By Dirisu Yakubu & Boluwaji Obahopo
FIVE days to the governorship election in Kogi State, hoodlums suspected to be political thugs, yesterday morning, invaded the state secretariat of the Social Democratic Party, SDP and razed it down.
The SDP state secretariat located opposite the Lokoja Local Government Secretariat around Paparanda Square, IBB way had earlier on Sunday been vandalized. The windows and doors were shattered and banners, posters and other campaign materials were destroyed.
Confirming the incident, the state chairman of the party, Mouktar Atima, pointed the accusing finger at the ruling All progressives Congress, APC, for allegedly “releasing their boys to unleash terror on our party.”
Atima said the development was a confirmation of the several threats received recently by the party’s candidate, Natasha Akpoti, who the court, last week ordered INEC to include on the ballot.
He said: “No amount of harassment and destruction will deter the party and it’s Governorship candidate from contesting and winning the Saturday election. We remain undaunted. We appealed to party faithful not to be discouraged over the recent development.”
Contacted, the Kogi State Police Commissioner, Hakeem Busari, said the police were aware of the incident and have commenced investigations to bring the culprits to book.
SDP Governorship Candidate, Bar. Natasha Akpoti who visited the office yesterday morning alleged that there was plan by Governor Yahaya Bello to attack her convoy adding that the unfolding event has affirmed the allegation.
“Is this how we are going to sit-down and watch the illegality of APC in Kogi State? They invaded our party Secretariat with arms, shooting sporadically and destroyed everything and then burnt down the property just because of election. I am calling on President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Chairman of APC Comrade Adams Oshiomole, the Governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Nasir el-Rufai to call Governor Yahaya Bello to order. Why are they supporting illegality in Kogi State?”
SDP can’t be intimidated – Adeniran
Speaking on the issue, National Chairman of SDP, Professor Tunde Adeniran, said his party was poised for victory in the governorship election and would not be intimidated.
Adeniran, a former minister of education and one-time Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, maintained that intimidation from anywhere can’t thwart the triumph of the SDP candidate, Akpoti.
According to Adeniran, some persons who feel threatened by the popularity of Barrister Akpoti and SDP are trying to intimidate the party out of the race to pave way for them to continue to lord it over the citizens of the state.
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“No matter what they do, we are set to win the Kogi governorship election. We are the preferred party. Our candidate is the preferred candidate in the state. We have a good material. Our candidate is very popular and the party is very popular. SDP is the right alternative party to correct the current maladministration in the state. No amount of intimidation can stop our party’s victory,” he said.