THE presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, returned to Lagos last Sunday after emerging his party’s flagbearer in the presidential primaries that took place nearly a fortnight ago at the Eagles Square, Abuja.
The euphoria of his supporters was truncated at the Adeniji-Adele area of Isale Eko as Tinubu, a former governor of the state, departed the palace of the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu. Hoodlums and “area boys”, armed with stones, machetes and other dangerous weapons, attacked his convoy, shattering the windows of the press corps bus and injuring a number of journalists covering the event.
This unfortunate act brought back the memories of the attack on the Oba’s palace during the mayhem that followed the #EndSARS riots in October 2020. Hoodlums had also invaded the royal palace, desecrated it and carted away some of the royal trappings and paraphernalia of the paramount ruler.
Just over a week ago, violent gangs were also mobilised to disrupt and scare away intending voters who gathered to register for their Permanent Voter’s Cards, PVCs, in the Alaba International Market area. Non-indigenes were asked to go to their states and register. This is contrary to the Constitution and the laws which empower all Nigerian citizens with the freedom to vote and be voted for in any part of the country they reside.
The threats of violence by armed gangs have been the strategy used to prevent Nigerians from exercising their franchise on the basis of their non-indigeneship. This was very rampant during the 2019 presidential election in Lagos.
As we start the journey into the campaigns and other activities towards electing new leaders at all levels in 2023, we call on all stakeholders to embrace peace and amity, respect the rights of others and obey all laws guiding the process. This is the only way we can succeed in our search for the leadership which can rescue Nigeria from its current quagmire.
Those who think they can gain some political advantages by deploying violence should know that no one has the monopoly of it. It is easy to start an attack, but no one can predict its outcome.
Nigeria is already bedevilled by different shades of terrorism as posed by Boko Haram, Islamic State in West Africa Province, ISWAP, Ansaru and armed herdsmen attacking churches, killing worshippers and carting away helpless citizens into the wilderness for ransom. Adding political violence to it could doom the country and its 2023 agenda.
We particularly condemn the Tinubu convoy attack because of the threat to the safety of journalists performing their legitimate duties. We call on the law enforcement agencies to apprehend the culprits and bring them to justice.
We say no to political violence.