ACN TO JONATHAN: DON'T USE STATE RESOURCES TO INTIMIDATE OPPOSITION
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to abide by his promise not to use state apparatus to intimidate the opposition ahead of next month's general elections.
'It is instructive that the president was making his pledge during his campaign rally in Ondo State, a day after State Security Service (SSS) officials quizzed our leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in Abuja, supposedly over his comments on the soap box,'' the party said in a statement issued in Ilorin on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
'What has Asiwaju said that President Jonathan has not said more of? Who introduced incendiary rhetoric into the campaign by abusing a whole people and tagging their leaders as rascals? If that characterisation was not considered inciting, why should Asiwaju's reactions and comments on the campaign trail be a reason to summon him to Abuja for questioning?
'When this development, which is a flagrant abuse of office, is placed against the background of the harassment of the governorship candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in Nasarawa, after the reported stoning of the president's convoy in Lafia, one begins to see a pattern of orchestrated intimidation of the opposition; that flies in the face of the assurances by the President,'' ACN said.
The party warned that today's Nigeria would not be a platform for such a primitive persecution of political opposition, saying Nigerians were determined that next month's elections would not only be free and fair but that the processes, leading to the polls must also be transparent.
It said the summoning of Asiwaju to Abuja by the SSS was just the latest in a well-choreographed acts of intimidation that would have flapped lesser mortals. 'Threats of arrest and prosecution over some phantom foreign accounts that Asiwaju supposedly operated when he was governor have been thrown out there in the media with the hope of distracting a man whose courage and determination have once again gingered the progressive camp into action to save the country from the big-for-nothing ruling party. When that seems not have worked, the game plan has now been stepped up a notch by sending the SSS after him. Who knows what this government will do next?'' ACN queried.
The party said there was no doubt that the rising profile of the ACN was sending jitters into the camp of the PDP but warned that true power belonged to the people, irrespective of antics of those who find themselves in power today. 'The people are simply fed up with empty promises by a party that has frittered away billions of dollars in earnings in the past 12 years.'
The party appealed to its supporters, many of whom have expressed outrage at the glaring partisanship of the SSS, to continue to be peaceful before, during and after the elections even as they must not relent in their mobilisation of Nigerians to vote massively for the ACN.