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OBSERVATION: Attacks On Democratic Values

OBSERVATION: Attacks On Democratic Values
  • PublishedFebruary 11, 2022



DEMOCRATIC values are ideas that make a society ideal and prosperous. They include social justice, freedom and fairness, equality before the law, democratic decision making, freedom of speech, free and fair election, rights of minority, and freedom of press, amongst others. Any society that claims to be practicing democracy but put any of these values under assault is being ruled by cruel and vicious autocrats.  Under the watch of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun, a lot of attacks have been unleashed on democratic values. Osun APC is divided into two factions: Ilerioluwa/Famodun and Aregbesola/Salinsile factions. As a result of the power of incumbency that the Ilerioluwa group temporarily holds, it has taken Osun back to dark era where thugs are freely used by the government to attack perceived opposition. Ilerioluwa group has severally sent thugs to attack virtually every political gathering or meeting of The Osun Progressives that metamorphosed into Aregbesola/Salinsile APC faction.

The latest one was attack on Aregbesola campaign office in Osogbo by fully armed thugs on Thursday, February 3, 2022 with an attempt to set the building ablaze. Having directed their gunshots at the building, the thugs concentrated the gunshots on the transformer in front of the building that supplies electricity to it to trigger power surge and inferno. Again, they threw petrol-soaked bread into the building surroundings in an attempt to set it ablaze. This latest attack was the second as same thugs had in November 2021 attacked APC members who were holding meeting in the same building but were repelled by the mammoth crowd at the meeting. Interestingly, this very building was one of the Ilerioluwa campaign offices in Osogbo during Osun 2018 gubernatorial election. 

As at today, the difference between All Progressive Congress (APC) and People Democratic Party (PDP) is six and half a dozen. It is instructive to state that PDP also has its challenges with five aspirants jostling to become candidate of the party but no attack or violence has been exhibited like its conjoin APC twin. Contesting an election presupposes service to the people. The desperation of Ilerioluwa APC faction is an exhibition of desperation to cling to power at all cost. This is a big question mark on democratic credence of ruling APC. In fact, Ilerioluwa faction’s desperation to crush intraparty perceived political opposition may soon lead to blood-letting if care is not taken.  If a faction of a party could be wielding violent attacks on intraparty conflict, what will it exhibit on Election Day? How many thugs will it use in all the polling units across the state? Assuming its thugs cover all the polling units, does it have monopoly of violence? Would its twin sister fold its hands and watch it outsmart it in its professional game? Should the Ilerioluwa caucus continue in its violent re-election pursuit, would Osun voters, who are not blind to all these shenanigans, if only for the sake of peace in the state, make up their minds to pay APC back in its own coin by voting it out on July 16, 2022 gubernatorial election? Yes, voters have power to do so but does it make sense to walk from frying pan to fire? If APC is bad, PDP cannot be an alternative as both are two sides of the same bad coin. Devil cannot be an alternative to evil. This is a challenge for other parties like Action Democratic Party (ADP), Labour Party, etc to buckle up their games; posit and represent an alternative democratic and development paradigm to the present rot. This, they could do by coming out with credible candidates with no blemish; and pro-poor policies and programmes that can better the lives of the people. It is the absence of this third force and multiparty competitiveness that emboldens the powers that be in the two major parties.

 In the run-up to the July 16, 2022 gubernatorial elections in Osun, all security personnel should be on their toes, especially the police. They should not compromise their duty or be seen to be partisan in political activities. They must be so proactive in preventing violent attacks and apprehend anyone who perpetrates them and bring them to full justice. It is unjustifiable for the Police not to have made an arrest of those who carried out an attack against people meeting in Oranmiyan House in November 2021 and another attack on 3rd of February, 2022. If a serving Minister and immediate former governor’s campaign office could be targeted with no arrest made till now, nobody seems to be safe any long. A peaceful Osun has radically transformed into a flourishing arena for thugs, muggers and cultists with impunity. Police are to protect life and property and allay fear of possible attack in the mind of the populace no matter the political affiliation. In the absence of discharging this core responsibility professionally, anarchy will ensue. 

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