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Guber polls: Obasanjo storms Lagos

Posted by By DIPO KEHINDE, CHRIS ANUCHA, MUYIWA OYNILOLA (Lagos) MURPHY GANAGANA (Abuja) on 2007/04/13 | Views: 8342 |

Guber polls: Obasanjo storms Lagos


President Olusegun Obasanjo played out his vow of the general elections as a do-or-die affair with his relocation on Thursday to Lagos and last minute campaign rallies across the nationís economic capital.

President Olusegun Obasanjo played out his vow of the general elections as a do-or-die affair with his relocation on Thursday to Lagos and last minute campaign rallies across the nationís economic capital.

The presidentís action, perceived as a desperation bid to capture Lagos, which had eluded the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since 1999, came on the heels of apparent crackdown on opposition figure and naked use of state security apparati to hunt down opponents.

In Lagos, many chieftains of the Action Congress (AC) ruling the state have gone into hiding, amid a wave of indiscriminate arrests and detention by security agencies under the guise of mopping the state of political thugs.

Reports from across the federation indicate a similar trend. For instance, the AC last night expressed outrage at the mass arrest and incarceration of its candidates and supporters throughout the country "over spurious and unfounded charges by security agencies."

In Osun, the partyís governorship candidate, Rauf Aregbesola and many of his supports were detained, while in Kwara, more than a thousand party-men were reportedly hauled into police cell. Also two seven lawmakers and party chiefs were arrested in Gombe and Ekiti States and moved to Abuja. Chief Michael Koleosho an AC leader in Oyo is being held. In Lagos, Governor Bola Tinubu confirmed the arrest of his Chief Security Officer and Chief detail, describing it as arm twisting ploy that would take Nigeria back to the June 12 scenario.

Besides, Rev James Odumbaku, the chairman AC campaign committee and other top government officers went underground to evade arrest.
Tension, which the intense political manouvres generated, snowballed into a violent clash between supporters of AC and PDP last night at the popular Oshodi, learning at least two persons dead and scores of others injured.

The president, while in Lagos, took his campaign train to Alapere, Alimoso and Ajegunle, blaming Governor Bola Tinubu for perceived infrastructural decay in the state.
"What has happened in Lagos over the years is a shame," Obasanjo said, adding "itís not that they donít have money in Lagos, they misappropriate it. The money in Lagos is enough to make Lagos a state of pride.

"Lagos is a special case. Lagos is a special city and as such, it must be given special attention. It is the only city in Nigeria that is the immediate past federal capital. When we were planning to relocate it to Abuja, we knew that the Federal Government would still need to make input into the state.
"So, when we came in eight years ago, we told the Lagos Government to work with the Federal Governent, and they said no, hence, the deterioration of the infrastructure of the state."
Just as the president was campaigning for votes for PDPís standard bearer Musiliu Obanikoro, in the Abesan, Alimoso area at about 6.30p.m. the partyís supporters squared up to their AC counterparts in another part of the city, Oshodi, in a violent encounter, which left two persons dead and many others injured.

Daily Sun gathered that trouble started when members of the AC were embarking on a house-to-house campaign and were challenged by thugs believed to be supporters of AC.
According to eyewitness accounts, thugs who were armed to the teeth shot sporadically, forcing motorists and residents of the area to run for dear life. The victims were said to have been shot during the mayhem.

Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Olubode Ojajumi a Superintendent of Police, said some hoodlums had tried to foment trouble. Area ĎFí Commander, Mr Habala Joshak quickly mobilized his men and put the situation under control.
Daily Sun also learnt that there was another clash in Ogba area of the metropolis between supporters of PDP and AC.

Meanwhile, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Bashiru Azeez has ordered his men to arrest all thugs in the them all up so that peace would reign during tomorrowís elections.
The Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of zone 7 command, Mrs Ivy Okoronkwo also ordered police officers and men at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Niger and Kaduna States command to arrest anyone without lawful authority found within a distance of 300 metres of a polling station during the polls.

Asked how his men would be able to tell who is a thug and who is not, the Lagos CP said: "Weíll identify them through intelligence reports."
The State Security Service (SSS) also warned politicians in Lagos that they will face the wrath of the agency if they sponsor political thugs.
While addressing his officers and reporters at the officers mess, Ikeja, Azeez said: "All identified political thugs must be picked up. IG says he has a place he could keep them."

The commissioner of police raised alarm on the number of illegal arms in the hands of politicians and he told his men to raid wherever the suspects are and recover the arms and ammunition in their hands. He also urged his men to abide by the provisions of the electoral and the public order act.

The director of SSS, Lagos command, Mr Reuben Amao, however, told reporters at a news conference in the state that his command had repositioned to guarantee the state security.
Amao said that his men had already compiled a dossier on politicians who were planning to sabotage the elections

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.