Standard-bearer of Lagos State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the next gubernatorial election, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, has raised the alarm over the persistent methods of removal of his campaign posters and political party signs, which he blamed on the agents of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
He claimed that the practice, which has been on since campaign for the 2019 gubernatorial election started, obviously confirmed APC’s ill-motive and desperation to ensure that there is no level playing field.
In an interaction with The Guardian, Agbaje said PDP has on several occasions been the victim at the barbaric hands of miscreants, who have vandalized no fewer than 3,000 billboards and campaign materials in prime areas such as the Third Mainland Bridge; and have also enjoyed continued support from members of the ruling APC.
According to him: “The support received in the execution of these unlawful acts from the APC is evidenced by the surreptitious release of culprits, without sanction, including officials within the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA), apprehended recently in relation to the crimes.
“This has led to an increase in the unlawful activities, which have now been reported to be prevalent in over 35 constituencies across the state. “Is this how the APC intends to conduct elections – by stifling the opposition?”
The PDP candidate expressed displeasure that despite the best efforts of the Lagos State police commissioner towards thwarting these illegal activities “members of 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. The continued use of state apparatus and resources to fund the political campaign and that of their candidate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu 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.”
Agbaje affirmed that neither his party nor the electorate could be cowed by the antics of the ruling party, which campaign materials are currently everywhere as if there are no other contestants. He said, “In a true democracy, one of the core tenets is the existence of a level playing field for every party without fear or favour.
Every citizen should be afforded the opportunity to consider the alternatives and not to be forced into making a decision. The acts by the ruling party are akin to a dictatorship aimed at oppressing the law-abiding members of the PDP who do not possess the political might and or the financial exuberance of APC.”
He, therefore, urged the electorate to stand against any form of tyranny as the election approaches, saying this is the best time to deliver the state from the shackles of bondage and ensure freedom to its people who have been held down under the whims and caprices of select individuals who have monopolized its resources and accumulated public funds for their private benefit.