Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday morning resumed their protest to draw attention to what they described as the deplorable state of affairs in the country. The protest which was led by the PDP Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Suleiman Nazif, took off from the party’s campaign headquarters, Legacy House, Maitama, Abuja. The convoy of vehicles conveying the protesters first headed for the European Union (EU) secretariat, located at the Central Area. An official of the EU received Nazif and other party officials at the gate, from where they were ushered into the main building;
The party in a petition submitted by its leadership on Tuesday urged the international bodies to press on the Federal government the need to preserve democratic institutions and ensure the votes of the people count at all times. They further reminded the, international organisations that most of their reports on election observations in the country recently had turned out negative, asking them to urge the Federal Government to urgently review and sign an electoral bill that will ensure that the votes of the people count.
Addressing journalists after the submission of the petition at the European Union, Senator Suleiman Nazif; PDP deputy national chairman (North), expressed the party’s dissatisfaction with the intimidation of the legislature and judiciary which has made it very difficult if not impossible to have a credible electoral system. He demanded that the judgement in Imo state be revisited, reviewed and reversed so as to deepen democracy in the country.
He said, “We are not happy, we are not satisfied with the way democracy is being run in Nigeria. We have come here to complain because we have realized that the National Assembly is being intimidated by the executive. The judiciary is being arm twisted, the rule of law has become mockery and we thought it wise to come and lay our complaint because they no longer listen to anybody and that is why the Peoples Democratic party decided to reach out to the international community to lay complaint with respect to the electoral act that has not been assented to up till now, this is five years since the inception of this administration.
“You are aware of the systematic collapse in our electoral processes, the way elections are being conducted, Kogi we saw what transpired in the last election, Nigerians have seen for themselves what the opposition party is going through. We saw what happened in Bayelsa, we saw what happened in Imo with respect to the Supreme Court judgement and we are calling for a review of that judgement and we believe that with the amount of pressure from intentional organisations, I think the right thing should be done”.
Also adding his voice the National Secretary of the party, Ibrahim Tsauri said, “Democracy is being derailed in this country. Democracy in Nigeria has been built on five pillars: one the media; two, the electoral empire – INEC; three, the security agents; four, the judiciary; five, the international community. These are the pillars that support democracy in Nigeria. If one of these pillars collapses, democracy will derail on that side.
“Out of the five, only two are left, election umpire is compromised, you all know it. Security agents are part and parcel of APC government. Judiciary is being threatened and nobody has any confidence in the judiciary again. The only one that is now left is the media and the international community. The international community, anywhere there is going to be election, there are some monitors, they go and monitor, they bring in their reports, most of these reports are negative.
“This is why we come to the international community to tell them that this is the expectations of Nigerians from them and we want them to do exactly what is expected of them to do. “In Nigeria today, if you talk about security, it is zero. When Buhari came into government he said that he was going to fight corruption, he was going to intensify on economy and then security, none is working now. This government does not listen to any voice except the international community; that is why we are here.”
The executives of the party were exclusively led into the inner reception area at the UN, EU and France embassies where they submitted the petition. However, the officials of the three embassies declined comments on the visit. Some members of the party who were part of the delegation were members of the party’s national working committee and National Assembly members including the party’s National Youth Leader, Usk- Ude-Okoye, National Woman Leader Mariam Waziri, Hon. Kingsley Chinda, Hon. Jones Onyeriri, Hon. Mark Gbilla, Mariam Waziri, Hon. Ajibola Murano and other party members.
Recall that the party had embarked on similar visit to the American and the United Kingdom embassies in recently as part of it activities to press for a review and reversal of the Imo state judgement that removed Emeka Ihedioha of PDP as the governor of the state and replaced him with Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who came fourth at the polls.
Also the former vice president Atiku Abubakar has lamented the attack on Auno in Borno state where travelers were killed by Boko Haram insurgents. He said in his verified tweeter handle, “We can’t afford to stay divided in the face of this common enemy. I sympathise with the bereaved families. These incidents, one too many, should make us explore all possible options to put a stop to this scourge”.