By; ODEYEMI SAMUEL, Akure.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State has sent a save our soul (SOS) message to the Inspector General of Police over what they described as harassing of its members.
A statement signed by the Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Ondo State, Mr. Banji Okunomo said intimidating members of the party would discomfit people as the PDP prepares for the flag off of its campaigns.
He noted that such a development would make members feel politically unsafe in Ondo State.
According to Okunomo, about 50 members of the party are being arrested and harassed by the Nigeria Police in the State.
His words: “Reports reaching the party secretariat say that some party faithfuls particularly youth leaders of the PDP in Ondo State are being invited for questioning by the Police since morning.
“This is coming on the eve of the flag off of the party’s campaign which comes up tomorrow.
“The information we got is that the arrest is ongoing knowing full well that tomorrow is the flag off of the party’s campaign”, he said.
Okunomo who noted that arrest of party members is ill timed said the State is preparing for governorship election and as such, things that could tell on the peace of the State should not be allowed.
“Election is around the corner and everybody is tightening his belt to ensure victory at the polls.
“Much as we are not saying that security agencies should not perform their duties, if, especially, they find anybody wanting in conduct or behaviour, we also want to say that any act on the part of these security agents should be properly channeled at this period where what is rampant in Nigeria now is that anybody, no matter how highly placed could be harassed, democratic norms are not respected and there is much of intimidation.
“All we are saying as a party is that if things are allowed to go on the way they are, and some of these acts are left unchecked, it would spell doom for our democracy. We do not want a repeat of 1983 saga in Ondo State
“This is why we are raising this alarm now so that things could be done appropriately. Whoever is found to have committed an offence should be shown to the whole world and the due process of prosecution should not be by passed.
“Things should not be done by arresting or intimidating anybody especially when it is believed that such has political motives”, he said.
He posited that the PDP unlike APC would always encourage peace and tranquillity saying development can only thrive under such an atmosphere.
“What we are saying is that we as a party will not support that and we will tolerate and accept that. I also want to say that our party has been a peaceful one since inception.
“We do not indulge in violence or any act of criminality like others, in our party. Even when we were having our internal intrigues in the party, we have always comported ourselves. Everyone knows that this party and Ondo State have been peace loving and everybody admires the State.
“So, we do not want anybody to compound the situation or raise the temperature of crisis in Ondo State because our governorship election is around the corner.
“Again, we appeal that such an act should be discouraged. Even though we are aware that the arrested persons are with men of the SIB, we would not disclose their identities for security reasons.
“We are raising our voice to the whole world that democracy can only thrive where freedom of expression and freedom of association with choice political parties is allowed”.
“We want to call on President Buhari to use his good offices to call the police to order so that our hard earned democracy would not be derailed”, he said.
By; ODEYEMI SAMUEL, Akure.