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PDP govs accuses APC of using DSS to stifle opposition

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum has described the alleged meddlesomeness of the Department of State Services (DSS) in petitions before Election Tribunals as attempt by the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) to stifle the opposition party.

In a communiqué at the end of its fourth post-election meeting on Wednesday in Abuja, the group‎ said the interference of DSS in Election Tribunal matters especially in PDP controlled states of Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Abia is against “the spirit, ethos, values and fundamental tenets of democratic norms and tradition; more so with the existence of the Electoral Act and the Constitution.”

The communiqué, which was read by the forum’s chairman, Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State, expressed worry at ‎a situation where officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in these three States, were allegedly being arrested, detained and questioned on election-related offences, even when the cases are on-going at the tribunals, adding that such spells doom and poses imminent danger to the nation’s fledgling democracy.

“The alleged interference is an attempt to stifle the opposition and this is most unacceptable. We insist that the trend be reversed. No democracy survives without a viable opposition in any part of the world.

“INEC is supposed to be an independent commission and its officials ought to be shielded from partisanship, especially at a time when the dust raised by the alleged APC membership of the DG of the SSS, Mr. Lawal Musa Daura is yet to settle,” the forum said.

The PDP Governors’ Forum noted that there were clear cases of under-aged voters in some states and wondered why the DSS did not investigate a single person or made any arrest.

“Even in a clear case where money paid was traced to the bank account of a State Resident Electoral Commissioner, the DSS is yet to order investigation into the matter,” the communiqué added, and advised the DSS to pre-occupy itself with the task of ensuring internal security and not involve itself in electoral matters.

‎It would be recalled that Yobe State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja ‎had admitted in evidence the report of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on alleged bribery against the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the last April 11 governorship poll in the state.

The PDP‎ governorship candidate in the election, Alhaji Adamu Waziri, had called for the nullification of the election of Governor Ibrahim Geidam of APC on account of irregularities and corruption.

Two senior personnel of two new generation banks who testified before tribunal, confirmed the lodgement of N8 million and N7 million into the Yobe REC’s accounts on April 8, 2015.

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