By Emmanuel Aziken
Is the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, crying wolf with its recent lamentations of democracy being endangered in Nigeria? A party which was not too long ago castigated for lacking internal democracy has lately been parroting threats to the country’s democratic culture.
Last Thursday, the party took its cries to a new decibel when it appealed to the international community to prevail on the All Progressives Congress, APC administration not to compromise the culture of transparency, democratic liberty, and fairness which it supposedly inherited from the PDP administration in 2015.
The exclamation of the PDP came in the wake of allegations of intimidation, witch-hunts and the use of state apparatus against the PDP.
“We want to bring to the notice of the European Union and the international community that it seems to us that the APC government wants to truncate democracy by harassment and intimidation, the PDP national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus said when he received an European Union delegation last Thursday.
“We can see the government of the day and all security agencies are operating as arms of the APC,” he added.
The day before that, that is on Wednesday, the PDP spokesman, Mr. Kola Ologbondinyan had issued a statement where he accused the APC government of conducting a witch-hunt against prominent members of the party.
“You are aware of the numerous exposed plots by the APC and its Federal Government to frame up and humiliate the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremmadu, as well as PDP governors, particularly, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and his Ekiti State counterpart, Governor Ayo Fayose,” Ologbondinyan, had deposed.
Ekweremadu had lately been on the radar of with an asset forfeiture case levelled against him by a Special Investigation Panel allegedly put together at the instance of APC officials of the government.
Senator Ekweremadu’s media assistant, Uche Anichukwu, had in a statement last Wednesday argued that it was against natural justice for lawyers of APC extraction to constitute themselves into a panel to try members of the opposition, relying on Decree 3 of 1984, now known as the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act.
The panel headed by Okoi Obono-Obla, a presidential assistant who is apparently a member of the APC, according to Anichukwu, is on vengeance mission borne out of the fact that his boss became the deputy president of the Senate against the desires of the APC.
“Should proper investigation devoid of bias and witch-hunt not require that Ekweremadu is invited to respond to the petition, assuming the panel had the constitutional powers to dabble into matters relating to assets declaration,” Anichukwu asked in his statement.
The SIP supposedly populated by APC chieftains and with Festus Keyamo, SAN, an APC member as counsel, Anichukwu fumed, had taken over the duty of the Code of Conduct Bureau in targeting his boss.
The matter of Ekweremadu being a target of the APC government has been especially latched upon by some democracy stakeholders on the point that he is the highest office holder in the PDP.
In October 2016, and after much expenditure of government resources, the administration withdrew a forgery case against Ekweremadu and the President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki. The withdrawal of the case followed allusions to a lack of material evidence against the duo over the claim that the Senate Standing Rules upon which they were elected was forged. Remarkably, the two men were not questioned in the investigations leading to their arraignment.
It is about the same shoddy process in the assets forfeiture case being levelled against Ekweremadu. His aide claims he has not been asked whether he owns the properties mentioned or whether some of them exist.
Many have also drawn inferences to the famed looters’ list revealed by the administration, all of them belonging to the PDP.
Of course, it would be to the interest of the APC to show the world that the PDP is truly a party of thieves and the APC is a congregation of saints. However, in doing so, the APC administration would need to show competence, creativity, and a little craftiness in proving it. But it has not.