From Joe Effiong, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has raised the alarm over an alleged sinister plot by the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) to frame up, arrest and detain critical stakeholders of the party, throughout the electioneering season.
But, the APC has dismissed the allegation as idle talk, claiming they (APC) are too busy to plan any evil, instead of focusing on the coming elections.
The PDP has, however, insisted that an intelligence report reaching the party has it that plans have been concluded to ensure that during APC’s rallies, buses branded as PDP buses or vehicles bearing state government number plates, would be loaded with arms and occupied by some criminals, heading to the venue of the APC rally.
“On approaching, the buses and their occupants would be arrested and the contents of the buses displayed as a major security breakthrough. Additionally, the criminals will mention some PDP top shots as their financiers, necessitating their arrest and subsequent prosecution under the Anti-terrorism Act.
Chairman of PDP, Obong Paul Ekpo, who made the allegation in Uyo, yesterday, said the plot, which was hatched and sponsored by the APC, in order to facilitate the arrest and incarceration of the key leaders of the party and keep them away from circulation throughout the elections.
“This is, to say the least, very crude, anachronistic and antediluvian, signaling APCs imminent defeat at the approaching polls.
“We’ve stated before and will reiterate now, that we are a peace loving party, operating within the ambit of the law. Our leaders who are currently being targeted by the opposition are innocent Nigerians with proven integrity. They do not engage in arms stockpiling or procurement of violence in any form. It is, therefore, very unfortunate that people who should be planning for elections are rather hatching evil plans on how to arrest people.
“It’s evident, even from the peaceful way we conducted our primaries, that we are very peaceful people. Pre and post-primaries, there wasn’t a single gunshot, or death unlike the APC, where scores of people were reported dead in different parts of the state. In Okobo Local Government Area, an entire police station was razed by supporters of an APC aspirant, who felt shortchanged during their primaries
“In the past few weeks, the leadership of the party has been inundated with calls from different parts of the state, where our supporters have been wantonly arrested and incarcerated, without any lawful justification
“In Essien Udim, scores of our youths and elders have been arrested on trumped up charges of defacing or destroying posters belonging to the president. In Nsit Atai, our supporters are slammed with grave charges, just to cause the court to deny them bail. In Nsit Ibom, one of our supporters was stabbed by a member of the opposition in front of the DPO, and till date, the assailant has not been pulled in for question or arrested. In Ikot Abasi, people who refused to support their brother, are mercilessly beaten and harassed. Even journalists sympathetic to our cause are, daily, harassed and intimidated.
“We can assure the opposition, that no amount of arrest and intimidation will bend the will of the people. The greater the opposition, the more resolute the will of the people will be to ensure their resounding failure. Our people will vote their choice and defend their votes,” the party said.
The PDP, however, reiterated that its members have not and will not send anybody to disrupt rallies or meetings of any other political party.
The party also called on security agencies to note the intelligence and act swiftly. Recalling that during the House of Assembly imbroglio, the party had notified of an impending attack on the assembly.
It regretted that the PDP have been victims of the wanton destruction of publicity materials.
“Our billboards and other campaign materials have been maliciously destroyed and, in reaction, we wrote to the police seeking their intervention. Up till now, we have not been informed of any warning, apprehension or arrest on the subject matter, rather, we are witnessing arrest of PDP supporters for the destruction of non-existing billboards of the opposition.”
But, reacting to the allegation, the state chairman of the APC, Mr Ini Okopido, told Daily Sun it was news to him as he was never aware of such an evil plot.
“You know, we are concentrating all our efforts in mobilising Akwa Ibom people to vote for APC. Nobody is thinking of evil. If they are planning evil, it will go with them because nobody in APC is thinking along that line.
“They’ve been going about destroying our billboards and doing all sorts of things. All we are interested in is to take over power. Of course, they know we are mobilising towards that. If PDP is planning that kind of thing, that is their business,” Okopido said.
Regardless, the Akwa Ibom Chapter of the PDP, however, urged supporters of the party not to fear, but remain conscious that, “We serve a living God, who is able to fight for us. The scripture in Psalms 70:2 is very prophetic; it states that may those who want to take my life be put to shame and confusion; may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace. Amen.”