Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
The People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Kaduna state, has ‘revealed’ that there are underground plans by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state to intimidate, arrest and detain influential opposition party members in the state over spurious charges few days to the general elections.
The deputy director general (DDG) of Kaduna state PDP Campaign Organisation, Comrade Danjuma Bello Sarki, made the revelation Sunday, while briefing journalists on the circumstances surrounding the arrest of the campaign director of media of PDP by DSS in the state for reasons yet to be informed.
He said those marked down for clampdown includes former governor of Kaduna state and former national chairman, Caretaker Committee of the PDP, Alh. Ahmed Makarfi, former governor of Kaduna state, Alh. Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, Kaduna state chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Chief Felix Hassan Hyat and former Kaduna state chairman of the PDP, Alh. Audi Yaro Makama.
Others are Kaduna state secretary of the PDP, Alh. Ibrahim Wusono, the DG, Kaduna state PDP Campaign Organisation, Ambassador Sule Buba, the Deputy DG, Kaduna state PDP Campaign Organisation, Comrade Danjuma Bello Sarki and former National Legal Adviser of the PDP, Barrister Mark Jacob Nzamah, respectively.
According to Danjuma Sariki, who briefed the press on behalf of his superior, the Kaduna state Director of the Directorate of State Security Service, DSS, Ahmadu Idris, placed a curious invitation to Mr. Ben Bako, the Director, Media Committee, Kaduna State PDP Campaign Organisation to his office.
He continued that “As a law abiding citizen with nothing to fear or hide, Mr. Bako dutifully honoured the invitation of the DSS. He was kept incommunicado for several hours, and finally whisked to Abuja in the late hours of the night.
Reasons for his arrest are yet unknown. Information, however, posted on Facebook page of the Deputy Campaign DG, Ashiru/Marshal Campaign Organisation, Comrade Danjuma Sarki, alleged that the arrest was orchestrated to “persecute and silence the opposition in the last days of the election” in Kaduna state. “No matter the level of intimidation, harassment and arrest, we cannot be silenced,” he stated.
“We are very much aware that, long before now, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kaduna state, under the leadership of Governor Nasir el-Rufai, has penned down a long list of influential PDP members in the state for intimidation, arrest and detention over spurious charges few days to the general elections.
“We are also aware that several youth leaders of the PDP in the state, women leaders and staunch supporters of the PDP, including some public commentators, are to be locked up shortly before the elections. The plan is to lock away 150 leaders of the PDP at the State and Local Government Areas on trumped-up charges of ‘hate speech’ during campaign rallies. The intention is to send fears and weaken the spirit of the campaign, and to stir crisis in the state.
“But, unknown to Governor el-Rufai and the DSS, the more he arrests us, the stronger the PDP gets. It is too late to reverse the determination of the traumatised people of Kaduna state. Nasir el-Rufai is the biggest threat to local and global peace. If anyone deserves impeachment, arrest or arraignment for hate speech over the years, it has to be him. His tweets over the years have shown him to be an expert in hate speech as a private citizen and still as a governor.
“The world today is still outraged by the murderous threats of Governor Nasir el-Rufai to International Election Observers when he vowed that, should any of them intervene contrary to the designs and expectation of the APC during and after elections, they would return home in body bags. Curiously, the Presidency came out in full support of that crude, barbaric bravado, which carries a costly diplomatic price,” he said.
The PDP group stated that “From his call for violent assault to the three Senators in Kaduna state; his denigrating reference to the Pope over his rejection by the electorates in Kaduna state and his latest threat, el-Rufai remains the greatest albatross to local and international peace in Nigeria today, not Mr. Ben Bako of the PDP.
“Again, el-Rufai is doing everything within his means to attract huge numbers of military personnel, Police, DSS, Civil Defence Corpse and allied agencies, which he will influence and use for rigging the elections. We are also aware of all his frolicking with the INEC leadership in the state and all the meetings they have been having,” they revealed.
Accordingly, the y said el-Rufai is just wasting his time and squandering state resources, adding that, “If elections are rescheduled in Kaduna state 100 times, the APC will fall same number of times,” saying “Kaduna state has made up its mind. The tricks of the APC are over.”
They however resolved that, PDP in Kaduna state, “will not be drawn into any violent conflict, no matter the provocation. Let us reiterate for the records: The PDP in Kaduna state is determined and totally committed to a violent-free polls. No member or supporter of the PDP must be involved in breaking the law.
“In the same manner, the PDP is solidly serious about ensuring that every vote cast in the state counts. We are calling on our members and supporters to ensure that they come out in large numbers and vote. They must ensure that their votes are counted, recorded and securely moved to the next collation centre. On this, we are ready to use every legal means to protect our franchise. No amount of intimidation, threat, blackmail and illegal use of state force will deter us from this aspect,” they said.
The party called for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Ben Bako after being harassed and illegally detained without trial for over 24 hours. “The DSS has become compromised and partisan in Kaduna state, and we say NO to such development. We believe that Kaduna State Director of the DSS, Ahmadu Idris, will not be neutral in the 2019 general elections, and we call for his immediate redeployment. We call on both Local and International Election Observers to take special interest in Kaduna state elections.”