Victor Osakwe, Secretary
7 May 2007
The Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR) condemns the setting up of an administrative panel of inquiry by the Osun State government ostensibly to probe the violent protests that trailed the controversial April 14 elections in the state.
We are not in principle against a panel investigating the purported violence, but we vehemently aver that such panel to be worth its salt must be independent of Brigadier General Olagunsoye Oyinlola’s government and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which themselves are a party in the matter. One of the most basic elements of the judicial due process is that one cannot be a judge over his/her case.
By his utterances and actions since the mass protests against the massively rigged and manipulated election, Oyinlola has not hidden his determination to ruthlessly unleash state terror on the opposition in the state. Removing his garb of military arrogance from the rack, he overzealously declared his co-contestant at the poll, Rauf Aregbosola, the gubernatorial candidate of the Action Congress, wanted over the violent protest his government and party had provoked with aid of armed thugs and security agents. Also, at the behest of his government, the compromised State police command has also proclaimed some prominent members of the opposition culpable in the incident. Besides, over 400 supporters and members have been clamped in the detention since April 14. Although, their condition in the prison is dehumanizing and appalling, these political detainees appeared the lucky folks, when compared with about 10 unarmed youths felled by the bullets of security agents on the entourage of Oyinlola during his war-like expedition to Ilesha.
It is obviously those that will be indicted by the vindictive and persecuting panel which is peopled by the government officials, who themselves were deployed to their respective towns or villages to manipulate votes for their principal.
It is playing ostrich for Oyinlola government to feign ignorance of the cause of the violent protest. Everybody knows that the protest was a legitimate reaction of masses brazenly and violently denied their democratic rights, by violent rigging and manipulation of the election, to remove a government whose performance in the past four years has been awful and not met their yearnings and aspirations.
We call on labour, media and pro-masses organizations and individuals, locally and internationally, to unequivocally condemn the clampdown on the opposition by the intolerant, anti-poor Oyinlola government and demand the unconditional release of political detainees or their speedy trial in a competent court of justice with an incorruptible and uncompromising judge.