PDP Accuses Police of Disrupting Campaign Flag-off in Nasarawa
Igbawase Ukumba in Lafia
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday accused the Nasarawa State Police Command of disrupting its campaign flag-off in the state.
The party had at a media dialogue scheduled the flag-off of its presidential, governorship and national/state assemblies’ zonal campaign for Monday, November 28, in the Toto Local Government Area of the state.
However, the Director General of the state PDP Campaign Council, Mr. Labaran Maku, at a press briefing yesterday at Mararaba in Karu Local Government Area of the state, accused the police of conniving with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to disrupt the campaign flag-off slated for tomorrow.
Maku alleged at the press briefing that the police acted strictly on a directive from the Chairman of Toto Local Government Area, Abdullahi Aliyu Tashas, to stop the PDP campaign in his council area.
He said the PDP was deeply disappointed at what had happened, insisting that democracy requires absolute neutrality from the security agencies.
He explained that the main opposition party had notified the police on November 18, 2022.
“Now they are telling us we cannot go to campaign on Monday,” he said.
Maku continued: “We understand the role security agencies played in enforcing the law is to ensure there is peace. It is strange that 48 hours, or so, to go to our campaign rally, we suddenly received a letter from the Commissioner of Police that the Toto Local Government chairman has just informed him that he is not aware and had not permitted us to hold a rally in Toto.
“It was established that this party was the first to notify the Police of our schedules. The electoral law understanding is that elected members of the executive are partisan in the electoral process and also campaigning for their parties.
“So it did not make it incumbent on political parties to seek the permission of state governors and local government chairmen because they would not allow opposition parties to campaign in their states? They are also contesting in the same election and they cannot be the ones to permit us,” Maku explained.
Maku argued that security agencies do not issue a permit, but are notified to provide security.
However, the Director General of the Nasarawa State PDP Campaign Council said it was strange that they were not called to sit with APC.
“Ideally, if the APC had a conflict with us, the police authority will invite the APC and the PDP and resolve. No such meeting has been called between us and the APC. So it is clear to us that this is an attempt to disrupt the campaign in Nasarawa State.
“This campaign is for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, governorship candidate, National and Houses of Assembly candidates. So, it is one campaign. We notified the police on November 18, 2022, by their letter. Today (yesterday) is November 25, 2022, and they are telling us we cannot go to campaign on Monday.” Maku explained.
But in a swift reaction, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ramhan Nansel, refuted the allegation that the police directed the PDP to stop plans towards its campaign flag-off rally in Toto Local Government Area scheduled for November 28.
Nansel, however, said there was a clash of date and location with the APC, adding that the state police commissioner, CP Mohammed-Baba, only advised the PDP to shift its rally to the next day to avert clashes among supporters and to enable the police to provide security for the two events.