FROM: TAIWO AMODU, ABUJA
In spite of a court pronouncement declaring its existence illegal, the factional group in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Alhaji Kawu Baraje has restated its determination to reform the party and contribute its quota towards the evolution of a truly democratic Nigeria.
National Publicity Secretary of the faction, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, in a statement yesterday, decried what he called the witch-hunt, intimidation, indiscriminate arrests of members of the faction.
Eze detailed the sealing off of Adamawa Governor’s Lodge, the FCT declaration to demolish its new secretariat in Maitama, the withdrawal of security details of Kawu Baraje, Danjuma Goje and Abubukar Saraki, former chairman of the party and former governors of Gombe and Kwara states, respectively, as part of the orchestrated plot “to intimidate and overawe us, using various unconstitutional means to achieve their selfish goals.”
The statement reads in part: “The past few weeks in particular have witnessed the implementation of a well-coordinated and systematic plot to traumatise, annihilate and cripple us economically and politically, in flagrant disregard of Chapter IV Section 33 to 45 of the Nigerian Constitution that guarantees our fundamental human rights as Nigerians.
“A few examples of the excesses of these agents of confusion and enemies of democracy would suffice: Contrary to the provisions of Chapter IV Sections 42, 43 and 44 of the constitution, which guarantee our right as Nigerians to acquire and own property in any part of the country, our national secretariat and most of our state secretariats have been sealed up by the police on the orders of those in power. This is despite the fact that we still have a court case against Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and his National Working Committee (NWC).
“Two weeks ago, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), in its overzealousness to please President Jonathan, marked our sealed national secretariat for demolition, on the laughable excuse that it was originally approved as a residential building. Yet, this property was being used as the national secretariat of another political party, the National Democratic Party (NDP), before the New PDP acquired it – and the same FCTA kept mute!
“At that time, the FCTA did not realise that it violated land use but it now wants to demolish the building in a hurry simply because the authorities perceive the new owner (New PDP) to be anti-government! What is more, the Adamawa State Lodge, also in Abuja, which we were using as temporary national secretariat, has also been sealed off on the flimsy excuse that the area is not for commercial activities! This invidious crackdown has been extended to individual leaders of the New PDP. The legally acquired Abuja property of His Excellency, Dr. Rabiu Kwankwaso, the governor of Kano State, has been revoked by the tyrannical Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed. The same treatment has been meted to Senator Aisha Al-Hassan from Taraba State, whose event centre, A-Park Gardens, which has been in operation all these years, has suddenly been revoked by the FCTA and slated to be demolished at any time from now. Information available to us indicates that property in Abuja owned by other New PDP leaders may suffer the same fate.
“Today, the security details attached to Senators Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Danjuma Goje, former governors of Kwara and Gombe states respectively, have been withdrawn; so, too, the security details attached to our National Chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje. Of course, Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State was the first victim and now operates without an ADC and a CSO in order to pave way for his kidnapping or assassination if peaceful ways of removing him from office have failed. The police orderlies of the Rivers State SSG and those of Amaechi’s Chief of Staff have also been similarly withdrawn without any cogent reasons.
“The use of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to hound our members is no longer news. His Excellency, Timipre Sylva, the former governor of Bayelsa State, and Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki are two foremost examples. We understand that the worst is yet to come as this unserious organ masquerading as an anti-graft agency would soon be unleashed on all our key members in both the Senate and House of Representatives in an operation code-named “Operation Coerce Them Back to Tukur.”
While Baraje faction accused the President Jonathan administration of unleashing security agencies on voices of dissent, it also appealed to him for restrain to save the nation’s democracy
The group stated: “This ruthless trampling on our fundamental human rights leaves no one in doubt that the Jonathan administration is intolerant of opposing views. Nigerians can now see what we meant when we said that these people are no democrats. They are bent on turning our country into a Banana republic where the rights of Nigerians no longer count. Nigerians should prepare for the worst because today it is New PDP, but tomorrow it would certainly be somebody else.
“We also call on Nigerians to intensify prayers for us and our troubled nation, even as we restate our resolve not to go back on our sacred duty to reform the PDP and contribute our quota towards the evolution of a truly democratic Nigeria where the rights of all citizens are respected irrespective of their political affiliations.”
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