By Taiwo Adebowale
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused President Muhammad Buhari of carrying out an illegal occupation and provocative besiegement of PDP states in the South South; namely, Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, Akwa-Ibom and Cross River states by the military ahead of the March 9, governorship and State Assembly elections.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, the spokesman of Nigeria’s main opposition party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan said “this illegal operation is to further militarize the South South zone, use soldiers to suppress voters and re-enact the massive rigging of polls for the All Progressives Congress (APC), as was done in the widely discredited February 23 Presidential election”.
The PDP however warned in very unequivocal terms, that those who sow the wind should also be ready to reap the whirlwind.
According to the party, “it is clear that after using military to unleash violence, alter results and muscle out fabricated 25 percent ballot for President Muhammadu Buhari across the South South states and other PDP strongholds, the APC now wants to use the military to fight our governors, suppress our members and forcefully take over our states.
“Nigerians already know how APC leaders from the South South are going around boasting that the military will use violence to give them governorship election triumph, the same way it did during the Presidential election, where innocent Nigerians were brutalized and murdered.
“Nigerians are witnesses to how 13 persons were murdered in Akuku-Toru Local Government in Rivers state, in addition to those killed in Ahoada East, Ahoada West and Emohua Local Government Areas during the Presidential election.
“Also, the public already knows how the Minister of Transport and the Director General of the Buhari Campaign Organization, Rotimi Amaechi, used soldiers to hold an INEC official hostage, changed the election results and allocated fabricated figures for President Buhari.
“In Akwa-Ibom state, Senator Godswill Akpabio has been using soldiers to suppress and harass the people, in spite of assurances by INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, that the military will not be involved in elections
“In Bayelsa state, soldiers were freely used against the people. In the process the photographer to the State governor was murdered. The Deputy Commissioner of Police in the state was even kidnapped.
“In Brass, East Senatorial district of the state, it was a war situation as the military took over the electoral process and even declared winners. Soldiers were deployed to the remotest villages where the voters were suppressed and results altered in favour of President Buhari.
“Now that it is clear to all that the 2019 election is not between the PDP and the APC, but a war between the state apparatus of power and the PDP, the PDP cannot continue to fold its hands in the face of this killings and suppression of voters by the APC.
“On this note, the PDP, ahead of the March 9 elections, cautions the APC and its compromised security agents to note that the people of the Niger Delta are already hurting over the killings of their compatriots during the February 23 election and any further provocation will be a clear recipe for crisis.
“The PDP is committed to peaceful election but cautions that no body has a monopoly of show of strength. The people of the Niger Delta are peace loving, but have never, in the history of our nation, allowed themselves to be suppressed or vanquished by oppressive forces.
“It is incontrovertible that the South South is a stronghold of the PDP and the people are fully mobilized for the March 9 election. Our members and supporter are in every polling unit, every collation center, all exit and entry points in the area and will use all legitimate means available in a democracy to defend themselves and their votes.
“In this regard, any person who yields him or herself as a tool in the hands of evil should therefore be ready to face the legitimate anger of the people.
“Moreover, the PDP cautions the APC to be mindful of the fact that the Niger Delta region is the mainstay of our national economy and that any assault on the zone is capable of spelling doom for our nation.
“The PDP calls the attention of the world to the devious devices of the APC against the South South as such constitutes a huge threat to our corporate existence as a nation.
“The PDP restates that the South South is our stronghold and calls on our members and supporters in the zone and, of course, the entire nation to boldly come out en-masse to vote on March 9 and use every legitimate means to monitor and protect their votes to the end.”