because it is not just a litmus test but a pre-sendforth party for those he called “the cheaters” in government.
“As our strategists for this election, I urge you to deploy every legitimate tact that can guarantee us victory. This is another sacrifice that calls for your selfless service to the party and good people of our state. We shall cooperate with you and give all necessary assistance that will help you in discharging this assignment” Bolarinwa said.
The Kwara State APC chairman asked the committee to examine the factors that influenced voting in the constituency in 2015. “Please look into these factors that can aid our victory and deal with those that can impede us” Bolarinwa said.
The chairman of the committee, Architect Lola Ashiru, who is the district’s senatorial candidate in the 2019 general elections, said the party has assembled the best set of people for the job.
“I am 100 percent sure, we will deliver on this mandate because we are representing the best wish of the people of Kwara. It is an important election because what will happen on Sat. Nov. 17, will determine a new frontier for the people of Kwara State. We will do the work, we will work hard. We will seek the cooperation, not only of party members but also the people of Kwara South,” Ashiru said.
The bye election became necessary after the death of Ms. Funke Adedoyin. She died on Friday, Sept. 28, in Abuja. Alhaji Tunji Olawuyi, will represent the APC in the bye election.
The APC made the allegation against the PDP in a statement issued by Femi David, an official of the party in Omu-Aran on Saturday. In addition, the APC also accused the PDP of recruiting fake election observers, monitors and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“In its desperation and characteristic manner to subvert the will of the people, the PDP has been recruiting thugs and fake election observers to disrupt the exercise. The thugs and fake election observers are to be strategically placed in the strong hold of the APC candidate, Mr Raheem Olawuyi AKA Ajuloopin.
“The PDP has been importing thugs from Rivers, Delta and other neighbouring states to intimidate and harass voters in order to scuttle the exercise, having sensed imminent defeat in the by-election.’’
According to the APC, most of the thugs are presently being camped in one of the hotels owned by a stalwart of PDP with the full support of the state government.
The APC urged security agents, especially the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris to swing into action by mounting surveillance in and around the constituency to forestall the breakdown of law and order during the by-election.
“APC hereby put the people of the constituency on alert to report any suspicious move to the security agents in order to have a hitch free exercise.’’
It warned that no amount of intimidation, harassment and hooliganism would deter the people from voting out the PDP on November 17.
“The PDP no longer has hold on Kwara, the people must be allowed to exercise their franchise without any inhibition. The APC remains the party to beat in the election, importing thugs to scuttle the election will amount to an exercise in futility.’’
In a swift reaction, the PDP Chairman in Irepodun Local Government Area, Alhaji Saheed Oyelowo said that the allegations were mere fabrication and remained in the realms of speculation.
According to him, we are not in government at the national level, we are only controlling Kwara, so how can we mobilise thugs from other states. He also reiterated PDP’s commitment to a credible and peaceful election.