James Emejo in Abuja
The House of Representatives caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday raised the alarm over what it described as ongoing ploy by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to effect the arrest of scores of its members in the build up to the 2019 elections.
Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Chukwuma Onyema. said itâ€™s rather unfortunate that both the government and the ruling party have denied the existence of such an agenda which has already been put in motion.
Specifically, he said the target of the ruling party is to destabilise the functionaries and machineries of the PDP ahead of the elections.
In a statement issued yesterday and titled:â€2019: APC Governmentâ€™s Desperation And Agenda For Politicised Arrestsâ€, Onyema said the current administration has resorted to intimidation and harassment to silence any opposition as elections draw close.
He said:â€It is one of those things that the APC government does not want any citizen to talk about at the moment but with ruthless efficiency and a devious machiavellian determination, the APC government is now using the threat of arrest to intimidate and coerce the opposition.â€
He said: â€œAlthough their party is trying to deny it, the APC government, lacking in genuine democratic ideals and seeing the failure of deceptive change, has begun a desperate programme to bludgeon democratic opposition by arresting key figures in various states.
â€œIn spite of their deceptive denial, we know that they are starting their series of politicised arrests from the North Central Zone, with an audacious plan for the arrest and continuous harassment of scores of PDP loyalists in other zones before 2019.â€
He said the APC has resorted to political arrests and intimidation partly because of the disappointments in its change agenda and increasing evidence of official hypocrisy.
Onyema who is the leader of the caucus, further expressed disappointment that a respectable institution like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had been drawn into the APC secret agenda.
According to him: â€œTheir very frantic preparation for 2019 has become really saddening when such agenda ropes in an institution like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for strong-arm tactics, media trial and timed annihilation of the opposition in desperate preparation for 2019.
â€œThe question needs to be asked again: Has this APC government got the conscience to confess that their â€˜Changeâ€™ magic wand has not worked?
â€œA minister in the â€˜Changeâ€™ government gleefully announced how they got a website for N700 million; trillions spent in the past two years have not impacted positively on peopleâ€™s lives and there are fears that their usual shoddy implementation could consolidate poverty across the land.
â€œAn unprecedented woeful handling of the economy has resulted into worsening mass depression and unemployment but an insensitive APC Minister claims that they have created seven million jobs as many youth register for their peanut distribution programme while the high-paying jobs at Central Bank and other places are reserved for APC functionariesâ€™ children.
Continuing, he said:â€œStill, they are resolute about acquiring more debt for future generations.
â€œThe globally renown Moodyâ€™s Investors Service downgraded Nigeria because the authoritiesâ€™ efforts to address key structural weakness exposed by the oil price shock by broadening the non-oil revenue base had â€œso far proven largely unsuccessfulâ€ while the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) kicked against the planned sale of critical national oil assets to raise $2 billion, saying it was not in the national interest.
â€œIt is heart-rending that the embarrassing international tragedy involving the sexual abuse and murder of twenty young Nigerian females on the Mediterranean Sea was only acknowledged by a feeble voice of a presidential aide.
â€œYet at all times, the APC government continues to feel haunted by PDP at every turn, seeking to blame all its woes and failures on PDP but it is no surprise that one of the APC top appointees who presided over the killing of Ken Saro-Wiwa publicly acknowledges that the APC government has derailed.â€
He, however, urged Nigerians to resist the antics of the PDP.
He said: â€œAll people of goodwill must feel concerned that this government seems poised to continue its clueless bumbling from one miscalculation to another, with a desperate hope that government agencies like EFCC can be used for strong-arm tactics against the opposition towards guaranteeing APC and its failed propaganda machinery an undeserved victory in 2019.
â€œIt will not work because no matter what desperate plan they hatch, PDP is coming into power in 2019.
â€œNo one should be deceived or lulled into inaction by the APC denial of their agenda for politicised arrests in the countdown to 2019.
â€œGenuine democrats must speak up and vigorously demand a preservation of democratic rights as guaranteed by the nationâ€™s constitution and various international protocols; silence is not ideal in the face of wanton oppression by pseudo-progressive forces that rely on coercion and authoritarian tactics in their preparation for 2019 elections.