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2015 Elections: Oyegun, Tinubu, Amaechi, Saraki under security watch

All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders are being intimidated by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led Federal Government, the party alleged yesterday.

Its proof – security agents have placed some of its leading lights on surveillance. Besides, their phones are bugged.

But, said the party, it will never bow to intimidation. APC spokesman Alhaji Lai Mohammed said in a statement:

“We will not be intimidated by the latest antics of the Jonathan Administration to harass and intimidate the opposition, especially in the run-up to next month’s general elections.”

A security source last night declined comments on the matter “because the APC did not name the specific security organisation putting its leaders under watch”.

The APC said: ‘’As the elections approach, we know the harassment and intimidation will be stepped up. We know our leaders, including the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi, former Bayelsa State Governor Timipre Sylva, Senator Bukola Saraki and National Publicity Secretary Alhaji Lai Mohammed, are under surveillance and their phones being bugged.

‘’We are aware that several of them, especially the National Publicity Secretary, have been marked down for arrest in the days to come. We know there are evil plots to frame some of them on trumped-up charges. We know our lives are in danger. But these and more will not deter us from continuing to act in the national interest or from seeking to effect change through the ballot box.

‘’Yes, we are alerting Nigerians that if anything happens to us they should know where it is coming from, but for us there is no going back because we are resolute.’’

Tinubu’s Lagos home has been under siege by soldiers for four days though the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 81 Division, Major-Gen. Tunmi Dibi has said the military deployment is “routine” and part of a joint security measure to secure Lagos.

The Imo State Government House in Owerri was also violated when a military armoured tank manned by some soldiers was deployed in front of it on Tuesday after security men prevented a group of women, led by Minister of State (Education) Prof. Violet Onwuliri, from marching on the facility.

Also yesterday, policemen were deployed in the Abuja home of APC’s Presidential Campaign spokesman Garba Shehu – an action which the party said “fits perfectly into this emerging pattern”.

In a statement issued in Abuja, the party said Shehu’s residence at the NNPC Quarters, Area 11, Abuja, had been surrounded by armed policemen since 3 a.m. on yesterday, making it impossible for him to even go to the mosque for prayers.

‘’Going after the spokesman of our party’s Presidential Campaign Organisation is aimed at muffling the organisation’s voice and abridging the constitutionally-guaranteed rights of the spokesman himself. This is antithetic to democracy and totally unacceptable,’’ it said.

APC called on those who sent the armed security personnel to Shehu’s residence to immediately order their withdrawal and tell Nigerians what he has done to warrant such harassment.

The party said “coming after the siege by armed troops to Tinubu’s home in Lagos and a similar siege to the Imo State Government House in Owerri, it was clear that the Jonathan Administration has finally launched its much-anticipated clampdown on the opposition ahead of the general elections.

The elections are slated for March 28 and April 11.

‘’The PDP and the Jonathan Administration are bent on badgering the opposition through the harassment, intimidation and arrest of its leaders as well as the circulation of unfounded rumours against the party. These actions are all aimed at fomenting a crisis and scuttling the forthcoming elections,” APC said, adding:

‘’We are, therefore, calling on all Nigerians as well as the international community to take note of this growing pattern of harassment and intimidation of the opposition, and the effect such action will have on the conduct of the elections,’’ it said.

APC thanked Nigerians for their immense and unwaring support, especially since the postponement of the elections which was aimed at dampening the enthusiasm of the citizens, and urged them not to relent.

The presidential and assembly elections will were slated for tomorrow and the governorship elections February 28.

‘’We are glad that instead of weakening the resolve and enthusiasm of Nigerians, the Presidency-orchestated postponement has further galvanised them to be more determined not only to vote but also to defend their votes,” APC said, adding:

‘’Nigerians must demand and insist that the elections be held as rescheduled, that there will be no interim government or tenure elongation. Nigerians have the power to forge change with their voter’s cards and no one must deny them that right.’’

The APC urged President Jonathan to remember the verdict of history and put his dogs of war on a leash, realising that history will judge no one but him even for the actions of his supporters, who are all acting in his name.

[The Nation]

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