A group of stakeholders, Kogi East Patriotic Association, have urged the governorship candidate of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Alhaji Murtala Ajaka to rein in his supporters to shun violence, saying it is capable of disenfranchising voters in the zone.
Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday on the allegation of attempted assassination by Ajaka, Convener of the group, Abdulkadir Ojonugwa, counseled the SDP governorship candidate to embrace peace before, during and after the November 11 poll.
Ojonugwa, who said violence may work against serious contenders from Kogi East, accused Ajaka of needless and reckless propaganda.
They said nothing should be allowed to threaten security of Kogi State.
The stakeholders, who said they were not campaigning for any candidate in the forthcoming governorship election, noted that Kogi State indigenes and Nigerians were aware that other candidates from opposition parties have been going about their campaigns without bloodshed or violence.
In their view, the SDP and its candidate should emulate these candidates.
“We have never had a governorship candidate like the SDP candidate, Muritala Yakubu, in the history of Kogi State politics.
“His handlers are also as clueless and have failed to realise that while elections would go on smoothly in other parts of the state and others would record more wins, their gameplan would only decimate the votes in Kogi East at the detriment of serious contenders. And we say no to this. Enough is enough,” he said.
They accused the SDP of creating tension in the region while its leaders refuse to honour Police invitations.
Ojonugwa, who hails from Olamaboro Council, said: “Our people are getting fed up with all these violent shenanigans and if the Police and the state government refuse to do the needful, the people of Kogi East will have no choice than to take their destiny in their hands.”
On the Police officer in the purported video of assault, the stakeholders said: “The Police officer seen in that video would have been made to say things under duress to save his own life because that was the only way that man could still be alive today.
“We could hear clearly as the thugs were shouting to be allowed to kill a police officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria inside a Police Station and turning around to blame all that on the state government.”
Ojonugwa added: “As bona-fide citizens of Kogi State from Kogi East, it is our desire to see a peaceful and credible election in our dear state. We have been monitoring developments in the state since the beginning of the campaign for the Kogi State governorship election and the trend of campaign of ethnic divisionism and violence has not escaped our attention.
“Our sense of urgency in arranging for this emergency Press Conference was further heightened by the violence we witnessed in Kogi State whereby a senior Police officer was almost lynched allegedly by the thugs of the Social Democratic Party under the spurious claims that he was involved in an attack against the convoy of Mr Murtala Ajaka.
“First, we must call on the highest authorities of the Nigeria Police to swiftly arrest all individuals who were involved in that dastardly act. If you watch that video closely, you will hear some people shouting ‘let us kill this idiot. You will die today’ and so on. And to think that they succeeded in gaining access inside the Idah Police station and almost succeeded in killing that Police Officer inside the Police station was more than scary and so unfathomable.
“SDP has perfected the means of engaging in propaganda to blame every violence it orchestrates on the state’s government, but every Kogite no longer buys the story. What happened was a stage-managed bloody violence scripted by thugs”
The stakeholders added that no matter the alleged “evil propaganda and lies manufactured daily”, Kogi East votes had already been dedicated to those deserving of the votes.
”Even amongst us in Igala land, we know who we can trust. But we’re not here to campaign for anybody, but to warn those whose stock in trade is orchestrating violence and playing the victim that they can’t put all of us at risk because of their unpopular ambition.
“We stand for peace, justice and credible election on November 11 and whoever will make that impossible must be caged by security agents before that time. The continued security, peace and prosperity of Kogi State is our ultimate desire and we will do everything to make it happen.
“We condemn politics of ethnic bigotry and violence in all ramifications. We are educated, knowledgeable and reasonable people in Kogi East and we will not tolerate dishonorable conduct from any politician even if he is our brother or sister.”