The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo state has accused Governor Hope Uzodinma and the Commissioner of Police in the state, CP Muhammed Barde of working secretly to impoverish Imo citizens ahead of the November 11 Governorship election..

The party made this allegation Wednesday in a World Press Conference at the party’s Secretariat, along Okigwe road, Owerri, the Imo state capital. According to PDP, Imo citizens started facing challenging times immediately Hope Uzodinma facilitated the redeployment of Commissioner Barde to the state who was earlier removed by Inspector General of Police as Commissioner.

Briefing Journalists, Acting State Publicity Secretary of the party, Mazi Emenike Nmeregini said, “The state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party vehemently objects to the incessant harassment, intimidation, illegal arrest and detention of party members, media Practitioners working for PDP and attempt to abduct or arrest some Directors of Media and other Directorates of our Campaign Council by operatives of the Nigeria Police in the state allegedly loyal to Governor Hope Uzodinma. These acts of intimidation and incarceration of the people at the least provocation have become daily experience, aimed at cowing Imo people, particularly members of the press and opposition PDP for purely political reasons”. 

He continued, “A couple of months back, some state officers of the party were invited to the state police command for interrogations over alleged libellous statements by the party. That matter has unduly been protracted without end, even when it is quite clear that it is diversionary and has no substance. Penultimate week, in a Gestapo style, officers of the Nigeria Police invaded the residence of some of our party members and arrested one, Mark Chisom, while others who were on duty call as at the time of the police invasion evaded arrest.”

“Our party vehemently condemns this resort to use of state apparatus of power for harassment, intimidation, illegal arrest and detention of innocent citizens, in direct violation of their constitutionally guaranteed rights to personal liberty and freedom of expression. This clampdown which we perceive as reaction to derail our Governorship Campaigns of “Making Imo Safe Again”  by state security operatives, working under the dictates of the ruling APC administration under Uzodinma’s watch will not be tolerated any longer.”

“The party notes that such action on innocent Imolites is totally a direct assault on our democratic order, and hereby demand unconditional release of Chisom Mark and to discontinue further act of scheduled arrest of PDP members or Directors already in Uzodinma and CP Berde’s list. Our party resolves that if Chisom Mark’s “offence” is such that cannot be handled by the police, the matter should be prosecuted in a court of law than to continue to keep him in the police cell”.

“We hereby appeal to the Inspector General of Police and other service Chiefs not to keep deaf ears to the precarious situation in Imo state, particularly at this period of the Governorship election where Hope Uzodinma and CP Berde are working hand in hand to impoverish Imo people. The press and citizens of the state deserve adequate protection as they exercise their legitimate rights of expression and association within the ambit of the law.”

On the other hand, the party has rejected in its totality the reversal of victory of Hons Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere Ikeagwuonu and Jonas Okeke, members for Ideato North/South and Okigwe South respectively.

The party therefore expressed confidence that the in pursuit of justice and fair play, the controversial judgements against its members would be reclaimed on Appeal.

Briefing Newsmen also, PDP Legal Adviser in the state, Barr Kissinger Ikeokwu while citing the ruling of the Supreme Court in a party internal affairs, “A political party that files a suit to challenge the nomination of the candidate of another party will be a nosy busybody, a meddlesome interloper, peeping into the affairs of his neighbor without any backing in law. No court of law can entertain such a suit”.

Barr Ikeokwu therefore wondered why the Election Petition Tribunal would venture into an internal party issues that borders on pre-election after the Apex court had dismissed such similar case previously.

According to him, “The Nigerian Judicial System is built on a system of stare decisis, whereby the decision of the superior courts like the Supreme Court becomes binding on lower courts which Tribunal is not an exception over the same issues.”

Barr Ikeokwu further maintained that, “Even Appeal Court followed the decision in its recent Presidential Election Petition Court, when the Justices reaffirmed the decision of the Supreme Court that a political party has no right to question the process of nomination of another political party as it lacks the locus standi to litigate such matter which can only be dealt with as a pre-election matter”

He recalled that the candidate of APC, Chima Obazu had earlier filed a pre-election suit at the Federal High Court Owerri seeking to nullify the nomination of Ikenga Ugochinyere on the same ground, adding that in the court wisdom, his suit was dismissed and thrown to the trash can.

While calling on Imo people especially, PDP members to remain calm and law abiding, expressing optimism that the judgemens against the two PDP’s candidates would be reversed at the Appeal Court.