THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has warned that the country is in perilous times following what it noted is opposition’s clampdown by the All Progressive Congress (APC)-led federal government which it observed is scared of its fate in next year’s general election.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbodiyan, noted that despite initial alert giving to the international community, “enemies of our democratic process and adversaries of our unity and harmonious living as a nation have commenced a desperate clampdown on opposition leaders and perceived opponents of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.”
The party stated: “These attacks, threats and intimidation targeted at influential Nigerians, particularly, past leaders, show clearly that the APC and the Buhari Presidency are very scared of their inevitable defeat in the 2019 general elections and now seek to apply all machinations to overheat the polity and ostensibly frustrate the process.”
The main opposition party posited that Nigeria has finally fallen into a perilous time as “there are fears and trepidation everywhere. The safety, personal freedom and wellbeing of Nigerians, particularly, opposition members are no longer guaranteed.”
According to the party, the APC “having realized that they stand no chance in the 2019 general elections, are now deploying all wicked machinations to cause confusion, heighten political tension, hounding and arresting of opposition leaders, making spurious allegations and attacking influential Nigerians, including former heads of state, all to instill fear on the polity.”
Ologbodiyan added: “Having failed in their corruption smear campaign against the PDP and many notable Nigerians, the APC and the Presidency cabal have now devised a devious machination to rope in, frame up, implicate and ultimately incarcerate marked opposition leaders and other dissenting voices over fabricated security charges.
“Part of this design, as already exposed by the Special Adviser to President Buhari, Mr. Femi Adesina, on Arise TV, is to link such opposition leaders and dissenting voices with the widespread killings in various parts of the country, while forgetting that President Buhari had earlier blamed the attacks on invaders from Late Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, while his Director General of State Security Services (DG.SSS) blamed it on herdsmen from neighbouring countries.
“Gentlemen of the Press, the wicked clampdown has started. Only yesterday, we were made aware of the arrest and detention of former Benue State governor, Hon. Gabriel Suswam, who has been kept incommunicado without access to his lawyers, while the Federal Government is not forthcoming with the details of the reasons behind the arrest and detention.
“However, we know that his arrest and detention is intended to put him out of circulation so that he will not take part in the mega-meetings of our party planned for the North Central states.
“There are already fears that other opposition leaders and dissenting voices have been placed under watch and will be dragged in and framed up on security charges, so as to keep them out of circulation ahead of the elections.
“Nigerians are already aware of the alarm raised by former President Olusegun Obasanjo of alleged plots by the Buhari administration to frame, arrest and detain him indefinitely on trumped-up charges, ostensibly following his criticisms and open rejection of the administration for its failures and manifest misrule.
“The world is also aware of the numerous alleged plots by the APC and its Federal Government to frame up and humiliate Senate President Bukola Saraki, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremmadu, Senators Dino Melaye and Shehu Sani, as well as Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and his Ekiti State counterpart, Governor Ayo Fayose.
“Also, there are concerns about the safety of former Chief of Army Staff and former defence minister, Gen. Theophilus Y. Danjuma (rtd), following the fear expressed by Rivers State Governor Wike that Gen. Danjuma’s life might be in danger after his comments in March, this year, on possible complicity of the State in the killings in Taraba state.
“Only yesterday, an explosive device was discovered at the Ebonyi state PDP secretariat, either planted to blow up our secretariat and kill our members or to set up our leaders.”
The party further said it wanted the APC and the Buhari Presidency to know that despite their machinations, the 2019 general elections must hold as scheduled, as Nigerians will never be cowed into allowing them to stay a day beyond May 29, 2019, no matter the intimidation, threats and harassment.
The PDP therefore, charged all Nigerians to stand firm, remain united in condemning and resisting the intimidations and all anti-democratic tendencies of the APC administration.
It assured that the PDP, as the party committed to democracy and the wellbeing of Nigerians, will urgently hold an enlarged National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting to take far-reaching decision on the next line of action, within the ambit and the provisions of the law, regarding the harassments and intimidations of citizens under the Buhari administration.
The party emphasized that “the country belongs to all of us and no individual or group of individuals, no matter how highly placed, has the right to undermine our democratic process or hijack the apparatus of state power against any Nigerian, for any reason whatsoever.”