A Coalition of Opposition House of Assembly Candidates has asked security agencies to declare Ondo State a ‘Red Spot’ ahead of the Saturday’s House of Assembly elections.
The Coalition, which comprises candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP), made the demand on Tuesday at an emergency press conference held in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
Speaking on behalf of the candidates, Ebenzer Adeniyan, the SDP candidate seeking to represent Akure South Constituency I at the state House of Assembly, said the coalition had uncovered a “grand plot to cause violence and manipulate” Saturday’s House of Assembly election.
He alleged that the All Progressives Congress (APC) had “perfected plans to rig the Assembly elections” by contracting members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).
According to Adeniyan, the plot being hatched by Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ondo State, is to favour all APC candidates contesting in Saturday’s parliamentary election.
The SDP candidate added that Akeredolu had been holding a series of meetings with artisans, government workers and traders in the state ahead of the election, and is “too desperate to manipulate” the elections.
He explained that the coalition had petitioned the security agencies in the state on the matter.
“We wish to bring to your notice the clandestine plot by Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and the leadership of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) to cause mayhem in the House of Assembly elections on behalf of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He said: “This plot was hatched as a result of the poor performance of the APC in the February 23 presidential and National Assembly elections in Ondo State, particularly in the central senatorial district where the party did not win any seat.
“The coming House of Assembly election has, therefore, been tagged a must-win for the party, using all means necessary.
“It is on this note that we are calling on all the security agencies to declare Ondo State a flash point and red spot in the build up to the House of Assembly elections coming up on Saturday in the state.
“The APC government also plans to influence a reduction in the presence of security officers in polling units where the attacks would be carried out. We should all take note that the factors that precipitated the 1983 election crisis in Ondo State, especially in Akure, are at play here again.
“The Governor, as the number one citizen of the state and chief security officer saddled with responsibility to protect lives and properties of the citizens, should know the implications if he is the one emboldening, threatening and coaxing thugs to cause political violence.
“It should be noted that the citizens would be prepared to defend themselves against their Governor and his thugs. The people of Ondo State must be allowed to make their choice freely on March 9 without intimidation and violence.
“The desperation of Governor Akeredolu and APC to gain control of the state by declaring war on the people would be resisted by our members as this state belongs to all of us.”
In his remarks, Lade Fasua, the PDP contesting to represent Akure South Constituency II, said the opposition candidates are ready to resist any attempt by Akeredolu and the APC to manipulate the House of Assembly elections.
“We shall encourage our followers, members of our parties and the people to defend themselves and their votes on March 9. To forestall breakdown of law and order before, during and after the election, we therefore call on all the security agencies in the state, critical stakeholders to call the Governor to order and do everything possible to protect the people of Ondo State and their votes on March 9. The 1983 political violence and its aftermath still linger on; Governor Akeredolu should not set the state on fire because of his desperation,” Fasua said.