Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has raised the alarm over alleged new strategy by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to engage in persecution, arrest, detention and hurried trial of opposition members as well as perceived opponents of government.
PDP said as part of the dangerous antics, the APC has unleashed terror on the PDP members by sending its agents under the instructions of the Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, to demolish its secretariat along Dandal Way in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, accused APC of not relenting in the persecution, arrests, detention and hurried trial of opposition members as well as perceived opponents of government.
He said APC is already suffering from a pre-election fever because of the failures of the President Mohammadu Buhari-led government for which they will face an inevitable defeat in 2019.
“As we address you today, the APC, in the desperation to cling to power has finally commenced its onslaught against our democratic order. The constitutionally guaranteed rights to freely associate is now under attack even as our nation is being pushed to the brinks,”he said.
The PDP Spokesman said the party is also alerting the world, of the various constitutional violations of the APC and engaging in physical attack of members and offices, including innocent business concerns, all in line with the grand plot to discredit and stifle opposition in Nigeria.
“The APC, having realized that its chances of winning the 2019 elections get slimmer by the day and petrified by the popularity of the repositioned PDP across Nigeria, has now resorted to a vicious plot to physically attack our members and offices, as well as deploying force and orchestrated violence in an attempt to destabilise our structure across the country.
“As you may be aware, on Sunday January 21, 2018, the APC unleashed terror on the PDP by sending its agents under the instructions of the Borno State governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, to demolish the PDP secretariat along Dandal Way in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
“We know that the APC is already suffering from a pre-election fever because of the failures of the President Buhari-led government for which they will face an inevitable defeat in 2019.
“The unfortunate fact is that the APC is stuck with a demystified and poorly performed presidential candidate and is now afraid that the PDP is poised to present a more popular, nationally-oriented candidate who has compassion for the people and who also has the capacity and liberal-mindedness to urgently bring the nation out of the current APC inflicted national woes.
“However, we want to inform the APC that they are fighting a lost battle. Let it be known to all that the PDP under this new leadership will never be cowed. This country belongs to all of us and we are fully rallied across board to call up our members to avail themselves of all provisions available in a democracy and within the law to defend our nation’s democracy.”
Meanwhile, the Borno State Chairman of the APC, Ali Bukar Dalori, has called on PDP national spokesman, Ologbondiyan, to wear the thinking cap of a journalist and stop being fooled around by a Borno faction of PDP whose members have been spreading mischievous allegations that the state PDP secretariat in Maiduguri was demolished.
“It is a shame that someone with the background of being a senior journalist didn’t find it worthy to establish facts before rushing to address the press. He ought to know that some officials of the PDP in Borno State themselves have since confirmed that their party’s secretariat wasn’t demolished as claimed. Perhaps, because the publicity secretary is new and in a hurry to show he can talk, he didn’t even have the patience to find out the actual location of the PDP’s state secretariat in Maiduguri. If he did, he should have known that for over 15 years the secretariat has been located at Wulari near the UTC and nothing has happened to it.”
He said: “Also because he is new, he doesn’t know that the PDP in Borno State has two factions with one trying to use him in a manner he will be embarrassed. The publicity secretary will be humiliated if he goes to court because he will come to see glaring evidence that first, the PDP secretariat wasn’t demolished and secondly, the building demolished was the old Premier Cinema which had actually served as headquarters of Buhari Youths Organisation since 2011 before it was abandoned, then acquired by the APC-led government from its owners for the purpose of conversion to public use. That building isn’t the first nor will it be the last to be acquired for public use with all compensation being regularly paid.
The APC Government has acquired many private and public properties including a magnificent CBN staff quarters which is being remodelled to a boarding primary and junior secondary school to admit about 5,000 child-victims of Boko Haram. The government is building public facilities, particularly schools to cater for over 50,000 children who have been turned orphans by Boko Haram. The fact is that these so called PDP factional members are frustrated by the overwhelming performance of the APC led administration in Borno State and this is why they came up with this confusion in order to derail the administration. They have failed. The APC administration will be more than happy to meet the PDP in court. Meanwhile, Mr Kola is advised to take a break and study politics, particularly the type in his party before he gets really messed up,” Dalori said.