In the final preparations to host President Muhammadu Buhari and leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the party’s presidential campaign in Lagos on Saturday, State APC has deployed thugs to destroy posters and banners of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on major highways in the state. National Daily survey discovered that thugs were deployed to different locations in the state from the Third Mainland Bridge, to Ikorodu, Ikeja and its environs, unto Surulere and others, to remove the posters and billboards of PDP, the main challenging opposition political party in the state.
The ruling party carried out the exercise to put up the pretense before the visiting President Buhari that Lagos is completely an APC state and no other major political party has stronghold in the state.
However, some stakeholders and political actors in Lagos have protested that the action is sheer intimidation of PDP, and unnecessary political violence against the leading opposition party. Certain APC governors have openly intimidated the PDP during the 2019 electioneering campaigns. Governor Abdulahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State, for instance, closed down the two major stadia in the state to deny the PDP Presidential candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, venue for the party’s presidential campaign in the state.
Also, Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State last Tuesday issued death threat to foreign observers assigned to monitor the general elections in Nigeria which will commence next Saturday.
While on courtesy visit in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to advocate for peaceful and credible elections, EU Ambassador to Nigeria, Ketil Karlson, had cautioned politicians against violence during the election. The EU Envoy had acknowledged that EU has been observing elections in Nigeria since 1999, warning that the 2019 elections will not be different.
The US Ambassador to Nigeria, W. Stuart Symington, also on similar visit to Nasarawa State, cautioned that Nigerian politicians must be responsible for their utterances during the electoral processes.
Moreover, luxury and smaller commercial buses have been arriving Lagos overnight bringing in people in their hundreds from different parts of the country for the Saturday presidential campaign. There is rising apprehension whether these people brought in from outside the state would depart as soon as the campaign is over or would they stay behind. Again, this is generating tension of security risk in Lagos during and after the general elections.
The Lagos State Government on Friday announced that there will be no closure of roads on Saturday because of the APC presidential rally. This made the influx of people from outside the state facile since Friday into the early hours of Saturday.
Besides, in the early hours of Saturday Lagos residents were finding it difficult to access Carter Bridge and Eko Bridge into the Island from the Surulere end through Costain or the Apapa end through Ijora.
However, all is set to host President Buhari this Saturday for the APC grand presidential campaign in Lagos.
Political thugs have also been mobilized from parts of the state to troop to the campaign venue, while APC leaders devoted substantial budget to purchase brooms fro the thugs.