Nigeria’s leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has ones again called on Nigerians to help defend the country’s democracy as the general elections inch closer by the day.
The PDP has consistently made allegations of executive rascality and intimidation all through the campaign, the party which is looking to dislodge the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from its stronghold on power in Abuja, has stated that the President Buhari led Federal Government have been using security agencies against members of the PDP, they accuse institutions like the Nigerian Police, The Department of State Services (DSS), and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), being used as tools used by the administration intimidate opponents.
This week, another such accusation is making the rounds after the DSS arrested the campaign spokesperson of the PDP in Kaduna state over the weekend. Though the agency has not come out to state reasons for the arrest, it is believed that it is not unconnected to the fact that the spokesman was caught on camera inciting violence during a campaign rally in Southern Kaduna.
The PDP has come out to condemn the arrest, demanding that the DSS release the spokesman unconditionally while insisting that the harassment of its officials is a sign of desperation by the ruling party.
Though the party has refuse to condemn the official for calling for violence, the PDP however stated that it was against violence and called on its supporters to ensure that they conduct themselves peacefully before, during and after the elections.
“We are calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Ben Bako after being harassed and illegally detained without trial for over 24 hours.
“The DSS has become compromised and partisan in Kaduna State and we say no to such development.
“We believe that Kaduna State Director of the DSS, Ahmadu Idris, will not be neutral in the 2019 general elections and we call for his immediate redeployment.
“We call on both local and international election observers to take special interest in Kaduna state elections.
“We are calling on our members and supporters to ensure that they come out in large numbers and vote. They must ensure that their votes are counted, recorded and securely moved to the next collation centre.
“On this, we are ready to use every legal means to protect our franchise. No amount of intimidation, threat, blackmail and illegal use of state force will deter us from this aspect,” the PDP said.
On his part, the PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has stated has called on Nigerians to defend democracy and mobilise against what he perceived to be executive intimidation and rascality as it regards the general election, the former Vice President wrote a letter warning Nigerians of the dangers ahead following the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, insisting that President Buhari had gone beyond his constitutionally allowed responsibility, stressing that the country is heading towards dictatorship.
Atiku said: “As a democrat, I must say, without equivocation, that no mission or goal, no matter how noble or well intended, should be used as a pretext for the subversion of our democracy and our democratic institutions.
“To create a condition that allows the constitution and the rule of law to become secondary to any other agenda is to pave the way for tyranny.
“History is replete with odious dictators whose path to dictatorship started with statements of good intentions. We must therefore remain vigilant in defense of our democracy.
“We are all witnesses to how this government has serially assaulted the National Assembly, a separate arm of government that represents the bastion of our democracy.
“However, with this attack on the judiciary, General Buhari has set a new precedent in our democracy that has no equivalence in our history, not even in the darkest days of military dictatorship. This cannot be allowed to stand.
“I need to state that this latest action by General Muhammadu Buhari falls squarely within the pattern of executive lawlessness that has now been firmly turned into statecraft by the APC government.
“The serial disregard of court orders, and consequent violation of constitutionally guaranteed human rights of our citizens confirms beyond all doubt that General Buhari and his government would rather obey their own whims and operate by separate rules outside the well-established constitutional order and the rule of law.
“It scarcely requires emphasis that this behaviour is alien to democratic rule and more in line with that of a military dictator.
“Without doubt, the fight against corruption is crucial to good governance and the progress of our country. In this context, the issue of corruption as it relates to the institution of the judiciary is even more crucial.
“As the last refuge of the common man, our judiciary must not only be above suspicion but must also be seen to be manifestly above board.
“The issue at stake is not whether the Chief Justice is guilty or not, but whether his removal from office has been done in accordance with the process specified in our constitution.”
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