Obanikoro justifies soldiers deployment to Osun, say Ekiti election was freer than 1993 polls

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
Aug 9th, 2014
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Senator-Musiliu-Obanikoro dp1The Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, on Saturday defended the Federal Government’s decision to involve military in the Osun State governorship election.

Speaking while addressing journalists in Ibadan, he explained that soldiers were drafted to Osun to maintain peace and orderliness during the election.

The minister, who described the soldiers as professionals, equally appreciated the importance of violent free election.

“Our interest is having a free and fair election, which President Jonathan and we his disciples believe in. If the military had not been drafted to Osun’s election, blood would have been flowing there.

“The soldiers there are highly professionals and they are there to see to a crisis and violent free election. The whole idea is to create a conducive atmosphere for a free and fair election, and President Goodluck Jonathan should be commended for this.

“You, gentlemen of the press can see me in Ibadan live and direct today (Saturday). As you too see, I am not in Osun ‘talkless’ of being part of the election there”, he said.

He further accused the APC of importing thugs into the state.

“We had election in Edo where military was involved and Adams Oshiomole won. APC did not complain. Recently, we had Ekiti election where PDP won. And people adjudged the election to be free and fair.

“APC leaders should learn to be good losers. But they want to be winning all the time. In life, sometime, you win and sometime, you loose. But for APC , they want to be winners always.

“We should not lose lives because of election. Our people should not be traumatised because of election if truly we want to serve our people. It is rather unfortunate that some people see election as a do or die affair.

“A leader who is preaching violence cannot tell me that he is not the one behind recruitment of thugs for violence. But we held election in Ekiti. There were observers there and people said the election was free and fair.

“Even June 12 (1993) election cannot be compared with what was recorded in Ekiti election in terms of turn out of electorate for the election and in terms of being free and fair. If we are able to sustain what is on ground in terms of ensuring peaceful and violent free election, PDP will win future elections”, Obanikoro said.

On the activities of insurgents (Boko Haram) and the fears that these might affect the 2015 general election, Obanikoro maintained that government had the capacity to deal with the situation, adding however that fight against terrorism was a general fight that should not be left in the hands of government alone.

“Fight against terror is not a conventional fight and it is not a 100 meter race. It is a marathon race that requires efforts of all.

“Government has the capacity to deal with the situation but I will advise all Nigerians to be security conscious and report any unusual movement or development in their areas to security operatives”, he said.

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