Ayodele Fayose, the Governor of Ekiti State, says the continued detention of former Jigawa governor, Sule Lamido, and his Niger State counterpart, Babangida Aliyu, has to do with their ambitions to run for president in 2019.
He appealed to the international community and the media to help stop the “regime of harassment of the opposition” by the All Progressives Congress government in order not to truncate the nation’s democracy.
In a statement on Tuesday by his media aide, Lere Olayinka, Mr. Fayose said the action was being perpetrated by the “APC cabal” bent on holding on to power by whatever means.
“It appears that the cabal in the APC led government that is holding Nigerians to ransom want their candidate to contest the 2019 election unopposed,” he said.
“Obviously, that is the reason for the arrest and detention of former Governor of Niger State, Dr Babangida Aliyu and Alhaji Lamido who have shown interest in the presidency.”
He described the reason given by the police for Mr. Lamido’s arrest as “childish and ridiculous”.
“If a former governor is arrested and incarcerated for what they called incitement, what should the police have done to those Fulani herdsmen that have killed thousands of Nigerians across the country?” he asked.
“With the arrest of Alhaji Lamido, the detention of former Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswan since February this year and the arrest and detention of Dr Babangida Aliyu, it is becoming clearer that these APC people will only contest election against themselves in 2019.
“It will even be unnecessary to continue to fund the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) since they don’t want anyone to contest the 2019 presidential election against their party.
“The APC cabal can as well proscribe INEC and declare their party the perpetual ruler of Nigeria instead of wasting money on conduct of elections.”
Reacting to Mr. Fayose’s allegations, the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Babafemi Ojudu, said that the governor was only playing to the gallery.
“He is only seeking relevance and drawing attention to himself,” Mr. Ojudu said. “It think he should be ignored.”