The All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party in Ondo State have accused each other of destroying posters and billboards of their respective governorship candidates, in breach of a peace accord reached with the Ondo State Police Command.
While the APC said the PDP was destroying its billboards and posters to curtail the rising popularity of its candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu, the PDP responded by saying it was the victim of attacks by APC supporters on its billboards and posters.
This is coming against the backdrop of a peace accord they agreed before the Ondo State Police Commissioner, Hilda Ibifuro-Harrison, which committed the political parties to peaceful conduct before, during and after the November 26 governorship election.
Under the peace accord, they were to refrain from any provocative acts, one of which is the destruction of posters and billboards of opponents.
With barely 13 days to Election Day, there is a mounting frustration among supporters of the Ahmed Makarfi faction of the PDP as the court decision on the eligibility of its governorship candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, is being awaited.
They broke out in wild jubilation on Thursday night when they received the news of the court ruling granting their candidate the leave to appeal the judgment of Okon Abang, the judge of the high court that declared Jimoh Ibrahim the candidate of the PDP in the state.
The APC in a statement on Sunday, said members and supporters of the PDP faction on Thursday destroyed a number posters and billboards of its candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu, in Akure, the state capital.
Steve Otaloro, the APC Director of Publicity, said this occurred in the presence of Governor Olusegun Mimiko, who apparently failed to restrain the supporters from the act while they celebrated the court verdict granting Mr. Jegede the right to appeal the judgement that declared Jimoh Ibrahim as the rightful candidate of PDP in the November 26 governorship election in the state.
“They did not only deface posters and billboards of APC candidate, Barrister Rotimi Akeredolu but uprooted and hacked all billboards of Akeredolu Campaign Organisation in sight,” Mr. Otaloro said.
He noted that Mr. Mimiko was intimidated by the mammoth crowd and the high celebration with which Akeredolu Support Organization was being welcomed into all the towns and cities he had visited since the flagged off of his campaign.
“Governor Mimiko had attempted to prevent the display of our organization posters and campaign messages in public as he unleashed the state signage agency to stop us but for the fact that we had paid all the required fees to the agency,” he said.
“We are appealing to our members and supporters not to retaliate with such barbaric acts.”
He also insinuated that PDP might be trying to destroy its own posters and billboards to make it appear that such was done by Akeredolu Support organization and the APC in retaliation.
“This is a case of kettle calling pot black,” Banjo Okunomo, declared while replying to the allegations of the APC.
“When they do anything, they will turn around and say it is the PDP.
“They go around tearing Eyitayo Jegede’s posters , telling people that Jegede is no longer in the race and now to turn around to accuse the PDP of destroying their posters.”
Mr. Okunomo said the APC had a hand in the travails of the PDP as it concerns the coming election, stating that they had plans to rig the election using federal institutions.
Mr. Otaloro, whose party first made the allegation, said the matter was yet to be reported to the police.
Asked why the matter yet to be reported, he said: “We want to let the people know about it rather than go to the police, because we are sure they will not have the opportunity of doing this again, they will not be part of the coming election.”
Efforts to get the police spokesman, Femi Joseph, to react to the development was not fruitful as he could not be reached on the phone at the time of filing the report.
But the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Olusegun Agbaje, said the matter had not been reported to the INEC officially, noting that the police were in a better position to handle it.
“If they have any issue, I think they should complain to the police, since they have an agreement which they signed before the police,” he said.
“As I speak to you our own posters on voter enlightenment are also being destroyed, but I have instructed our officers to replace them as soon as they are removed, because we have enough, I don’t think we should be troubled by that.”