LAYI OLANREWAJU, Ilorin
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the Kwara South senatorial district, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, has been arrested by the state police command over alleged involvement in political clash.
The clash occurred among supporters of the PDP and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ojoku ward in Oyun Local Government Area of the state last Tuesday, where two persons reportedly lost their lives.
Meanwhile, the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) in the state has condemned the arrest of the PDP senatorial candidate, describing it as unlawful and an alleged clampdown on opposition figures in the state by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal government in connivance with security agencies.
Speaking with journalists in Ilorin on Friday, the chairman of the CNPP in the state, Alhaji Adebayo Lawal, said that the arrest was part of an alleged plot to scuttle the electoral process in Kwara State and subvert the will of the people.
“Barely 24 hours to the Saturday’s presidential and national assembly elections, officers of the Nigeria Police Force, who were visibly acting on the orders of the presidency, forcefully arrested and detained Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, the senator representing Kwara South senatorial district, and the candidate of the PDP for the election. Up till this moment, Senator Rafiu, who is a major contender for Kwara South senatorial district election like our other candidates, is yet to be released.
Similarly, in the past few days, more than 20 members of different opposition parties in the State have been indiscriminately arrested by security agencies and taken to unknown destinations up to the time of making this release. This is a repeat of what happened during last year’s bye-election in Irepodun/Oke-Ero/Isin/Ekiti federal constituency, where top members of the PDP and opposition parties were unlawfully arrested on the eve of the election.
“We have received information that the high hierarchy of the police has ordered that Senator Rafiu Ibrahim must not be released, which is a deliberate ploy to keep him out of circulation before and during the elections. This is unacceptable, unlawful, undemocratic and a primitive show of power by a party that is well-known for abuse of power, federal institutions and flouting of court orders with impunity. The desperation of the APC to win elections at all costs portends great danger for our nascent democracy.
“It is unfortunate that a serving lawmaker who is loved by his people for his sterling performance in the Senate can be subjected to this kind of inhumane treatment on the unsubstantiated accusation from the APC. If the peace-loving Senator Rafiu Ibrahim is clamped upon in this manner, our other candidates are also prone to such flagrant abuse of power. There is no feasible evidence to show that the detained senator had any connection with Tuesday’s political attack in Ojoku, which happens to be his hometown. We are not saying that the security agents should not do their jobs, but to choose the eve of the general elections to detain a strong contender is portraying the security agencies as being partisan to the clear advantage of the candidate of the APC. To assume that the lawmaker could have engineered violence against his own town and people is in the least untenable. Attempts to link him to the fracas are political and unfortunate.
“Few weeks ago, when we raised the alarm over the planned crackdown on members of opposition parties in Kwara by the APC-led FG, some cohorts of the APC dismissed it as a false alarm. But we have been vindicated now as we all are now witnesses to what is going on in the state right now. We condemn the use of state security by the APC to harass and intimidate innocent opposition members all in the name of politics and desperate bid to scheme out other candidates in favour of the candidates of the APC. This is a shameful display of state power.”