*Demands immediate release of Kaduna chapter’s spokesperson
Tunde Opalana, AbujaThe Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has bemoaned and completely rejected what was described as the on-going clampdown, unlawful arrest and detention of its officials and members in various parts of the country by the Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the general election. The party declared the action as highly provocative and a direct invitation to anarchy and a political crisis that is capable of derailing our democratic order. The party’s spokesperson and Director, Media & Publicity of the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organization (PPCO), Kola Ologbondiyan declared this at a press conference in Abuja on Monday. He said “our party is concerned over the unwarranted arrest of the Director of Media Committee of the Kaduna state PDP Governorship Campaign Organization, Mr. Ben Bako, who has been detained by the Department of State Services (DSS) since last weekend. “We are aware that Mr. Ben Bako’s arrest is prelude to the planned clampdown of our campaign officials by the Buhari Presidency and the APC, whose aim is to instill fear in the polity, incite crisis and derail the electoral process, having realized that they have lost in this election ahead of the polls. “It is instructive to state that the DSS has given no reason for Mr. Ben Bako’s arrest and detention, but only acted on the orders of the APC as expressed by the Assistant Publicity Secretary of Kaduna APC, Salisu Tanko Wusono, who openly stated that Mr. Bako deserves his ordeal. “Further reports reaching us at the PDP from our Kaduna State chapter indicate that many of our leaders including former governors of Kaduna state, Senator Ahmed Markarfi and Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero; PDP Kaduna state chapter chairman, Chief Felix Hyat and the former PDP state chairman, Alhaji Yahaya Yaro Makama among others, have been listed for clamp down and are now being trailed by agents of the APC. “We have also been informed of plots by the APC and the Buhari Presidency to track down and detain PDP critical stakeholders in other parts of the country, so as to put them out of circulation before and during the general elections”, he said. However, the PDP unequivocally cautioned the Buhari Presidency and the APC to note that their plot, as well as the continued detention of Ben Bako, is setting the stage for a vehement resistance by the people, which is capable of triggering crisis and disrupting the fragile peace in Kaduna state. The PDP therefore demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Ben Bako by the DSS without hurt or further harassment. The PDP also stressed that it will hold the APC and the Buhari Presidency directly responsible should any harm, whatsoever, befall any of our leaders or members, particularly in Kaduna state ahead of the elections. He said Kaduna State is a PDP stronghold and our party is not ready to stomach any further harassment of our leaders, officials and members; before, during and after the general elections. The party called on the National Peace Committee to note, as well as speak out against the provocations by the APC and the Buhari Presidency against our party, which are in total negation of the spirit and letters of the peace accord.