This does not seem to be the best of times for leaders of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nigeria. Just as some interest groups are pressuring the party to back down from contesting the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) presidential victory, some citizen groups are urging the party on.
But in a seeming bid to cow the party from pressing ahead with the resolve of their presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to wrestle power from President Muhammadu Buhari through the legal process, functionaries of the party are increasingly receiving raw deals from the Nigerian state.
As part of the seeming repression agenda of the authorities, the Deputy Director General (Admin) of PDP’s Presidential Campaign Organisation, Tanimu Turaki SAN, was on Monday arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for what the party described as ‘’no just cause’’.
PDP’s Spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, says Turaki’s arrest and detention is part of the grand plot by the Buhari Presidency and the APC to use state apparatus of power to intimidate their leaders and scuttle the party’s determination to reclaim ‘’our February 23, 2019 Presidential election victory in court’’.
This is playing out as the organisation of Fulani herdsmen in the country, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), in Kebbi State revealed that peace will continue to elude Nigeria if illegal arms are allowed to remain in the hands of unauthorised persons.
Chairman of the group, Muhammad Ardo-Zuru, who spoke in Birnin-Kebbi, the state capital, urged security agencies across the country to retrieve what he described as ‘’illegally-acquired weapons’’ from unauthorised persons.
According to the herders, ‘’sustainable peace will continue to elude us if such weapons, including guns and ammunition are left in the hands of criminals. For peace to endure in the country, authorities will have to ensure deliberate steps are taken to mop up all guns and ammunition in criminal hands.
While saying that mopping up of such weapons should be in addition to prosecuting all those found wanting in the killing of innocent people, no matter how highly placed they are, Ardo-Zuru also expressed the desire of the Miyetti Allah to cooperate with government and security agencies to maintain peace.
‘’We are not in support of the call that communities should take laws into their hands, in the name of defending themselves. Those behind recent killings are only out to provoke other sections so they can destabilise the country.
‘’Our members have been killed across the country, but as leaders, we cannot allow them to avenge. We realised that those who attacked Fulani people in Taraba, Benue and Kaduna states carried out those attacks purposely to destabilise the country’’, the herders said.
Ologbondiyan however, argued that since Atiku and the PDP expressed their unwavering determination to reclaim their alleged electoral victory at the tribunal, armed with ‘’overwhelming evidence, our leaders have been subjected to escalated harassments, constant threats, blackmails, cajoling and contrivances by the APC to drop our legal option’’.
While demanding for the immediate and unconditional release of Turaki, PDP said it was instructive to state that he was arrested and detained upon invitation by the EFCC to endorse a bail document for the Finance Director of Atiku Abubakar’s company, Babalele Abdullahi, who was arrested earlier by the anti-graft agency over ‘’flimsy’’ allegations.
The embattled opposition party however, states in clear terms that the APC and the Buhari
Presidency are fighting a lost battle as ‘’no amount of harassment and threats will ever make the party to buckle in its determination to take back the mandate, in line with the wishes and aspirations of Nigerians.
‘’Nigerians are resolute on this struggle to reclaim the mandate freely given to Atiku Abubakar at the polls and the PDP will pursue this decision to its logical end and secure justice for the Nigerian people.’’