•Police ‘arrest’ 20 buses conveying party supporters to Abuja
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) yesterday accused the police of preventing its members from entering Abuja ahead of today’s trial of its national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Tinubu is due to appear before the Code of Conduct Tribunal .
Twenty buses conveying party supporters, who were on their way to Abuja, to show solidarity for Tinubu, was stopped at Lokoja. The keys to the buses were seized by the police.
In a statement issued in Abuja by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party expressed shock over what it described as “blatant misuse of state power against the opposition.”
The statement called it the beginning of a dangerous slide towards crass dictatorship.
It wondered why the police would deprive Nigerians of their constitutionally-guaranteed rights to move freely and express their opinions within their country.
ACN said the police confiscated the keys to the vehicles.
The party said: “This is a new low for those who are hell bent on abridging personal freedoms and muffling the voice of the opposition.
‘’The decision to virtually arrest all our members heading to Abuja in Lokoja to show solidarity with their party leader is a big blow to the rule of law and negates the tenets of constitutional democracy. It confirms the general belief that, indeed, the charges against Asiwaju were politically motivated.’’
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chapter of the party yesterday accused the Federal Government of political persecution of Tinubu.
Its Chairman, Mr. Farouk Osuma, who spoke with reporters in Abuja, said the party is not against the Code of Conduct Tribunal trying people for corrupt practices but it was opposed to the selective war against corruption.
He said: “This trial is political because it is targeted at the leader of the leader of the opposition party in Nigeria today. “
“We are not against the due process of law taking its course in Nigeria. We are not against the government embarking on a fair campaign or war against corruption in Nigeria. But we are against selective attacks or selective justice in Nigeria. We say this because the timing of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal is rather coincidental.
“ According to the story which I read, the accounts were opened ever before he became a governor. The total amount of money is approximately N7.5million. According to the tribunal, he can be held if the account is operated and I believe he was not operating these accounts while he was governor.”
He urged the tribunal to be transparent in the trial.
The Youth Forum of the Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reforms (CODER) yesterday described the case as intolerance of the opposition.
The Youth Forum President, Olateju Tosin and Secretary Gift Dimpa, said: “It is on this note, that we view with great suspicion the present persecution of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu by the PDP-led Federal Government of Nigeria as an unnecessary distraction from the numerous problems and challenges presently confronting the nation, an act of gross intolerance of the growing influence of this foremost opposition leader, his party and the entire opposition groups in Nigeria, by the PDP-led government.
It urged the government to concentrate on pressing needs.
“The issue of insecurity, which is so worrisome, has been left unattended to. The crisis in Jos, the Boko Haram threat in Bornu State, Abuja and other states, flooding and erosion in Ibadan, Lagos and most of the eastern states and the northern part of Nigeria.
“Power supply (adequacy) is the fulcrum of economic development in any nation of the world, but power supply in Nigeria keeps reducing at a geometric progression and more worrisome is the multiplier effect on the social-economic well-being of the Nation; increase in crime, unemployment etc,” said the group.