By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said the activities of APC’s governorship candidate in Taraba State, Sani Abubakar Danladi, who has allegedly resorted to violence, having realised that there is absolutely no hope for him and his party in the March 2, 2019 governorship election, is a threat to democracy.
PDP alleged that the APC governorship candidate, who is also personally well reputed for acts that contravene free and fair elections, has been boasting that he has 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 this ignoble project.
According to the spokesman of PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, “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 stressed that the PDP has full information of how the APC is working with enemies of Taraba State to inject confusion and escalate insecurity in the state so that the governorship election would be deferred 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 being exasperated and frustrated by the popularity of the PDP and Governor Ishaku, the APC, which is stuck with the most unpopular candidate in the election, is bent at triggering 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 kilometres 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 unbridling of mayhem continued until they arrived to 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.”
PDP said 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 vehicles”, he added.
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 Danladi 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 election.
He warned, “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.”
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 breakdown of law and order in the state.