Former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Magnus Abe, has accused the Peoples Democratic Party of making a malicious attempt to misinform President Muhammadu Buhari on the activities of the Nigerian Army and the Department of State Services at the Rivers State National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal.
Abe, who was the All Progressives Congress candidate for Rivers South-East Senatorial District in the last general elections, in a letter addressed to President Buhari, debunked the allegation by the PDP that he and other members of the APC in Rivers State were colluding with the Army and DSS to compromise the tribunal.
He described the said petition by the PDP Senators and House of Representatives’ members from Rivers State as baseless and “a cheap attempt to mislead your good self and the general public on what actually transpired at the tribunal and the circumstances surrounding it”.
The National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh had recently raised the alarm that the APC was using the Army and the DSS to compromise the Rivers State National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja.
But Abe described the petition by the PDP as a calculated attempt to ridicule and discredit not only the APC but also the “highly revered institution of the Nigerian Army and the Director General of the DSS”.
According to him, contrary to the claim by the PDP that the APC deployed the military to the tribunal, it was the tribunal which subpoenaed the Chief of Army Staff and the Director General of the DSS to appear before it and testify on what security operatives witnessed during the March 28 National Assembly elections in Rivers State.
“It is, therefore, mischievous and unreasonable for anybody, especially the PDP, Rivers State, to cast baseless aspersions on these gallant officers of the Nigerian Army and the DSS. One can only wonder whether it would not have been foolhardy for the Chief of Army Staff and the DG of the DSS to refuse to comply with the sacrosanct order of the tribunal.
“In fact, such an act would not only have been foolish, same is indeed a crime as refusal to comply with the tenor of a subpoena is punishable with a criminal contempt proceeding against the culprit”, Abe said.
Accusing the PDP of insincerity, the former Senator said the party deliberately refused to tell Buhari that the Army and the DSS were not the only ones that the tribunal invited to give evidence.
According to Abe, the tribunal also invited the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Mrs. Gesila Khan, whom he accused of colluding with the PDP to frustrate the case of the APC.
“No doubt, this willful concealment is a manifestation of the unholy alliance between the Rivers State PDP and Mrs. Gesila Khan. It is on record that despite numerous applications and solicitations to the REC for the release of electoral materials purportedly used by INEC, she has consistently refused to release the said documents to us in order to frustrate and jeopardise our chances in the proofs of our respective cases before the election tribunal”, Abe said in his letter to Mr. Buhari.