The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has said that the Peoples Democratic Party and Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, are afraid of the July 14, governorship election because of their past misdeeds and have resorted to panicky measures in their desperation to win.
Oshiomhole said this on Friday at the national headquarters of the party in Abuja during his maiden news briefing.
He said both Fayose and his party were afraid that the rigging machinery they deployed against former Governor Kayode Fayemi, now the candidate of the APC for the poll, during the election that brought Fayose into office, would also be deployed against them by the APC.
Oshiomhole said: “We all know that Fayose was rigged into office.
“And this is no secret because the military officers involved have since confessed to the roles they played as well as those involved in the dollars that were withdrawn from the NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
“These are no secrets anymore.
“I think that Fayose thinks that the very instrument he used to come to power will be used against him.
“This is a party of change and so we are not about to copy the darkest side of the PDP.
“If he is not afraid of being rigged out, why is he collecting PVC (Permanent Voter Cards) from registered voters and giving queries to people for refusing to surrender their PVC?
“Why is he harassing heads of institutions and directing lecturers to award 20 per cent free marks to any student that votes for his candidate?
“While I have respect for anybody who occupies the office of the governor, I think honestly that Fayose enjoys lying.
“But the truth is that he is haunted by the ghost of the forces he used to capture power because he didn’t win the last election.”
Oshiomhole also accused Fayose and PDP of intimidating workers in the state to surrender their voter cards.
He said the governor had ordered civil servants, teachers and other categories of workers in the state to surrender their PVCs, adding that those who refused to surrender their cards had been queried by the government.
He also alleged that the governor had directed lecturers in institutions of higher learning in the state to award free 20 marks to students who vote for his candidate, adding that since Fayose has never won a free and fair election, he thinks that the process that brought him to office would be used against him.
He said: “I believe that the people of Ekiti State are very much aware of what the issues are.
“There is no better evidence of how prepared we are than the fact that the PDP is panicking.
“You must have read reports that in clear violation of the Electoral Act, Governor Fayose has instructed civil servants, principals of schools, headmasters to retrieve PVC from civil servants because he is afraid that the civil servants and the people of Ekiti State will not vote for him and in demonstration of that, they are helping to educate the people on why they should not vote for his candidate.
“He has not paid salaries for one year in spite of the fact that the Federal Government gave him bailout, which he chose to divert to other uses.
“So, they are panicking.
“And while we are encouraging people to collect PVC, he is retrieving PVC.
“We heard that they have started issuing query to workers, including teachers, for refusing to surrender their PVC.
“I don’t think you need any other evidence that the governor is panicking and we can’t wait to have him swept away in a free and fair election on the basis of one man, one vote, one woman, one vote.
“Secondly, you are all witnesses to the fact that we have conducted elections in the South West.
“In Osun State, we went for the senatorial election and our party lost and they won.
“We didn’t complain about rigging because we felt that the people preferred (Senator Ademola) Adeleke.
“We also went for election in Anambra, and when the governor complained that his security were withdrawn, the President (Muhammadu Buhari) ordered that they be reinstated immediately.
“We lost that election to APGA (All Progressives Grand Alliance).
“We went for an election in Bayelsa State and one of the President’s loyalist was a candidate and he lost.
“For us, PDP rigging machine is not what we want to copy.
“What we have done is to dismantle it.
“What Fayose can complain about is that he was never used to winning an election on the basis of merit.
“His first time, he hid under the then President’s do or die election approach to win and, of course, the same President supervised his impeachment.
“Now, he must learn to win election by persuading the people.
“Why should a ruling party hold its rally by the roadside so that you can manipulate the crowd?”
Reacting to the claims by Fayose that the Federal Government closed the Akure Airport in Ondo State to deny PDP leaders the opportunity to attend the rally, Oshiomhole said the governor was crying wolf as nothing of such happened as governors and leaders of the PDP freely landed and took off from the airport with their private jets.
He also dismissed the claims that APC was trying to manipulate the Independent National Electoral Commission to rig the election in their favour.
He said: “Fayose said people were not allowed to fly into Akure airport, but our people have been there to produce a tape of how PDP governors and non-governors littered Akure airport with private jets.
“He has gone ahead to say that INEC wants to rig him out.
“Every armed robber thinks that every other person is an armed robber.
“If there is any political party that is on record as having consistently colluded with INEC, it is the PDP.
“I am an apostle of one man, one vote.
“I rely on my sole power of persuasion and mobilization and dismantled PDP machinery in Edo State without firing a bullet.
“We came from the background of people winning election without relying on federal instrument and so don’t need any reinforcement to do what we know best.
“We will ensure that the rules of the game are obeyed.
“We have no apology for the fact that this time, Fayose will run on his records and will not be able to use those instruments he used before.
“If that is what he called rigging, too bad.
“We have seen a consistent pattern by the PDP that when elections are approaching, they will be shouting rigging, rigging while they are perfecting the act of rigging themselves.
“What we have brought on board as the new NWC of the APC is how to monitor and ensure that the rigging machine of the PDP is completely dismantled.”
On the call that a vote for Fayemi is a vote for herdsmen, Oshiomhole said: “Fayemi was Governor in Ekiti State and there were herdsmen when he was governor and he was able to bring leadership to bear and involved the stakeholders.
“The truth is that we all need each other.
“So, when people resort to bringing in those divisive messages, it tells you how bereft of ideas they are.
“And with that coming from a man who called himself a professor, then I said no wonder that most professors are not successful in politics.
“I thought that as a professor, you will have a much richer message.
“When I watch him saying that a vote for Kayode is a vote for herdsmen, I said poor professor.
“The message I want to pass across is that Kayode Fayemi is not a stranger to Ekiti Government House, and when he was there, he knew how to manage everyone.
“Why is Fayose not able to manage that?”