Posted by News Express | 1 March 2020 | 399 times
The whereabouts and safety of a frontline politician in Kogi State, Hon joseph Funsho Solomon-Adesanya are a source of fresh worry for his family and associates.
Mr Solomon-Adesanya, a chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party, was last seen in Lagos on November 10, 2019, six days to the November 16, 2019, governorship election in the state.
A family source told our reporter that he left Kogi State for Lagos for his safety on the discovery of plans to arrest and detain subject to political intimidation.
Contrary to initial fears that Solomon-Adesanya was among members of the opposition allegedly arrested or kidnapped by political thugs on the eve of the election, the politician may have been forced to go into hiding for fear of persecution. Election observers that monitored the election alluded to the bitter rivalry between the two major political parties, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and declared the election as most violent and controversial in the state’s history. Incumbent Governor Yahaya Bello was declared winner of the election by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). 10 persons were confirmed dead in the aftermath of the violent polls, the 10th being the post-election killing of a women leader of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kogi East, Mrs. Acheju Abuh, who was burnt alive in her home in Ochadamu Ward.
The killing was later attributed to a reprisal following reports of initial incidence during which one life was lost. The Nigeria Bar Association Election Working Group (NBAEWG), Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and Socio-Economic Research and Development Centre (SERDEC) condemned the conduct of the election.
The NBAEWG noted that, “in the light of the large scale acts of violence, disruptions of the electoral process, snatching of electoral material by armed persons some of whom were dressed in police uniform, coupled with sporadic gunshots that scared voters away from voting centres, as observed by the NBA EWG, the election in Kogi State failed to meet the minimum standard of a credible election.”
The PDP on November 11, 2019, had raised the alarm that a list of its members had been drawn across the state for arrest over spurious allegations.
It accused the ruling party of being behind the plans to arrest, detain and eliminate its members ahead of the election calling for the intervention of the heads of security agencies and President Muhammadu Buhari.
The ruling APC denied the allegation. However, a retired Navy Commodore and former member, House of Assembly, Mopamuro Constituency, Honourable Folusho Daniel in a widely reported statement last November, was quoted as saying that “the election brought to the fore the level of man’s inhumanity to man in pursuit of ambition, greed and power.”
Daniel, a PDP chieftain lamented: “I have lived over six decades now and I have witnessed many elections but I have never seen this type. The lives that have been lost will never vote again. Some are nursing permanent physical and emotional injuries that will live with them for the rest of their lives on account of that election.
Some are still in detention for no just causes than a desire to express their will in an election that should be free and fair. My personal experience was not palatable.
I was chased and trailed all about and everywhere like a common criminal for arrest and detention. For many days I kept sleeping in different locations to evade arrests and detention. “My only crime was that I wanted to follow my conscience and my inalienable and constitutional immunity to the free choice of my preferred candidate in the election. The Kogi Poll has cast thick, dark and ominous clouds on the psyche and conscience of the people. It was not an election but war against the people.
“It was by divine intervention that some of us were not killed. Some others who were not so lucky are either in the mortuary now or newly buried while the luckier ones are nursing one injury or another or escaped to other climes away from the comfort of their families. May the souls of those killed in this election rest in peace.”
Hon Funso Solomon-Adesanya, whose father Pa Solomon Gbadebo was an active member of the defunct Action Group (AG) in Lagos during Nigeria’s First Republic is believed to have fled his hometown, Egbe, Yagba West Local Government for Lagos on November 10 2019, following a tip that he was marked for intimidation or kidnap by political thugs in military uniform.
His wife, Mrs Alice Iyabo Solomon-Adesanya told our reporter that her husband is in touch with the family but would not speak further about his destination. The family source who does not want his name mentioned pointed to the bitter experience of another victim, Mr. Alex Ayodele, a PDP leader who was arrested from his Mopamoro country home two days to the election Ayodele was one of the 32 persons reportedly arrested from Mopamoro on the eve of the election.
Upon his release from custody in December 2019, the embattled Ayodele, a businessman and hotelier told a national daily of his ordeal in the hands of those he said were in police uniform without tags or name as an act of political intimidation.
“Over 20 fake police came to my house and said they want to conduct a check. Then they took us through Okene Road instead of Obajana Road to one filling station in Itakpe. They dropped us there where I was tortured while lying flat on the floor.
“The filling station was not in use. They were beating me with armoured cable.” Spokesperson of Governor Yahaya Bello, Mr. Kingsley Fanwo had exonerated the government. He said security agencies were doing their job without any form of interference from the government. (Vanguard)
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