By Akanimo Sampson
Indicators that next year’s elections in Nigeria might not be peaceful and credible as the authorities have been promising have started to creep into the open the more.
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, has been quite consistent on criticising the Police as a political army of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Abuja has largely ignored his strong views on the disturbing development in a country that can easily cycle into electoral violence.
Now, the Sokoto State wing of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has come out to indict the police, thus fueling the likely direction as 2019 approaches.
State Publicity Secretary of the party, Abdullahi Yusuf Hausawa, said in a statement, ‘’we have lost confidence and trust in the Nigeria Police. This is because from all indications they have become partisan, segregative and partial by dancing to the tune of the ruling party, APC only and playing their cards at will.’’
This was coming as the national spokesman of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, was alleging that President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to constitute his campaign council or developed a clear-cut campaign blueprint, 61 days to the February Presidential election, is an indication that he is not preparing to stand elections.
‘’Mr. President and his party, APC have failed to set up a campaign structure because they are banking on their plots with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to manipulate the electoral process and rig for them. It is clear that President Buhari has been overwhelmed over his rejection by a vast majority of Nigerians, who are bearing the brunt of his incompetent and corrupt administration; that is why he cannot articulate any campaign message after the failed launch of his copied and widely spurned Next Level mantra.
‘’All over the world, patriotic and obligated leaders, who are seeking (re-) elections, go to the electorate to canvass for votes with their messages and solutions. But our President and the APC have been busy
procuring phony endorsements, harassing and intimidating opposition leaders, compromising the electoral body to create illegal voting centers, delaying election budgets and holding the process to ransom by refusing to sign amendments to the Electoral Act that eliminate avenues for rigging.
‘’President Buhari, who is already reputed to have wrecked our once robust economy, crippled our critical sectors, entrenched corruption at the high places, and whose administration has dangerously divided our nation with escalated violence and daily bloodletting, is seeking re-election with no solution to offer on any critical sector of our economy. He has nothing to offer on security; he has no message on education, agriculture, health, energy, power, employment, manufacturing and other key sectors, which he wrecked in the last three and half years.
‘’Instead of seeking ways to make amends, President Buhari, ostensibly out of frustration over his rejection and imminent electoral defeat in 2019, has arrogantly told Nigerians to be ready to face more suffering and hardship in the remaining part of his tenure. On our own part, our party and Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, are working hard, campaigning across the country and offering solutions, for which we have continued to receive overwhelming support from majority of Nigerians, ahead of the 2019 general elections.
‘’It is instructive for President Buhari and APC to note that they cannot have their way, as Nigerians are determined in their resolve to resist any attempt by the APC to rig in this election’’, Ologbondiyan said for the PDP.
For the Sokoto wing of the party, police operatives from Abuja allegedly invaded their state ‘’with just no mission other than that of illegal apprehension of our members who were transferred to Abuja without charging them for committing any offence after being detained for more than a week’’.
‘’We are bringing to the notice of the general public the incessant harassment, intimidation, molestation, unlawful arrest and unwarranted detention of our esteemed members without arraignment at any court of law for over one week’’, Sokoto PDP said.
According to them, ‘’the use of force by the police to suppress the opposition in Sokoto through incessant arrests and detentions has become so alarming, so much so that the police have turned into tools of suppression, persecution and fear instilling in the people of our dear state.
‘’The use of Special Anti-armed Robbery Squad (SARS) to operate in commando style of arresting and detaining our supporters for two weeks without trial or taking them to court is against the rule of law and due process.
‘’We will like to remind the IGP that, we will not refrain from our firm stand to ensure justice and fairness to our teeming party supporters without fear of any intimidation or persecution from the sponsors of campaign of calumny against our party, the personality of our Governor and the good people of Sokoto.
‘’We will use all constitutional and legal avenues to fight for our rights of freedom of association, political expression and movement. No amount of intimidation and harassment can frighten and deter us from working very hard to realize our electoral plans of ensuring that all our candidates for the 2019 polls are successful.
‘’We are saying so, because we have heard in clear terms, that President Buhari has promised fairness, equality and justice among all Nigerians without fear or favour, affection or ill will, different from the acts of victimisation and injustice being perpetrated by the police.
‘’While our citizens, including our dear party supporters are being robbed and attacked daily by some group of sponsored and covered miscreants around the state capital, our policemen have turned into partisan tools. Due to their partisanship, we can reasonably say that some of the policemen are collaborating with these criminals to inflict fear into the minds of innocent peace loving people of Sokoto.’