Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said it had uncovered a plot by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to instigate mayhem and get elections stalemated and postponed in some strategic states of the federation.
PDP’s Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, while addressing a press conference Saturday said that of particular reference were the activities of APC’s governorship candidate in Taraba State, Sani Abubakar Danladi, who has now resorted to violence having realised that there is absolutely no hope for him and his party in the March 2, 2019 governorship election.
The PDP alleged that the APC candidate, who is also personally well reputed for acts that contravene free and fair elections, had been boasting that he had the backing of the federal government and some godfathers in Abuja, who have no stake in the peace, unity and development of Taraba State in the ignoble project.
According to him, “It is an incontrovertible fact, known to all, that Taraba State is a long established stronghold of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and that Governor Darius Ishaku has the undiluted backing of overwhelming majority of the electorate across the state, due to his sterling performance in office.”
Ologbondiyan alleged that the PDP had full information on how the APC is working with purported enemies of Taraba State to trigger confusion and escalate insecurity in the state with a view to shifting the governorship election to enable the federal authorities and security agencies have the opportunity to perpetrate the type of massive rigging that took place in Ekiti and Osun states governorship elections in 2018, and award victory to the APC.
He added that having been frustrated by the popularity of the PDP and Governor Darius Ishaku, the APC, which it said, was stuck with the most unpopular candidate in the election, was bent on causing confusion and bloodletting so as to ambush and truncate the electoral process in the state.
The PDP spokesperson said, “On Thursday, January 17, 2019, the APC, hiding under the guise of campaign unleashed mayhem on Wukari, a major town in Taraba State. Right from Gindin Dorowa, about 40 kilometers to Wukari City, thugs recruited by the APC governorship candidate, went on shooting spree, destroying PDP billboards all the way to Wukari.
“From the Wukari yam market, APC thugs continued shooting their way into the town as if they were on a mission to conquer the town, while destroying PDP campaign materials including billboards, posters.
“The shooting and unbridled mayhem continued until they arrived in the city centre and close to the Aku Uka Palace where another political party was also holding a rally, just as they did in Karim on December 26, 2018 during which they prevented the PDP senatorial and House of Representatives candidates from campaigning.
“It is important to note that pandemonium broke out when, in the course of the shooting in Wukari, a member of the PDP was killed. At this point, a crowd in sympathy to the victim rushed to the scene; panic took over. A vehicle carrying some APC thugs tried to beat a retreat and in the process crashed into another vehicle and caught fire. Other vehicles, which wanted to rush out of the scene got trapped and were torched from the fire spreading from the already burning vehicle.”
The main opposition party wants the APC, its governorship candidate and their godfathers in Abuja, to note that the people of Taraba State would not surrender their freedom and rights to the APC.
The PDP insisted that the governorship election in Taraba and indeed all states of the federation scheduled for March 2, 2019, would hold on the fixed date, adding that the PDP and the people of Taraba State would never accept any result that does not reflect the reality already expressed by the people.
Ologbondiyan said that this was the reason why the APC gubernatorial candidate has not signed the peace accord, which was initiated by the Taraba State police command and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure peaceful campaigns and elections.
“Let it be stressed that Taraba State as a stronghold of the PDP will never, in any way whatsoever, succumb to the machination of the APC as the people are ready and fully alert to confront and resist the APC and its candidate, with all the means and energy necessary and available in the defence of their mandate which they have freely given to the PDP,” he said.
The PDP therefore urged the National Peace Committee to note the infractions by the APC in Taraba State and speak out in the interest of peace, particularly given the security situation in the North-east, especially now that Nigerians know who to hold responsible, should there be a break down of law and order in the state.