National leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday raised the alarm that the All Progressives Congress, APC, has concluded plans to effect the arrest of Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu on trumped-up charges.
Since Ekweremadu emerged as the Deputy Senate President on June 9, he has been under intense pressure from the APC to resign on the ground that the position must be occupied by one of their own.
Addressing a press conference at PDP National Secretariat, Abuja, the National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, said that following the refusal of Ekweremadu to resign, some members of the APC wrote a petition to the Inspector-General of Police alleging that he doctored the Senate Rules to pave way for his election.
“As we address you today, our democracy is facing a serious danger. We are at the verge of a quick slide into dictatorship and the personal freedom entrenched in the polity in the last 16 years by the PDP is about to be obliterated.
“We wish to alert all Nigerians and the international community that there is indeed a clear and present danger of threat to the lives of key opposition leaders in Nigeria.
“In the last few weeks, key PDP members have become an endangered group for playing their opposition role in providing constructive criticisms to the ruling party in their apparent lack of capacity to get organized and form a government; their interference in the activities of the National Assembly and the demand for the implementation of their campaign promises to Nigerians.
“As we address you today, some key leaders of our party have been under threat since the emergence of the leadership of the National Assembly which did not go the way of the leadership of the APC, particularly, the election of PDP’s Senator Ike Ekweremadu as Deputy Senate President.
“The leadership of the PDP has been made aware of various threats to life and other forms of intimidation and blackmail against Senator Ekweremadu from the APC.
“As you may know, the APC leaders have not hidden their bitterness and resentment towards Senator Ekweremadu whose offense is the privilege of being elected by his colleagues (APC and PDP senators alike) as Deputy Senate President in line with the Standing Rules of the Senate and the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Since President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement that Senator Ekweremadu’s election was ‘unacceptable’ to his party, the Deputy Senate President, who can only be removed by the Senate has come under threats and intense pressure from APC leaders to resign and allow a senator from the ruling party to take his position.
“However, having failed to get him to resign, the APC has now engaged in heinous plots to force him out of office, a design, which totally negates the independence of the legislature and the spirit and letters of the constitution of Nigeria.
“Apparently to ensure that the agenda is given an official stamp, the Inspector-General of Police, acting on instructions, has invited the Deputy Senate President with a view to arresting him over phantom charges as a build-up to incarcerate him, create a vacuum in the Senate and pave way for the imposition of APC preferred senator to take over his position.
“We are aware that some APC senators opposed to the emergence of Senators Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu as Senate President and Deputy Senate President, respectively, met last week and concocted a petition accusing the Deputy Senate President of altering the Senate Rules on the process of election of the Presiding Officers, upon which the police, via a letter dated July 1, 2015 and signed by the Deputy Inspector-General in charge of criminal investigation at the Force Headquarters has invited him to appear tomorrow, Monday, July 6, 2015 where he will be detained and put under pressure.
Metuh further declared that Senator Ekweremadu was not in any way involved in the process other than being nominated for the position of the Deputy Senate President and could not have been privy to the secret ballot procedure adopted by the National Assembly bureaucracy, which has been widely adjudged as transparent and credible.
“Also, apart from plans to use security apparatus against the Deputy Senate President, we have information that there are instructions to certain officials at the now National Electoral Commission to alter some electoral documents and records in order to create the impression that Senator Ekweremadu did not file proper documents for the general elections to eventually pave way for his removal.
“In line with the above plot, the APC has been having secret meetings with some judges and lawyers to procure injunctions to prevent Senator Ekweremadu from playing his role as the Deputy Senate President.
“The PDP hereby states and in very clear terms too that the government and APC leaders should be held responsible should any harm come upon the Deputy Senate President or any of our party leaders for that matter. We state this because information available to us indicates that there are also plans to compromise security around the Deputy Senate President to make him vulnerable and open for sponsored violent attacks.
“We do hope that the era of political assassination is not about to return to Nigeria and that our nation will not descent into a draconian regime where a strike force is created to hunt key opposition figures.
Metuh emphasized that PDP is aware that President Buhari, who had earlier restated his willingness to work with anybody elected by the legislature, has been put under intense pressure resulting in his statement on the emergence of Senator Ike Ekweremadu, which is now being misconstrued by some of his overzealous party members and security officials.
We’ve no hand in Ekweremadu’s invitation – APC
In a swift reaction, the APC said it had nothing to do with the reported police’s invitation of Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, over which the PDP has released an outlandish statement containing all sorts of imaginary claims.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said it neither wrote a petition to the police nor is it aware that any petition was written against the Deputy Senate President.
‘’However, if, as the PDP claims, the petition concerns alleged altering of the Senate’s Standing Rules on the process of electing Presiding Officers, that is a clear case of forgery which the police have a duty to investigate. Questioning the right of the police to carry out their duties in this regard amounts to intimidating the security agency,” he said.