The Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) government is doing everything possible to weaken the main opposition party in Nigeria ahead of 2019 general elections, Dr. Emmanuel Agbo, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has alleged.
Agbo, the immediate past chairman of PDP in Benue State and a top aspirant for the office of the Deputy National Secretary in the last botched national convention of the party made the assertion in an interview.
He was reacting to the recent decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to substitute the name of PDP’s candidate in the Ondo State governorship election holding on November 26, 2016, Eyitayo Jegede, SAN of the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the party with that of Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim in the camp of Ali Modu Sheriff.
INEC had said its decision was anchored on the latest ruling delivered by Justice Okon Abang of Federal High Court, Abuja, ordering that the nomination of Ibrahim, a product of the primaries conducted by Sheriff’s group in Ibadan outside Ondo State, without supervision by the electoral body, should be accepted as the PDP candidate for the Ondo guber poll.
Agbo, however, argued that there was no way INEC would have agreed, devoid of any prompting from those that want to see the total destruction of PDP before 2019, to take such a dubious and illogical decision, when no superior court has ruled against an earlier lower court verdict it has been relying on to acknowledge the Makarfi’s faction.
His words: “Without mincing words, I have said very categorically that what is happening about the PDP national leadership is either being masterminded or encouraged or being promoted by the APC government of today. Recent developments further confirm my convictions on those statements that I made. They went all out not just to rig but to forcefully deny the people of Edo their rightful choice in the most uncelebrated and democratically manipulated elections of all times in history. Of course, there is no gainsaying that the profile in terms rating and standing of the present APC government with the masses of Nigeria has terribly nosedived. And thinking ahead of 2019, they think that the only option left for them is to decimate the PDP as much as possible before 2019. Today, it is on record that the judges that they went all after, either because they gave judgement that was favourable to PDP against the promptings of the government of the day and trying to sell a dummy to the Nigerian society that it was because they took bribe from a PDP governor; all of those judges have turned around to now make statements on oath in their own handwriting that to the contrary, those who made overtures by trying to compromise them were very high-profile APC members in government, mentioning two Ministers. And nobody is talking about that.”
Continuing, Agbo said: “The judgement that INEC is predicating their decision upon, so that is not a compromised judgement? Has EFFC tried to dig into that? I am building a case of government, forcing the hands of INEC to take decision that will be to their advantage. All they are trying to do is foist a candidate in the name of PDP that PDP in Ondo State will not work for to give themselves edge in an election they know they are not on ground. Today, Abang is adjudged as the judge with the highest integrity in Nigeria in the considered opinion of INEC, EFCC and the APC government simply because he gives judgements as induced by them in line with their plans to decimate the opposition. Whether they like it or not, the will of the people to reclaim their country will surely prevail.”
On the recent inauguration of a parallel executive committee in Benue State by PDP members loyal to Sheriff, Agbo remarked: “That is very laughable. It is laughable because state leadership of our political party is a product of congresses. Leadership at either the wards, local governments, the senatorial districts or states and even at the zonal level, that is the six zones of the country, emerges as a result of congresses. How the composition of the congresses is formed are outlined unambiguously in our constitution. To arrive at congress stage, the party is mandatorily supposed to give 21 working days notices to INEC. INEC follows up by deploying their staff to monitor the conduct of those congresses. I was the last state chairman of the PDP in Benue; a member of NEC under Sheriff. NEC gave Sheriff the approval to write to INEC for our congresses. Under the same Sheriff those congresses held in the wards, local governments, states and at the zones and delegates therefrom now went to Port Harcourt. What that means is that at all levels lower than the national, congresses were entered into, conducted peacefully under the supervision of INEC as allowed by our law and produced leadership at those levels. This was under the then leadership of the same Sheriff before we went to Portharcourt. How will anybody now come and start raising parallel congresses at levels that congresses took place and produced leadership without any iota of problem. So, as far as we are concerned, those who claimed to have put in place a parallel exco for PDP in Benue State did nothing. There is only one PDP in Benue State and there’s no division.”