By Dapo Akinrefon
LAGOS—THE Jimi Agbaje Campaign Organisation, yesterday, frowned at the vandalisation of its over 3,000 billboards and campaigns material by suspected thugs just as it accused the All Progressives Congress, APC, of using state powers to intimidate the opposition.
In a statement by Modupe Ogunbayo, spokesperson of the campaign organisation, titled: Unlawful removal of campaign posters, party signs and other material from the 3rd Mainland bridge, the organisation described the move as undemocratic and ill-motived to ensure there is no level playing field.
The statement reads: “The issues surrounding intimidation and undemocratic practices ahead of the 2019 general elections have again come to the fore. Specifically, the clandestine methods of removing campaign posters and political party signs of the People’s Democratic Party’s, PDP, governorship candidate in Lagos State- Mr. Jimi Agbaje, have confirmed the APC ill-motived to ensure that there is no level-playing field.
”As members of the public know, the PDP has on several occasions been victims at barbaric attacks of miscreants who have vandalised no less than 3,000 billboards and campaign materials in prime areas such as the 3rd Mainland bridge; and have also enjoyed continued support from members of the ruling APC. The support received in the execution of these unlawful acts from the government led by the APC is evidenced by the surreptitious release of culprits, without sanction, including officials within the Lagos State Structures for Signage and Advertisement Agency, LASAA, apprehended in the past in relation to these crimes.
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This has led to an increase in these unlawful activities, which have now been reported to be prevalent in over 35 constituencies across Lagos State. Is this how the APC intends to conduct elections – by stifling the opposition?
Despite the best efforts of the Lagos State Police Commissioner towards thwarting these illegal activities, members of the ruling APC have devised other surreptitious strategies all in an attempt to silence and emasculate any opposition to their “anointed” candidate for the position of governor of Lagos State. The continued use of state apparatus and resources to fund the political campaign of the APC’s candidate and the excessive use of federal might in a local election are few out of the many instances of the ruling party’s arbitrary exercise of state power. Lagosians will not be cowed. The people of Lagos State would not be intimidated.
”These acts of the ruling party are akin to a dictatorship aimed at oppressing law-abiding members of the PDP who do not possess the political might and/or the financial exuberance of the APC.”
Reacting, the Publicity Secretary of APC in Lagos State, Mr. Joe Igbokwe said: “If the PDP is not ready for campaigns, they should disband their campaign organisation. We have made it clear that we don’t need any help to win the 2019 governorship election. There is no opposition in Lagos State; we have not seen anything to show that they are ready for this election; all we hear is the blame game. Please ignore them, let them go to the fields to campaign.”