By Marie Nanlong
Jos—Plateau State People’s Democratic Party, PDP, State Campaign Council, has accused the state government and the All Progressives Congress, APC in the state, of plans to train and arm thugs for the coming elections.
However, the state government has dismissed PDP’s claims as a figment of the imagination of the party because its leaders are yet to recover from the shock over the mammoth crowd that attended APC’s rallies in state, indicating that PDP will lose the elections.
PDP, in a statement through Chairman, Media and Publicity of the Council, Yiljap Abraham, said: “The State Campaign Council condemns in the strongest terms the intimidation and unruliness that characterised the APC Presidential rally.
“It notes with serious concern the intimidation on peaceful residents perpetrated by young people who made life most uncomfortable for the people all through the rally.
“PDP maintains that the crowd that made the President’s speech impossible was ferried into Jos from Kaduna, Bauchi and Nasarawa states as well as the Federal Capital Territory.
“The Council expressed dismay at the Plateau State government’s directive to traditional rulers to go and line up to welcome the President, who was not on a state visit to Jos, but was here for his personal political activities.
“We have also received information about a deadly plan by the state government and the APC to train and arm thugs for the upcoming election.
“This is a recipe for disaster in a state that has for some time now been traumatized by wanton killings and displacement of many communities.
“PDP cautions the ruling party and the government to rethink this borrowed concept, because it is totally unacceptable and retrogressive in a Plateau that is intensely hungry for development, not violence.”
Reacting to PDP’s allegations, Mark Longyen, Senior Special Assistance to the Governor on Media and Publicity, said: “President Buhari’s visit to Jos for his re-election campaign rally has finally put paid to the lies that the PDP opposition have been bandying about that they stand a chance to win Plateau State in this year’s general elections.
“For instance, the mammoth crowd that besieged the entire Jos City, all in a bid to catch a glimpse of the President, was an eloquent testimony of the people’s love for him and the massive support base that the President, and indeed Governor Lalong, both have in Plateau State.
“Without a doubt, this will be replicated in the forthcoming elections.
“This is especially when you consider the mass defection that hit the main opposition party prior to the President’s rally.
“Indeed, with political juggernauts like Senator Victor Lar, Senator Satty Gogwim, Ambassador Chris Giwa, and their burgeoning supporters, among others, having defected from PDP to APC, I envisage that the election will be a walk over for APC.
“PDP is the vomit that nobody wants to swallow back and the Egypt that Nigerians, and indeed Plateau people, have left since the exodus of 2015 and do not want to return to, no matter what the prevailing circumstances may be.”