Security agencies now extension of APC, say Dickson, Clark
By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) were already compromising the nation’s military as part of the overall plot to scuttle the conduct of the 2019 polls.
This is as Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State and the Ijaw National Leader, Chief Edwin Clark, have raised the alarm over what they described as increasing abuse of security agencies by the APC and the federal government.
The PDP in a statement yesterday by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, said its National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus stated this when he led members of the National Working Committee (NWC) to receive the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, in his office in Abuja.
The main opposition party, which sought urgent intervention of world bodies and agencies to ensure peaceful conduct of the elections, noted that all indices of peaceful elections were fast fading.
Secondus criticised President Buhari for dragging the nation’s military into politics and using other security forces as tools to muscle the electoral process.
According to Secondus, “Buhari is not preparing for elections. He is not prepared for the rigours of any electoral exercise. Every well-intentioned politician goes out to the street to engage and persuade the people with his or her manifesto and policies, but President Buhari is not ready to engage anybody in contest of ideas; that is why he is desperate to compromise our military as a measure of limitless powers to rig.”
The PDP National Chairman noted that there was heightened tension across the country over the manipulations by the Buhari-led presidency, adding that if the UN and the international community failed to intervene and support a credible, free and fair election, the nation might witness an electoral stillbirth, capable of triggering violence and humanitarian crisis in Nigeria and the entire sub-Saharan region.
Secondus declared: “President Buhari has militarised our electoral process. In the July and September governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states respectively, in addition to various bye-elections, military equipment were rolled out to prevent the opposition from voting.
“Citizens were freely manhandled, arrested and subjugated by security agents, who openly worked for the APC. Today, in Nigeria, the PDP is contesting with security forces and not with the APC.
“The world saw how our Service Chiefs participated in President Buhari’s campaign rally. There is no way these Service Chiefs will not be pushed to resort to self-help on behalf of President Buhari and his APC in the election. The UN Security Council should note this and intervene to save our democratic process.
“Also, President Buhari has compromised our Police. As we speak, the Inspector-General of Police has sealed the Akwa-Ibom State House of Assembly and seized an arm of government, just like they did in Benue State in July. Our country has been turned into a police state and there is fear everywhere.
“Similarly, our Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been annexed by the Buhari Presidency. This is the reason it has not been able to conduct any credible election in the last three and half years.
“Nigerians have lost confidence that INEC as presently constituted can guarantee credible polls in 2019. We, therefore, demand for the resignation of the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and Mrs. Amina Zakari, who is a niece of Mr. President”.
Earlier, Mr. Chambas had urged political stakeholders in the country to follow the rules to ensure a smooth electoral process in the 2019 elections.
He said his visit was part of ongoing consultations with critical stakeholders ahead of the 2019 elections.
Meanwhile, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State and the Ijaw National Leader, Chief Edwin Clark have raised the alarm over alleged increasing abuse of security agencies by the APC and the federal government.
The allegations by Dickson and Clark were contained in a statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, who said the duo spoke when the elder statesman visited the governor to condole with him on the death of his mother, Goldcoast Dickson.
The governor said Nigerians were deeply worried about the conduct of the security agencies across the country.
According to him, the security agencies were disturbingly metamorphosing into an extension of the ruling APC, ahead of the 2019 general election.
Governor Dickson also condemned the recent assassination attempt on the Deputy Senate President, Prof. Ike Ekweremadu, and the police invasion of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
He described the action of police authorities, who sealed off the House of Assembly, as an assault on the democratic order, which he said should not be encouraged.
He said that the recent posting of eight police commissioners to Bayelsa State within a shockingly short period of three months only showed a sinister plot to destabilise the peace, security and stability of the state ahead of the 2019 general elections.
He called on the relevant authorities and the security agencies to conduct themselves in a way that would promote the nation’s democracy rather than putting it in jeopardy.
“We are all concerned about the conduct of security agencies ahead of the 2019 general elections. In fact, all lovers of Nigeria and democracy are concerned about the conduct of the security agencies.
“The agencies have become an extension of the ruling party, which should not be. The abuse of the security forces constitutes a threat to the security, democracy and stability of the country.
“I condemn the recent assassination attempt on the life of the Deputy Senate President, Prof. Ike Ekweremadu. It is totally reprehensible.
“I also condemn the invasion of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. It was a desecration of the democratic order.
“In Bayelsa, we have had no fewer than eight police commissioners in the last three months. It won’t take you long to know that there is a sinister game going on to destabilise and create instability in the state that we have worked so hard to stabilise.
“We urge the security agencies to conduct themselves in a way that would stabilise democracy.
“The greatest challenge we have ahead of the 2019 election is the conduct of the security agencies. That is the concern of all well-meaning Nigerians.
Politicians and people in government need to know that there is a country to govern after elections.
“Let us not in the quest for election destroy these critical agencies of state and the career and reputation of these officials. When you politicise these agencies, you threaten the careers of these people who are professionals in their own right,” Governor Dickson said.
Similarly, Clark condemned the transfer of eight police commissioners to Bayelsa State in a space of three months.
He said that he was not surprised at the conduct of the police as they recently invaded his house in Abuja even at his age of 91 in a purported search for arms.
He cautioned a former governor of Bayelsa, who is a Chieftain of the APC, who was accused of being behind the instigation of the politics in police postings to the state to stop making himself a laughing stock.