Buhari Plunging Nigeria Into Dictatorship –PDP Govs
Governors of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have raised the alarm that President Muhammadu Buhari was plunging Nigeria into dictatorship.
The governors under the auspices of the PDP Governors Forum gave the hint yesterday in a communiqué issued after a meeting of the forum held Monday in the inner chamber of the Bayelsa State Governor’s Office, Government House, Yenagoa.
The forum expressed worry over the recent invasion of the Akwa-Ibom State Government House by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), saying it was an unconstitutional act that should not be repeated under any guise.
Of the 13 PDP governors in the country, only two governors and four deputy governors were present at the meeting.
Governors at the meeting included Ondo State Olusegun Mimiko and the host, Seriake Dickson, Bayelsa, while the deputies that represented their governors were those of Delta, Kingsley Otuaro, Abia, Chris Akomas, Ebonyi, Kelechi Igwe, and Kogi, Yomi Awoniyi.
Governors of Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Cross River, Benue, Ekiti and Taraba states did not attend the meeting even as they did not also send any representatives.
In the communique signed by Mimiko, who is the forum’s chairman, the PDP governors criticised Buhari over the alleged invasion of Akwa Ibom State Government House by operatives of the DSS.
The DSS had invaded the Akwa-Ibom State Government House on the excuse that they had intelligence report that arms and ammunition were stockpiled there.
However, the operatives of the service did not find any illegal weapon in the government house, saying what they found was a stockpile of foreign currency.
Mimiko, who read the communique of the forum to a select group of reporters, insisted that the invasion was against the spirit, ethos, values and fundamental tenets of democratic norms and tradition, more so, with the existence of a duly-elected and sworn-in governor of the state.
The communique reads in part: “The forum condemns in very strong terms the violation of the sanctity of the Akwa Ibom State Government House by the Department of State Security.
“It is against the spirit, ethos, values and fundamental tenets of democratic norms and tradition; more so with the existence of a duly-elected and sworn-in executive governor of the state.
“The forum is worried, alarmed and shocked by such desecration. It is an assault on democracy and thus spells doom and poses imminent danger to our fledgling democracy.
“That action is one of such continuous attempts by the APC-controlled Federal Government to stifle the opposition and this is most unacceptable.
“We insist that the trend must be stopped henceforth. No democracy survives without a viable opposition in any part of the world.
“We once more advise the DSS to pre-occupy itself with the task of ensuring internal security and desist from daily harassing and intimidating members of the opposition.
“Finally, we equally implore the international community, CSOs and human rights activists to call the APC-led-Federal Government to respect the well-entrenched democratic traditions. We all have the duty to prevent this country from sliding into dictatorship”.
According to him, the PDP governors were worried and alarmed by such abuse of authority, stressing that it was an assault on democracy.
He said that the situation such as what happened in Akwa Ibom portended doom and posed serious threat to the country’s fledgling democracy.
He said that the action was one of the continuous attempts by the APC-controlled Federal Government to arm-twist the opposition.
“We implore the international community, the civil society organisations and human rights activists to call the All Progressives Party-led Federal Government to order and to insist that it respects the well-entrenched democratic tradition”, he added.
However, the reaction of the PDP governors was coming on the heels of similar condemnations, with the national leadership of PDP alleging that it was an attempt by the DSS operatives to kidnap the Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel.
Acting National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, who made the allegation in Abuja on Friday had accused the Lawan Daura-led DSS of executing a civilian coup d’état in the state, adding that operatives of the security agency ransacked the entire Government House in search of the governor.
Secondus had made the allegation while receiving the Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson, who was at the national headquarters of the party to submit his nomination form, decrying the action of the DSS as he warned that enough was enough.
Calling on the international community to intervene before matters get out of hand, Secondus alleged that the action of the DSS was influenced by the alleged plot by the APC-led government to forcefully take away PDP-controlled states of Abia, Delta, Taraba, Rivers and Akwa Ibom at all cost.
Secondus said: “Let me alert this nation that a few hours ago, there was a civilian coup d’état in Akwa-Ibom State where the Department of State Security headed by Lawan Daura invaded the Government House of Akwa-Ibom, ransacked the entire Government House, looking for the governor (Udom Emmanuel) to kidnap.
“Again, we want to alert this nation that this is part of the strategy of APC and its Federal Government to forcefully take Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Abia and Taraba states by force because they are not satisfied with the control of the Federal Government. They still want to take over by force all the states controlled by PDP.
“This nation belongs to all, to both PDP and APC. A situation where consistently, the DSS has assaulted states controlled by PDP, the international community should be aware of what is going on. Is this democracy? Is this how PDP ruled in 16 years? Enough is enough.
“We want to advise and point out to the President that we will not tolerate this anti-democratic arrangement by APC and DSS because it will be a reincarnation of the days of the Muhammed Lawan Rafindadi-led National Security Organisation (NSO). This is exactly the format.
Daura is a reincarnation of Rafindadi. And Nigerians are not ready for what happened 30 years ago. This is a clear warning that they should desist from taking laws into their hands.”
The Akwa-Ibom State House of Assembly had described the DSS invasion of the official residence of the State Governor as an assault on Nigeria’s democracy by terrorists.
In a statement jointly signed by all the lawmakers, they described it as an invasion and an attack on the freedom of the people.
They called on Buhari and the National Assembly to order a proper investigation on the “invasion”.
The lawmakers called attention of Nigerians to the rising level of political intolerance and violence that ignore our laws, insult our common humanity and our claims to civilisation.
“It is very unfortunate that the dominant political players who profess ‘change and the rule of law’ would willingly and so soon fail to walk the talk. They who accused others of impunity are now by their own conduct condoning impunity’, the statement added.
Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State had also condemned the invasion, calling for the immediate sack of the Director General of the agency, Alhaji Lawal Daura.
Fayose described the invasion as part of the sinister plot by the APC to circumvent the will of the people of the South-South and South-East States controlled by the PDP, using the DSS.
He said: “To say the least, invasion of the Akwa Ibom State Government House on Thursday ordered by Daura, is a rape of democracy and invitation to chaos and anarchy. It is authoritarian, dictatorial and I condemn it strongly.
“It is unfortunate that this is happening under President Buhari’s watch, and painful that Alhaji Lawal Daura is drawing Nigeria back to the Military era.”