By Lateef Adegbite
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the All Progressive Congress, APC , governor of Lagos state who had re-contested the March 18, governorship election in the state and won, may have to convince the international community that he did not win through electoral violence allegedly masterminded by one Musiliu Akinsanya, popular, MC. Oluomo, Chairman , Lagos Park and Management Committee.
Ouomo, according to informed sources, who had known his antecedents since 199, and who knew him as an ally of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former governor of the state and the All Progressive Congress, APC, Presidential Candidate for the 2he February 25, 2023, election, to carry out his bidding had won the election, beating the likes of Atiku Abubakar , of the Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and Peter Obi of the Labour party, LP, to it.
The attack on the Igbo residents at the Abule –ado and Nwafuribe Chukwudiegwu , areas of the nation’s commercial nerve centre state by the Oluomo trained Area boys, popular, Agberos, as they are called in the city was said to have been on before the 2023 general election but had intensified after the February 25, 2023,Presidential election and on Sunday, March 19, 2023, a day after the governorship polls in the state.
The attack on the Igbo residents was so pronounced that some aggrieved individuals who could not sit by and watch the Ibos being maltreated by the Agberos in the guise of politics took to the streets carrying placards bearing ‘’leave the, Igbos alone, we are peaceful, we want a country of equity and justice, it is our right to vote, No Igbo contested in the election in the state and the votes are not Igbos’’. Some of the placards sighted by The Value News further reads ‘’we buy lands from the people, build our houses, we pay rent in our shops to do our business, including our rented houses’’.
Some of thehe intimidated Igbo residents at the Abule Aado axis of the state believe that the Agberos, could not have the audacity to attack them if the security agencies personnel in and powers that be in the state have not turned’’ eyes right’’ to pretend as if they don’t know what they are doing.
The unrest in the troublesome Abule Ado, Nawfuribe Chukwudiegwu axis and other parts of the state may have attracted the attention of of Idowu Owoohunwa, the state Commissioner of Police, CP, who was said to have deployed his men to the scene to calm the situation but that was How far he could go. The police Commissioner had said that that they had anticipated such attacks , which had informed why the state Police Command had deployed ‘’multiple teams to respond in the fastest manner political thuggery in the state’’.
Recall that prior to the governorship and state House of Assembly elections, Abiodun Alabi, the immediate CP, in the state had waned that the Command would be ‘’tougher on cultists and political thugs’’. The then CP, of the state was said to have issued the warning during a security meeting involving the police and other security agencies Chiefs in the state, including the electoral umpire officials as well as the 18 Political parties jostling for power in the state. He was said to have called on the parties governorship Candidates , ‘’to warn their supporters against heating up the polity, urging them to shun political thuggery , otherwise ‘’the Law will take care of them’’.
Alabi, the then CP, of Lagos state was said to have made it clear to the political gladiators that’’ there would be no room for thuggery in the state’’, stating that ‘’the Police will not allow anybody to disrupt the elections’’.
Appealing to Lagosians to inform the Police of ‘’the presence of cultists or trouble makers in their areas in order to take immediate action, noting that policemen are not magicians to know what is happening in every part of the state.
The promotion of the former Lagos CP, to the enviable rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG, in charge of Zone 2, with Headquarters in Lagos, and which paved the way for the redeployment of cp.Owohunwa, to the state last February by Usman Alkali Bababa, the Inspector General of Police. This may have informed why the political thuggery, during and after, the Presidential and governorship elections in the state did not get out of hand.
But the North American country of the United States, US, diplomatic mission Observers, in Nigeria, during the governorship election in the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tnubu, popular, Jagaban, the President –elect, home state, may have been forced the mission to speak out against ‘’the disturbing acts of violence , voter intimidation and suppression of the Igbo residents in the state , during and after the March 18, governorship election , describing the situation as ‘’particularly concerning’’.
Members of the US Diplomatic mission had said that they could speak out authoritatively about the just concluded L governorship election in the state because they had witnessed ‘’some of these incidents first hand’’. Angered by what they saw at the Lagos state governorship and state Assembly polls, may have encouraged the mission to call on the Authorities ‘’to hold accountable and bring to justice the individuals found to have ordered and carried out the plans to intimidate voters and suppress voting during the election process.
The US. Diplomatic mission Observers was said to have also ’’renewed its call for any challenges to the election results in the state to go through the established legal process in the country, that must not be interfered with’’ by the Authorities.
The members of the US. Diplomatic mission, who could not hide its feelings may have thrown their weight on all the Nigerian political actors , religious and Community Leaders, Youth Organisations and the citizenry, who had rejected and condemned such violence and inflammatory language, in the state during and after the elections.This is bad news for the political gladiators , both at the state and Federal levels as they find it hard to get the US , VISA, now , going by the US impression of the Last governorship polls in Lagos and other states of the Federation that are marred by electoral violence.
President Joe Biden may have sent a message to his Nigerian counterpart, President Muhammadu Buhari, who believes that the election was ‘’free, fair and transparent’’, that the US, government will consider all the available actions, including ‘’ additional VISA restrictions on the individuals believed to be responsible for or complicit in, undermining the democratic process in Nigeria.