By Chuks Okocha
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Monday held a peaceful protest in Abuja against the verdict of the Supreme Court that nullified the election of Emeka Ihedioha as the governor of Imo state.
The protest caught many commuters and motorists by surprise at the Legacy House of PDP in Maitama District, around the MTN House, Nicon Junction, Transcorp Hilton Junction, Federal High Court Complex area and the Eagle Square, where the protest terminated.
Most of the vehicles and pedestrians said that they were not aware that the protest would hold. One of the taxi drivers caught in the protest said he avoided the route to the National Secretariat with the understanding that the protest will take off from the Wuse office of PDP.
The Nigeria Police operatives monitored the protest in all the routes along the Shehu Shagari Boulevard and Aguiyi Ironsi street in the Central District Area of Abuja.
The Federal Road Safety Commission, the National Security and Civil Defence Corps and men of the Department of State Services were part of security outfits that maintained peace during the protest.
Three police vans led the peace protest with the National Chairman of PDP, Uche Secondus, and other members of the National Working Committee (NWC) participating. Members of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) and the PDP National Assembly members were also among the protesters.
Trucks with loudspeakers mounted on its roof played music as the protesters moved along the designated routes with artisans making quick sales while the protest lasted.
The PDP protest took off around 9.40 am and came to an end at about 11.05 am. All PDP members that participated in the protest wore black T-shirts and Black baseball caps with the inscription “Save The Judiciary. Save Democracy in Nigeria.”
The gate of the Eagle Square was locked when the PDP protesters reached the federal secretariat, but the protesters were addressed beside the square.
Speaking to the protesters, national chairman of PDP, Secondus, said that the PDP was not against the justices of the Supreme Court but added that “as human beings when you make a mistake be human enough to correct such mistakes.”
He urged the Supreme Court panel of justices to revisit, review as well as reverse the judgement as, “the figures did not add up.”
According to Secondus, “We are at the Three Arms Zone – the Executive is hearing us, the judiciary is hearing and also the Parliament is hearing us from here, and also the entire world.
“Today, we are here, very peaceful, non-violent protest and demonstration to show that we are all Nigerians. PDP is the most peaceful party, and the largest party and well organised party in Africa.
“I want to congratulate you all for coming from all the nooks and crannies of this country, peacefully to register our protest. We’re here, under one God, under one nation, our nation is under the rule of law.
“We are a nation governed by law, therefore, all we are seeking today is for our very highly respected jurists at the highest court of the land, we’re not against you, we’re against the error. And by the special grace of God, I know you will revisit the error.
“And all we are saying is that for you to review this error because the figures are not adding up.
We therefore, call on the leadership of the judiciary, to please, we are all human beings. God is the highest. We know that they worship God, all of us worship God, to revisit and reverse the Imo State judgement because we believe that the figures are not adding up.
“That’s why we’re here so that the world will hear us. We are a democratic nation, and therefore, all democratic nations of the world are hearing us – United States, United Kingdom, even the United Nations, the African Union and ECOWAS. We believe that people at the highest court of the land will hear our cry today, and revisit, review, and if possible, reverse, the judgement.
“That is justice that will be done, not only to the people of Imo State but for Nigerians who are crying. This is time to show courage. The executive arm of government should stop interfering in the judiciary. Security agencies, stop interfering”, Secondus stated.
He also commended the security agencies for ensuring that the protest was peaceful without any Incident.
The PDP minority leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, also called on the Supreme Court to review their judgement as the figures did not add up.
Also speaking, the vice presidential candidate of PDP in the last election, Mr. Peter Obi, said, “I’m speaking here, not just as one of the leaders of PDP but one of the beneficiaries PDP being in government for 16 years of doing what is right.
“I was a minority party, I won election and PDP did not intervene…I went to court, PDP did not intervene. I benefited from it. Adams Oshiomhole wouldn’t have been governor, he wouldn’t have been beneficiary of judiciary if PDP did what APC is doing today. He benefited from it.
“So as a beneficiary, I am appealing to the judiciary to save this country. What happened in Imo State is enough to kill our democracy. Let us ensure that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man. My appeal to APC, please, do not kill this democracy”, Obi said. .
But as the protest was about to end some suspected thugs coming from the Supreme Court axis carrying the APC flags moved towards the PDP protesters in front of the Eagle Square but they were stopped by the Police.
Some casualties were however recorded as a truck branded in PDP colour was involved in an accident with several people injured.