By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA- In compliance with the directive by its National Working Committee (NWC), members and supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday marched peacefully to the National Assembly and the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) demanding amongst others, the conduct of free, fair and credible governorship poll in Ekiti State on Saturday.
Led by the national chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus and other members of the NWC, the procession took off at the Legacy House as youths and women sang in solidarity with the party.
Placards bearing various messages such as “Buhari, stop intimidating Nigerians,” “This is not the democracy we voted for,” “Buhari, you are not God,” among others, were displayed by the protesters who conducted themselves in orderly fashion much to the admiration of security personnel on hand to forestall a breakdown of law and order.
At the entrance gate to the federal parliament where the protesters were received by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, former Ministers of Aviation and Women Affairs, Kema Chikwe and Josephine Anenih respectively were on hand to coordinate the women as they sang the famous song, “I have decided” swapping PDP for Jesus and concluding with “No turning back.”
Presenting a letter of protest to Ekweremadu, Secondus said the leadership of the PDP decided to bring to the notice of the National Assembly what he called the assault on democracy in Ekiti State.
“We have come to notify our lawmakers that democracy is under threat. Only yesterday (Wednesday), the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose was assaulted, harassed and pushed to the ground. The All Progressives Congress (APC) has not only place democracy under threat in Nigeria but throughout the world.
“We are aware of a civilian coup in Ekiti but all we are saying is that we don’t want elections to be rigged. The international community is watching what the security agencies and INEC will do on Saturday. We demand free and fair elections because anything short of this is a recipe for disaster.
“We are not intimidated and we won’t be cowed,” he said, warning that there may be no elections should there be a compromise of the will of Ekiti people on Saturday.
Receiving the letter, Ekweremadu promised the cooperation of the leadership of the National Assembly to look into the issues raised in the letter even as he admonished security agents to play by the rules at all times.
According to him, the parliament would make contact with INEC and the Police to ensure the conduct of free polls, beginning on Saturday with the conduct of governorship election in Ekiti state.
“All the issues raised in your petition will be looked into by the leadership of the National Assembly. We are going to make contacts with INEC and the police and we are going to do everything possible to make sure that there is free and fair elections,” Ekweremadu pledged.
From the National Assembly, the protesters marched on to INEC headquarters where one of its national commissioners, Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola received the party’s petition on behalf of the commission.