PDP Raises the Alarm over Arrest of Members

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Says Kano rally signposts end of road for Buhari

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has raised the alarm over the ongoing clampdown, arrest and detention of its officials and members in various parts of the country ahead of next Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly polls .

This is coming as the party Presidential Campaign Organisation (PPCO) has said the unprecedented crowd and overwhelming support for its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, by Nigerians at the party’s presidential campaign rally in Kano on Sunday clearly demonstrated that President Muhammadu Buhari has lost the support of the North-west.

The PDP Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, while addressing a press conference yesterday in Abuja, said the party had also been informed of plots by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Buhari Presidency to crack down and detain PDP critical stakeholders in other parts of the country, in order to put them out of circulation before and during the general election.

The main opposition party expressed concern over the unwarranted arrest of the Director of Media Committee of the Kaduna State PDP Governorship Campaign Organisation, Mr. Ben Bako, who has been detained by the Department of State Services (DSS) since last weekend.

He stated: “This is highly provocative and a direct invitation to anarchy and a political crisis that is capable of derailing our democratic order.

“The PDP also stresses that it will hold the APC and the Buhari presidency directly responsible should any harm, whatsoever, befall any of our leaders or members, particularly in Kaduna State ahead of the elections.

“We are aware that Mr. Ben Bako’s arrest is a prelude to the planned clampdown of our campaign officials by the Buhari presidency and the APC, whose aim is to instill fear in the polity, incite crisis and derail the electoral process, having realised that they have lost in this election ahead of the polls.

“It is instructive to state that the DSS has given no reason for Bako’s arrest and detention, but only acted on the orders of the APC as expressed by the Assistant Publicity Secretary of Kaduna APC, Salisu Tanko Wusono, who openly stated that Bako deserves his ordeal,” Ologbondiyan said.

He further revealed that reports reaching the party from the Kaduna State chapter indicated that many of its leaders, including former governors of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Markarfi and Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero; PDP Kaduna State chapter chairman, Chief Felix Hyat, and the former PDP state chairman, Alhaji Yahaya Yaro Makama, among others, have been listed for clamp down and are now being trailed by agents of the APC.

The PDP therefore demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Ben Bako by the DSS without hurt or further harassment.

Ologbondiyan stated that Kaduna State is a PDP stronghold, adding that the party was not ready to stomach any further harassment of its leaders, officials and members, before, during and after the general election.

He said, “The PDP unequivocally cautions the Buhari Presidency and the APC to note that their plot, as well as the continued detention of Ben Bako, is setting the stage for a vehement resistance by the people, which is capable of triggering crisis and disrupting the fragile peace in Kaduna State.

“We, therefore, call on the National Peace Committee to note, as well as speak out against the provocations by the APC and the Buhari Presidency against our party, which are in total negation of the spirit and letters of the peace accord.

“The PDP states this because Nigeria belongs to all of us and we will not hesitate to call out our members, in their millions, should this aggression by the APC and the Buhari Presidency against our party is not curbed.”

Meanwhile, the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation (PPCO) has said the unprecedented crowd and overwhelming support for its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, by Nigerians at the party’s presidential campaign rally in Kano last Sunday clearly demonstrated that President Buhari has lost the support of the North-west.

Ologbondiyan, in a separate statement issued yesterday, said the spontaneous jubilation by Nigerians across Kano State, in receiving Atiku reinforced their rejection of Buhari for impoverishing the people with his alleged incompetence as well as endorsing corruption in the state.

He said: “The people of Kano State are in alignment with other states of the federation, particularly in the north, in rejecting President Buhari for his manifest aloofness and insensitivity to the welfare of the poor, while his close relations and cabal at his Presidency live in arrogant opulence.

“President Buhari’s rejection is also a clear statement by the people of Kano State, that his public approval of the corruption activities of Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, who was recently exposed in series of video allegedly collecting bribe in foreign currency from contractors, is unwelcomed.”

Ologbondiyan stressed that for Buhari to publicly raise the hand of Ganduje at a recent rally was an unpardonable affront on the people of Kano, who have a long history of standing against corruption.

He claimed that the complete rejection of Buhari in the face of the soaring acceptance of Atiku across the country, particularly in the North West states of Kano, Sokoto, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kebbi, Zamfara and Katsina, which were hitherto considered as President Buhari’s stronghold, clearly displayed that the president and his dysfunctional APC has come to the end of the road.

He added that this explains why the Buhari Presidency and the APC are desperate to manipulate and rig the February 16 presidential election.