Nigeria: Use Of Security Forces For Partisan Politics Worries Opposition

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Nigeria: Use Of Security Forces For Partisan Politics Worries Opposition

Akanimo Sampson

Akanimo Sampson is a seasoned Nigerian journalist and editor.
Akanimo Sampson

The frequent deployment of armed security forces in Nigeria for partisan political activities is becoming a major source of worry for the opposition ahead of the 2019 general elections billed for this coming February.

Already, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a leading opposition party in the country, has cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), a ruling party, to perish the on-going plot to use the police as a tool to intimidate voters and rig the Irepodun/Ekiti/Oke-Ero/Isin Federal Constituency by-election, in Kwara State, scheduled for Saturday.

This is coming as officials of the Akwa Ibom State Government are alleging that the Economic Financial and Crimes Commission (EFCC) is meddling in the affairs of the state.

Since the defection of the former governor of the state- Godswill Akpabio- to the APC, the ruling party has been fiendishly battling to wrestle power from the big oil state under the thumb of the PDP. The battle to take over Akwa Ibom is taking all known and unknown forms.

At the moment, the anti-graft agency is alleged to be probing the state government over withdrawal of N6.5 billion from the state coffers.

The state Information and Strategy Commissioner, Charles Udoh, in a reaction said, ‘’we wish to state emphatically as follows: This is a malicious allegation and a desperate face saving effort by the EFCC to justify the several illegalities it has allowed itself to be used by the opposition to perpetrate against the Akwa Ibom State Government which have attracted widespread condemnation within and outside the country.

‘’For avoidance of doubt, the constitution and laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria authorizes only the state House of Assembly and the state Auditor-General to pry into the financial dealings of a state government

‘’For the records, the current administration has made Akwa Ibom State one of the few states; if not the only state that publishes its annual audited financial statements. This underscores the state government’s commitment to transparency, accountability and integrity in governance.

‘’Copies of the state’s annual audited financial statements are available in the public domain. It is ludicrous that the EFCC has allowed itself to degenerate into a tool of loppsided political mudsling and witch-hunting used by the opposition in the state to cast aspersions on the integrity of the Akwa Ibom State Government.

‘’EFCC has sadly condescended to regurgitating the story in a flagrant act of impunity against existing laws of Nigeria. The Akwa Ibom State Government will do all within its lawful limits to protect the integrity of governance in the state, and had served notices of contempt to the EFCC and would not be dragged into a public discourse on a matter that is patently subjudice.

‘’This matter is before the Federal High Court Uyo’’.

In the mean time, PDP is cautioning the reelection seeking President Buhari and the APC to bear in mind that such a plot will be a direct invitation to crisis, as the people of Kwara State are already fully rallied behind them in firm resistance and to dismantle all APC rigging machinery at the polls.

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, claimed in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, on Tuesday that having realised that there was no way APC can win in any election in Kwara state, after allegedly being rejected by the people, ‘’APC and the Buhari Presidency are bent on manipulating the electoral process, including using our security agencies, particularly, the police against the will of the people’’.

‘’The PDP is privy to clandestine meetings at the Presidency, where APC leaders handed down orders to the police high command to compromise the security architecture in Kwara state by transferring the District Police Officers (DPOs) in the nine police districts of the Federal Constituency and replacing them with officers believed to be pliable to instructions to execute the APC’s rigging script in the election’’, the party spokesman said.

According to him, the people of Kwara already have details of the brief allegedly handed to the new DPOs, including providing cover for APC thugs procured to unleash violence on voters and PDP supporters, snatch ballot boxes and disrupt elections in certain areas as well as to alter election results to favour of the APC candidate.

Adding, he said, ‘’the people are also aware of the directives to harass, intimidate, arrest, and detain indigenes of Kwara state, and to provide cover for the importation of aliens from other areas by the APC to participate in the election.

‘’The PDP is therefore cautioning the APC and their team of compromised security and electoral officials to retrace their steps or face the full wrath of the people of Kwara state, particularly, those in Irepodun/Ekiti/Oke-Ero/Isin Federal Constituency, who are now at full alert and completely rallied to protect their political territory and to defend their votes to the end with every means available to them as free citizens under the law.

‘’It is a settled fact that Irepodun/Ekiti/Oke-Ero/Isin Federal Constituency and indeed, Kwara state, remains the stronghold of the PDP. Our candidate, Saheed Alatishe, enjoys the support of the overwhelming majority of the people and they are not ready to yield their mandate to any other person, no matter the level of intimidation or threat from the enemies of democracy.’’

This post was written by Akanimo Sampson.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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