RE: “Our Democracy and the 2023 General Elections are Under Attack” – A Response to the text of a Press Conference by the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Hon. Debo Ologunagba.
I read with keen interest but with utmost dismay the text of a press conference by the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
on Friday, December 2, 2022.
At the press conference, PDP Spokesman claimed there is an “On-going Clampdown on PDP Leaders in Zamfara State.
But in a statement signed by Ibrahim Magaji Dosara, Hon. Commissioner of Information
Zamfara State, the state government said its one of the many ways of PDP’s lies.
To us, ” This is nothing but the usual bunch of lies and baseless accusations of the PDP to cover up its past mismanagement of the resources of this great nation”.
Maybe, the Publicity Secretary is ignorant or has deliberately refused to crosscheck what happened when the PDP flagrantly violated the Commissioner of Police’s order to PDP leaders in Zamfara State to suspend their campaign rally which they intended to do after several warnings about the increase in banditry activites in some local government areas of Gummi, Bukkuyum, Anka and some parts of Gusau, Tsafe, Talata Mafara, Maradun and Maru local council areas of the state. They were told to allow security operatives to mop-up the attacking bandits in the affected communities, for at least one or two weeks.
However, the PDP leaders refused to obey the CP’s order which was to guard against any possibility of infiltration of the rally by the rampaging bandits who may want to retaliate the onslaught of air strikes by security operatives. The rally ended up in chaos as there was mass infiltration of thugs, hoodlums and the blocked bandits into the capital city Gusau, that led to the destruction of individuals and public property with loss of life of one person and various degrees of injuries inflicted on over 20 innocent people.
Furthermore, on the recent rally of the PDP, the National Publicity Secretary should crosscheck to understand what exactly happened. The PDP leaders were given permission to welcome home, their Governorship candidate (sacked though by a Court of competent jurisdiction and prohibited from parading himself as the Governorship candidate of the PDP in the 2023 election), turned it to be a rally of misguided and hate speeches, destruction of public and APC properties, including its offices and assets.
The APC followed the provisions of the Nigerian constitution by reporting the matter to the Police for action.
Yet, the Publicity Secretary is complaining against the APC led Zamfara government of Governor Bello Mohammed Matawallen Maradun, who has been on his toes to ensure the protection of lives and property of his people throughout the three and a half years of his administration, being accused of clampdown of PDP Leaders in the state.
It is therefore, shocking that the PDP is accusing the Commissioner of Police in Zamfara State of taking sides with the APC to intimidate and harass the PDP leaders in Zamfara State.
The PDP Spokesman also said, “The All Progressives Congress (APC), being disoriented by increasing popularity of the PDP and our Candidates ahead of the 2023 general elections has scaled up its vicious assault and clampdown on PDP candidates and other patriotic Nigerians in an attempt to silence PDP leaders and halt the overwhelming daily acceptance of our Party’s message of hope to Nigerians.”
What popularity is the National Publicity Secretary talking about, when its National Campaign Train is being booed by masses in almost all the six geo-political zones of the county? If Nigerians are happy and are welcoming the PDP, the National Campaign team wouldn’t have been faced with such harassment by the masses across the length and breath of this country. The protest by the masses is an indication that the PDP is still not supported by Nigerians.
Therefore, the statements contained in the press conference are laughable and astonishing, especially considering the fact that the opposition PDP that lost 2015 elections due to its inability to tackle insecurity which nearly consumed the nation, is now claiming to be the saviour to restore peace and security and the protection of lives and property of the citizens of Nigeria.
There is this saying in Hausa “Abin Mamaki, Kare da Tallar Tsire”. literally meaning, “What a shocking surprise, dog selling Roasted Meat.”
Maybe, the PDP has forgotten the 16 years of its misrule with highest level of insecurity and mishap that led to the loss of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, particularly in the North-eastern Nigerian States of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi and other Northern Nigerian States. There is yet another Hausa proverbs which says ” Idan Maye ya Manta, Mai ‘Da bai Manta ba”. Meaning, it is still fresh in the minds of Nigerians, particularly families of victims of insurgency in the Northern Nigerian divide and among security operatives, the bad days and years of PDP rulership.
The PDP shouldn’t forget that it was the coming of the present APC – led administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, that prevented the imminent intention of the insurgents to take over Nigeria. Maybe, the opposition has forgotten the 16 years of mayhem it had inflicted on Nigerians, untill when the ruling APC came to the rescue of this nation.
Maybe the PDP has also forgotten its days of misrule in the country, when citizens were being massacred in their thousands and some slaughtered like sacrificial animals.
Government of Zamfara state has never and will never deny the opposition the right to campaign and mobilize support from the people but must be in accordance with the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria1999 and the Electoral Act 2022.
The number one responsibility of government anywhere in the world is the protection of lives and property of its citizens. Zamfara state government will therefore, not fold its arms to watch people flagrantly violating the rule of law leading to the destruction of public and citizens’ property and lives in the name of rights. The PDP should know that where its members rights stopped is where others’ rights begin.
The Inspector General of Police has been discharging his constitutional responsibilities without fear or favor as he recently directed all Commissioners of Police in the 36 states of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory to ensure opposition parties are given equal freedom to conduct peaceful rallies, but also deal decisively with hoodlums and thugs from all the political parties, irrespective of whether they are opposition or ruling parties.
President Muhammadu Buhari, has promised Nigerians credible elections and all security operatives have been directed to ensure compliance and that is what they are doing. Tell your people to conduct themselves within the ambit of the law.
The All Progressives Congress APC – led administration of Gov Matawalle is not afraid of any political party but determined to ensure the rule of law is complied with in the conduct of rallies. The statement really.