- Deplores alleged plot to clamp down on opposition leaders
Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday charged the United Nation (UN), the European Union (EU) and other international bodies to place visa restriction on the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari; a former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, and other individuals as punishment for allegedly plotting to truncate democracy and good governance in Nigeria.
PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, at a press conference in Abuja also accused APC leaders of plots to use fake police and army to rig the September 19 governorship election in Edo State.
Secondus described Nigeria as a police state, saying that the federal government has put in place measures to muzzle free press and freedom of speech.
He also called on the National Assembly to probe how and why the presidential villa has become a place where plots to destroy democracy is being hatched.
The PDP’s position was informed by the ongoing controversy over a video that has gone viral in which Gambari and Oshiomhole were allegedly plotting how to rig the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State.
In the video, which the presidency has dismissed as fake, Oshiomhole was allegedly telling Gambari to arrest top PDP leaders in Edo State to facilitate APC being victorious in the election.
However, despite the presidency’s clarification and assurances by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure free and fair poll in the state, the PDP called on the international community to deny visas to members of the APC for plotting to endanger democracy and enthrone bad governance.
At the press conference, Secondus, surrounded by all members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, said: “We wish to also, draw the attention of the international community to this gross abuse of power to undermine the democratic process by critical staff that should defend it. We demand appropriate sanction of the individuals involved in this anti-democratic act; they should be given visa restrictions to any democratic countries.
“The interest and will of the people of Edo State should be paramount in all decisions and that should guide any action either by the INEC or the government. PDP remains vehemently opposed to any postponement of Edo and Ondo States governorship elections. September 19 and October 10 should be sacrosanct.”
He appealed to Nigerians to declare anybody or group working to truncate the ongoing electoral processes in Edo and Ondo States as enemies of democracy.
According to him, notwithstanding any plot to rig the Edo election, the PDP and its leaders will not allow the Kogi, Kano, Ekiti or Osun scenarios to play out in Edo State.
He said: “Let it be known, and clearly too, that the PDP is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of Edo State to resist Oshiomhole’s fake police and other fake security operatives they are planning to import into Edo for the September 19 election.
“Nothing, and indeed, nothing will by any means whatsoever, be allowed to bend the will of the people in this Edo governorship election.
“We are deeply saddened that under the watch of an elected President Muhammadu Buhari who is a huge beneficiary of democracy, the nation’s highest seat of power is being used for the hatching of plans to undermine democracy.
“The Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, is such a strategic staff that when he is involved in any underhand thing, the president cannot free himself from it. The PDP is, therefore, calling on the National Assembly to call for the tape of the video and examine thoroughly its content with a view to acting appropriately.”
Secondus stated that the constitution and the Electoral Act are against any bid to undermine democracy by clamping down on the opposition.
He added that it’s unfortunate that the numerous problems overwhelming the nation is not disturbing the president and his party but how to blackmail and arrest the opposition.
Secondus said: “It’s also in our findings that the several efforts of APC leaders to arm-twist the INEC into falling for their devious move to shift the election. All these anti-democratic moves are all aimed at one thing – creating a constitutional logjam to disrupt the election because they know they cannot win.
“As all these underhand moves are crumbling before their eyes; the discredited former chairman of APC was smuggled into Aso Rock Villa to fine-tune the rigging strategy for Edo.
“The leaked video, which has been confirmed by the presidency, says it all – the plan to arrest and keep away all opposition leaders and clear the way for the rigging machinery of APC to roll through. This development is not only shameful but very unfortunate that the nation’s seat of power housing a democratically elected president has to be used to plan how to inflict harm on democracy.”