Governorship Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, OON, has faulted the National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu’s support for President Muhammadu Buhari’s order for soldiers to shoot ballot-box snatchers during the elections.
Accusing Tinubu of being the undisputed godfather of political thugs in Lagos, Agbaje charged APC of being hypocritical with the threat and warned the party not to turn soldiers against the voting public as instruments of intimidation.
The PDP candidate, who accused the ruling APC in the state of being the chief promoter of thugs and violence, said that, rather than pointing fingers, the party should work towards reining in its battery of political thugs and ensuring the forthcoming elections were crisis free.
“It is common knowledge to all residents of the state that the ruling party, APC, is the chief promoter of thuggery and violence in the state. A case in point was when the party flagged off its governorship campaign and APC’s league of thugs turned the event into a bloody killing field, leading to deaths and injuries,” Agbaje said.
In a statement issued by the Jimi Agbaje Campaign Organisation in Lagos on Thursday, Agbaje cautioned the APC chieftain against promoting acts capable of disrupting the smooth conduct of election in the state.
According to Agbaje, the decision of the APC leadership to order the military to kill political thugs could become a tacit cover by the ruling party to tilt the forthcoming polls in the party’s favour.
Tinubu had, while addressing stakeholders in the Lagos State chapter of APC, openly endorsed President Buhari’s order to shoot ballot-box snatchers in the name of safeguarding the nation’s democracy.
Reacting to the report, Agbaje stated that, soldiers had no role to play in elections.
In his own words: “Soldiers are trained to kill. And they may secure the streets and highways during elections as they usually do. But only the police can provide security at the polling areas. No sane patriot who is desirous of progress for this country would condone and support thuggery in whatever form or shape. On the face value, one would be inclined to supporting the order; but with the antecedents of the ruling party, it would be safe to conclude that the call is indeed a smokescreen to use the Military against the opposition nationwide.”
Agbaje said he could not fathom why any politician would support an order to kill electoral offenders.
“That a supposed Democrat is making the call dents whatever claim he has to democratic credentials. I am of the firm belief that no nation resorts to knee-jack solutions to its problems as the ruling party is wont to do. I am aware that our statute books deal with this kind of misbehaviour. Shooting a supposed thug on sight is a resort to jungle justice and represents a gross violation of the rights of the offender to life,” Agbaje said.
According to him, even where such acts of thuggery and ballot-snatching led to the death of innocent people, the perpetrators must be apprehended and due process followed through the instrumentality of the courts.