CRISIS rocking the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP took another turn yesterday, as the Police stormed the Sokoto Governor's Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja where the Abubakar Kawu Baraje-led new PDP, including opposition governors were holding a meeting and chased them out. A few hours before the group assembled at the Sokoto Governor's lodge, it had cried out that the government had started a clampdown on the businesses of its members as well threatening their lives.
Having been prevented from holding their meeting at the Sokoto Governor's lodge, members of the group reassembled at the Kano State Governor's lodge where the meeting eventually held.
The meeting was first of its kind since the Federal High Court upheld the Alhaji Bamanga Tukur-led National Working Committee as the authentic one as well as the endorsement from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Present at yesterday's meeting were governors Sule Lamido of Jigawa; Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto State; Musa Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano; Murtala Nyako of Adamawa and Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State, just as governors Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara and Aliyu Babangida of Niger were absent.
Also at the meeting were former governor of Kebbi State and ex- FCT minister during late President Umaru Yar'adua's administration, Senator Adamu Aliero; former governor of Kwara State, Senator Bukola Saraki; former governor of Gombe State, Senator Danjuma Goje; former governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Abdullahi Adamu; chairman of the group, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje; the group's Deputy Chairman, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja; secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola; PDP National Vice Chairman, North West, Ibrahim Kazaure; Alhaji Kassim Shettima, among others.
There was neither a press briefing nor statement at the end of the meeting, just as the group's National Publicity Secretary, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze promised that a communique will be issued today.
A source disclosed to Vanguard that the group discussed the Abuja High Court judgement, INEC recognition of Tukur-led PDP, and clampdown on members' property in Abuja by the government through the Minister of FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed. They were also said to have discussed how to receive new governors who plan to join the group.
We are endangered -- G7 Govs, Baraje
Meanwhile, the new Peoples Democratic Party, nPDP members had earlier cried out that its members have become endangered species with series of clampdowns on them, their offices and businesses.
The Presidency was also alleged to have concluded arrangements to go after all senators and members of the House of Representatives who are members of the group with the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC under an operation code-named, "Operation Coerce Them Back to Tukur".
Also as part of clampdown on the members, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Abubakar was said to have ordered the immediate withdrawal of security aides attached to former governor of Gombe State, Senator Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central) and former governor of Kwara State, Senator Bukola Saraki (Kwara Central).
A statement signed by the group's National Publicity Secretary, Eze Chukwuemeka said: "It has become necessary for us to cry out in view of the war declared on the New Peoples Democratic Party (NPDP) and its members by certain agents and henchmen of the Goodluck Jonathan administration who have embarked on a mission to intimidate and overawe us, using various unconstitutional means to achieve their selfish goals."
Giving a chronicle of experiences of members of the Baraje-led PDP, Eze said: "The past few weeks in particular have witnessed the implementation of a well coordinated and systematic plot to traumatise, annihilate and cripple us economically and politically in flagrant disregard of Chapter IV Section 33 to 45 of the Nigerian Constitution that guarantees our fundamental human rights as Nigerians. A few examples of the excesses of these agents of confusion and enemies of democracy would suffice:
"Contrary to provisions of Chapter IV Sections 42, 43 and 44 of the Constitution which guarantee our right as Nigerians to acquire and own property in any part of the country, our National Secretariat and most of our State Secretariats have been sealed up by the Police on the orders of those in power. This is despite the fact that we still have a court case against Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and his National Working Committee (NWC).
"Two weeks ago, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) in its over zealousness to please President Jonathan marked and sealed our National Secretariat for demolition on the laughable excuse that it was originally approved as a residential building. Yet this property was being used as the National Secretariat of another political party, the National Democratic Party (NDP), before New PDP acquired it - and the same FCTA kept mute! At that time, the FCTA did not realise that it violated land use but it now wants to demolish the building in a hurry simply because the authorities perceive the new owner (New PDP) to be anti-government! What is more, the Adamawa State Lodge, also in Abuja, which we were using as temporary National Secretariat, has also been sealed off on the flimsy excuse that the area is not for commercial activities!
"This invidious crackdown has been extended to individual leaders of the New PDP. The legally acquired Abuja property of His Excellency, Dr. Rabiu Kwankwaso, the Governor of Kano State, has been revoked by the tyrannical Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed. The same treatment has been meted to Senator Aisha Al-Hassan from Taraba State, whose event centre, A-Park Gardens, which has been in operation all these years, has suddenly been revoked by the FCTA and slated to be demolished at any time from now. Information available to us indicates that property in Abuja owned by other New PDP leaders may suffer the same fate.
"Today, the security details attached to Senators Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Danjuma Goje, former Governors of Kwara and Gombe states respectively, have been withdrawn; so, too, the security details attached to our National Chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje. Of course, Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State was the first victim and now operates without an ADC and a CSO in order to pave way for his kidnapping or assassination if peaceful ways of removing him from office fail. The police orderlies of the Rivers State SSG and those of Amaechi's Chief of Staff have also been similarly withdrawn without any cogent reasons.
"The use of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to hound our members is no longer news. His Excellency Timipre Sylva, the former Governor of Bayelsa State, and Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki are two foremost examples. We understand that the worst is yet to come as this unserious organ masquerading as an anti-graft agency would soon be unleashed on all our key members in both the Senate and House of Representatives in an operation code-named "Operation Coerce Them Back to Tukur".
Meantime, competent police source confirmed that the security details of former governors of Kwara and Gombe states, Senator Bukola Saraki and Danjuma Goje were withdrawn four weeks ago on the orders of the Inspector-General of Police. The source however did not give reason for the action.