By Oyewale Oyelola
Kwara State Government on Tuesday banned political processions and street rallies as part of measures to prevent reoccurrence of political related violence witnessed in Ilorin, the capital last week.
It’s no longer news that the violent attacks claimed one person life, injured many Innocent kwarans and resulted to damage of multi million naira properties including houses and vehicles. Some miscreants also took advantage of the violence to loot shops and dispose people of personal effects.
Although, political possessions, street rallies, campaigns, public awareness and other activities are integral part of electioneering process as well as constitutional right of the citizens but the freedom should not be at the expense of public peace and safety.
For the sake of clarity, Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed does not outlaw political campaigns but only ban street rallies and possessions to ensure safety of Kwarans across the state.
Governor Ahmed during the state broadcast said: ”As an additional security measure, political street rallies and processions are hereby banned across the state. Only political rallies in designated areas and with prior notification to the state police command will be allowed henceforth. The State Police command is hereby authorised to ensure full compliance.”
Recall that on Monday the governor as a proactive leader constituted a Joint Military Task Force comprising the police, Army, Navy, Airforce, Department of State Security, Civil Defence and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA) to fortify the security architecture of Kwara state before, during and after general elections.
Besides, the state government’s decision was premised on advise by Joint Security Task Force to return normalcy in affected areas.
Apart part from that, the attacks has generated tension which must be neutralized as political parties continue their campaigns.
Therefore, political parties, security agencies , stakeholders as well as the citizens should show understanding and play politics maturely by adhering to directives of Chief Security Officer of the state (the governor). The ban on political processions and street rallies was done in good faith and interest of every kwaran.
Similarly, political parties and their candidates should also avoid making provocative or inciting statements capable of causing crisis. They must ensure that campaigns are issues based and avoid chants that will lead to conflict among supporters of different political parties.
Without doubt, the decision has no political coloration and Governor Ahmed led state government would not play politics with people’s life.
Like the governor explained: ”I urge you to remain calm as your security and safety will continue to be protected and guaranteed by the security agencies. Please be assured that all constitutional means will be deployed for your safety before, during and after the forthcoming elections.”
In conclusion, Kwarans should critically look beyond politics by complying with the directives in order not to allow miscreants disrupt the peace of our dear state.