The All Progressives Congress (APC) has strongly condemned the acts of intolerance by Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, who has been working hard to obliterate the APC presence and also victimize the party’s members in the state.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Saturday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the Governor’s actions when he visited Kashere, the hometown of his predecessor, Senator Danjuma Goje, on Thursday were despicable and barbaric, and should be condemned by all right thinking people.
”During his visit, Gov. Dankwambo personally ordered the removal of all APC billboards and posters in the town, ordered the police and the army to break into Senator Goje’s family house, where they broke down doors, teargassed and arrested his relations, including children.
”The Governor also ordered the same security forces to break into the family house of Senator Goje’s wife, where they similarly destroyed doors and teargassed the occupants, including the 90-year-old father of Senator Goje’s wife and the Senator’s wife’s 70-year-old stepmother, while all her sisters and brothers were arrested.
”All those arrested, numbering over 50, are now being detained at the police headquarters in the state capital, Gombe, while the Governor has also ordered the arrest of anyone who tries to secure bail for those in detention. In Gombe town, the Governor has gone further to order the police to remove all APC billboards and posters in the town. In other words, as far as the Governor is concerned, it is a criminal offence for anyone to belong to the APC in his state.
”This is intolerance of the highest order and negates the tenets of democracy. It is important for the Governor’s party, the PDP, which has been professing political tolerance, to call the emerging little dictator to order before he destroys the state in a fit of primaeval rage,” it said.
The APC described as a cruel irony the fact that the PDP, which has been busy criticizing the APC for fielding an ‘old’ man as a presidential candidate, is home to a man who was born in post-independent Nigeria but has chosen to behave like a 19th century emperor.
”Nigeria has 170 million people and all of them cannot belong to the same political party. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which the Governor swore to uphold, allows freedom of association. Therefore, it is not only crude but downright unconstitutional for Gov. Dankwambo to be victimizing those who chose not to belong to his party.
”It is also uncharitable and brazen of the Governor to have treated his predecessor the way and manner he has treated Senator Goje. How will he feel if his successor treats him the same way, for no other reason than his choice of which party to belong to?” the party queried, urging Governor Dankwambo to toe the path of decency and tolerance henceforth.