The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says it is worried over the revelation by a former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government is plotting to arrest him on trumped up charges and perhaps detain him.
The former president made the allegation on Friday in a statement by his aide, Kehinde Akinyemi. He said the alleged planned arrest is a punishment for speaking out against the government’s maladministration and ineptitude.
Mr Obasanjo said the federal government, considering a two-fold approach, was planning to detain him by unearthing spurious claims aimed at “tarnishing his image”.
Mr Obasanjo, who had earlier supported President Muhammadu Buhari during his 2015 presidential bid recently fell out with him and asked him not to re-contest in 2019, a request Mr Buhari turned down when he threw his hat into the ring for next year’s polls.
Mr Buhari had quickly hit out at his ex-boss in the army when he chided him for mismanaging multi-billion dollar power projects when he was in the saddle between 1999 and 2007.
An enraged Mr Obasanjo bitterly responded to the allegations saying he was ready to be probed even though he added that he had been exonerated by past power probes.
He also referred Mr Buhari to specific to portions of a book he (Obasanjo) wrote on his stewardship, asking the president to ask his (Buhari) aides “to read out the portions on the controversial power projects to him”.
Reacting to Mr Obasanjo’s latest onslaught, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on behalf of the government said the Buhari administration will not be distracted by what he described as “frivolous allegations from any quarter”.
He said this allegation from the former leader is a “cleverly choreographed distraction from a widely-acclaimed presidential proclamation and to shore up support for a waning and egotistical cause”.
Mr Buhari recently conferred honours on a former presidential aspirant, Moshood Abiola, the presumed winner of the 1993 presidential polls, who died in prison while seeking to claim his mandate that was annulled by an ex-military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida.
Mr Obasanjo had dismissed calls to do the same while he led the nation for eight years.
Meanwhile, the PDP in a statement by its publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan said the revelation coming from “a Nigerian of Obasanjo’s status is terrifying”.
It said this has heightened the tension in the polity and confirmed fears that the nation has descended into a police state where any Nigerian, “who holds a divergent view to President Muhammadu Buhari 2019 re-election bid, becomes endangered”.
“The alarm by Chief Obasanjo has further shown that the PDP has not been crying wolf regarding the plots by the APC federal government to frame, arrest, detain and arraign political opponents of the APC, including regular Nigerians, for holding or canvassing opinions that are divergent to the interest of those in power.”
It called on Nigerians to note the travails faced by perceived opponents of Buhari presidency including “Senate President Bukola Saraki, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Shehu Sani, Dino Melaye and others who had raised similar alarms in the past.”
The party, which lost to the ruling party in 2015, said ” the APC and Buhari Presidency should note that no amount of coercion, intimidation and illegal arrests will alter the determination of Nigerians to vote out the APC.”
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