Chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party, Kogi State chapter, has called on the National Peace Committee, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, National Security Adviser, NSA, Major General Mohammed Monguno (retd) and Civil Society Organisations, CSOs to prevail on Governor Yahaya Bello to give peace a chance ahead of the general elections slated for February 16 and March 2, 2019.
The PDP chieftains stated this at a press conference held in Abuja. Led by former governor of the state, Ibrahim Idris, they accused the state governor and the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC of intimating and harassing PDP members, saying unless something urgent was done, the state could be plunged into a crisis of unimaginable proportion.
Chairman of the PDP in the state, Engineer Sam Uhotu cited a number of violent skirmishes in the past few months which he allegedly traced to the state government, noting that even though the PDP did the right thing by reporting same to security agencies, no action has been taken till date.
“We humbly call on the National Peace Committee under the eminent leadership of General Abdulsalami Abubakar, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Inspector General of Police, National Security Adviser, Service Chiefs, Civil Society Organizations and the International Community to pay special attention to the veritable flash point which Kogi has become in the forthcoming elections and to prevail on the State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, to desist from promoting state-sponsored violence in order to spare the innocent people of the state from the inexorable catastrophe that is now unfolding like a Greek tragedy.
“There is a worrisome pattern of intimidation, harassment, unprovoked disruption of political meetings and gatherings which invariably involves the infliction of injuries to our party members and innocent citizens. It also involves the destruction of campaign materials of opposition party candidates like posters, banners and bill boards all over the state.
“These incidents of violence and thuggery have become more brazen, dangerous and rampant in all the three senatorial districts of the state in the last few weeks,” they noted.
In a well documented account of sundry crises, the party accused the Yahaya Bello-led government of serial attempts to weed the opposition out of the state, saying, “on March 6, 2018 and July 31, 2018 Senator Ahmed Ogembe’s empowerment programmes were violently disrupted by armed APC thugs who beat up the would be beneficiaries leaving many of them with serious injuries.
“On December 2, 2018, PDP leaders and members who attended the Central Senatorial District Stakeholders meeting were attacked by armed thugs of the APC as they were leaving Dabras Hotel, Okene the venue of the meeting. The thugs were armed with sophisticated guns and other dangerous weapons.
A candidate to the House of Representatives, Mr. M. I. Onimisi and a candidate to the House of Assembly were the most seriously affected as the car they were both driving in was riddled with bullets.
This was the subject of a petition to the Commissioner of Police by Adavi Local Government Chapter of PDP alleging assassination attempts on the two candidates.
The petition contained the names of five suspects with a request for their arrest and prosecution.
“On July 19, 2018 armed APC thugs disrupted the commissioning of projects by Senator Dino Melaye and also vandalized some of the projects slated for commissioning including classrooms in Lokoja and a Skills Acquisition Centre at Aiyetoro-Gbede in Ijumu Local Government Area of the State.
“On November 4, 2018, PDP meetings organized in the three Districts of Dekina Local Government were disrupted simultaneously by suspected APC thugs armed with AK 47 and other dangerous weapons.
In the process, vehicles and houses were vandalized and/or completely destroyed while many people sustained serious injuries.