The National Chairman of the newly registered Peoples Democratic Movement, PDM, Bashir Ibrahim, has berated President Goodluck Jonathan over Sunday’s disruption of the meeting of G-7 governors at the Kano State governor’s Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja.
The meeting was reportedly disrupted for some minutes by police officers from the Asokoro Division led by the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, CSP Nnanna Ama, who said he was acting on ‘orders from above’.
Speaking with reporters on Monday at the PDM National Headquarters in Abuja during a courtesy call by decampees from the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, led by Senator Rufai Hanga, Mr. Ibrahim said, “What happened yesterday (Sunday) is a very sad commentary on our democracy, and I am saying this with all sense of responsibility and seriousness; that elected governors, people elected by Nigerians in their states, could not meet in Government House, is very sad indeed.”
He decried what he described as intolerance and highhandedness being displayed by the president using the instrumentality of government apparatus. He said Mr. Jonathan’s action was now making life unbearable for all discernible forces against the ruling party.
“People say that President Jonathan is harmless, that he could not even harm a fly, that Nigerians are not fair to him, and that there is a gang up of the opposition against him.
“President Jonathan was the one who sent Vincent Ogbulafor packing as chairman of the PDP. He also sent away Nwodo as chairman of the PDP – all out of intolerance. He sent the governor of his state, Timipre Sylva, packing. And now, he is after the governor of Rivers State,” he said.
He also pointed out that the president chose to recognise Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State, who got 16 votes against Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, who scored 19 votes in the Nigeria Governors Forum election last May.
“Now we are at the stage where these governors cannot meet anymore without harassment from the President,” he said.
“No policeman, a DPO for that matter, will go and try to disrupt a meeting of elected governors – chief executives of seven states of the federation – without instructions from the Inspector General of the Police; and the Inspector General of the Police will dare not order this without instruction from the president. This is absolutely unacceptable.”
Mr. Ibrahim recalled that in the Second Republic (1979-1983), some progressive governors confronted President Shehu Shagari, noting that they had a free hand and nobody harassed them.
“25 years after, we have regressed; the country is becoming a Police state, whereby Governors cannot meet without harassment by the police. This will not be acceptable to any patriotic Nigerian and anybody who wants democracy to thrive in this country. The message should be sent to the PDP Federal Government that Nigeria is not a banana republic. People fought for this democracy and we are not going to watch a rogue political party to derail this democracy. We are going to fight to re-establish our freedom as Nigerian citizens, and we are going to make sure that this democracy outlives this political party,” Mr. Ibrahim said.
Earlier on, the PDM chairman had welcomed the decampees into the party which he said was open, fair, equitable, just and working for positive political change.
“The PDM has learned from the mistakes of other parties, in the areas of gross abuse of registration, party ownership, godfatherism and lack of internal democracy. We would not fall into such political cesspit. So, we have cultivated a culture of level-playing field for all through online registration, well-structured stakeholder committees and planned congresses,” he said.
In his own remarks, Mr. Hanga stated that members of defunct CPC have agreed to join the PDM unconditionally.
“The personalities in PDM, together with its constitution and manifestoes agree with our own ideology of progressive politicking and human development. As such, we are here from all nooks and crannies of the country to identify with PDM and its leadership. We are happy to settle down in PDM and work out the way forward for political success which the PDM represents. And together we shall bring succor and development to Nigeria,” he said.