The All Progressives Congress (APC) has raised the alarm over the plan by the federal government to use the security agencies, especially the Department of State Service, DSS, and the Police, to harass and intimidate the opposition with a view to weaking it ahead of the 2015 elections.
In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday by its national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the APC said the torrent of threats being issued recently by the minister of police affairs and the DSS, over alleged inflammatory statements by opposition leaders, is nothing but a thinly-veiled attempt at cowing the opposition and destabilising its ranks.
It said the strategy includes the ‘invitation’ of key opposition figures for questioning by the DSS, starting with the APC national publicity secretary, to be followed by arrests and detention of such figures.
APC said the impending clampdown is the PDP-led federal government’s response to the soaring profile of the opposition ahead of the polls, and called on local and international observers of the elections to keep a close eye on the unsavoury developments, which constitute a clear and present danger to the success of the elections.
“The minister of police affairs said publicly that he has already directed the inspector-general of police as well as the DSS to arrest anyone who makes inflammatory statements ahead of the 2015 elections, and then went ahead to castigate the APC, thus exposing the real reason for his directive.
“The minister had barely issued his orders when the DSS, which has unabashedly become a megaphone of the ruling PDP, fired its own warning, directed pointedly at ‘a serving governor calling on men of the armed forces to rise up in protest against constituted authority’, when nothing of such happened.
“If the Minister and indeed the security agencies were carrying out their duties as an official/agents of state rather than partisans, they would have realized that no one is more guilty of making inflammatory and even treasonable statements than the supporters of the President and members of the PDP.
“Yet, not once has the Minister, and the security agencies under his control, called these people to order. There is no better indication of the mindset of these threats-issuing Minister and the security agencies under his control than their glaring double-standard and vexatious partisanship. This is not how to run the affairs of state”, the party said.
It recalled that a series of inflammatory, insulting and downright treasonable comments by supporters of President Goodluck Jonathan and officials of the PDP all went without as much as a whimper from those who are now howling at the opposition for statements that are neither inflammatory nor treasonable.
“A a die-hard supporter of President Goodluck Jonathan once threatened that there will be blood on the streets if the President is not re-elected, without anyone calling him to order. He recently said the President has already won the yet-to-be conducted Feb. 14 presidential election, suggesting that the election will be a mere formality. No one called him to order.
“Another supporter of the President, Chief Edwin Clark, said if the opposition had its way, it would poison President Jonathan just to take power. The Minister of Police Affairs and the security agencies under his control snored the comment away.
“PDP National Secretary Wale Oladipo called the presidential candidate of the APC, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, a ‘semi-literate jackboot’, PDP National Publicity Secretary Olisa Metuh heaped abuses on APC leaders in an ill-tempered statement arising from a disoriented PDP in the aftermath of the hugely-successful APC national convention while a spokesman for the President called Gen. Buhari names for being a ‘poor’ man, yet this Minister and his agencies did not see anything inflammatory in all these statements, all because they came from members and supporters of the ruling party.
“We know that Nigerians as well as the international community are watching closely and documenting these developments. It is important to do so if they are to make informed comments on the outcome of the forthcoming polls.
“On our part, we will continue to document the developments while maintaining a responsible and purposeful public discourse, highlighted by issues and devoid of the kind of inflammatory and treasonable comments that PDP and Presidency officials have been spewing out”, APC said.