The National Democratic Front (NDF) says the Peoples Democratic Party in Kogi State is working to re-arm and deploy criminals to rig 2023 general elections in the state.
The group made this known, Thursday, at a press conference in Abuja in reaction to the party’s criticism of Governor Yahaya Bello.
NDF’s national president, Dr Omale Ben, said the PDP lacks the moral justification to criticise Governor Bello owing, allegedly, to its close bond with Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists.
According to him, “The National Democratic Front (NDF) has followed with bemusement the call by the Kogi State Chapter of the PDP for the retired General Abubakar Abdulsalami-led National Peace Committee to document the state government as deploying violence.
“For the sake of context, NDF urges Nigerians to note that the past PDP governments made Kogi State a fertile soil for growing operational cells of Boko Haram/ISWAP. We are all witnesses to how the suspects linked to the Owo massacre of church worshippers earlier in the year in Ondo State were all traced back to Kogi State.
“Our law enforcement agencies can attest to the number of terrorist cells they have dismantled, in collaboration with the Yahaya Bello-led state government.
“During the period PDP was in power in the state, bloody clashes among disparate groups were the order of the day. The terrorists, hoodlums and urchins acting on the instruction of the PDP government held Kogi State by the jugular.
“Most recently, a certain PDP politician has been in the news for ramping up efforts to revive these dismantled cells. The efforts at reintroducing extremism and terrorism to Kogi State on an industrial scale include name-calling the governor and reframing his counter-terrorism efforts as a clampdown on the PDP.
“The party has nothing to campaign for the forthcoming elections and their only gimmick going forward is to blackmail Governor Yahaya Bello.
“What this tells us is that the PDP has been the party using terrorist cells to oppress the citizens of the state, assassinate political rivals, and export these terrorists to other states where they are desperate to unseat the governors.
“It is consequently glaring that the PDP in Kogi State is working to re-grow the terrorist network, ostensibly to re-arm and deploy them for rigging the 2023 general elections. Otherwise, how can a political party that claims to have the interest of the people at heart be advocating for the state government not to clamp down on terrorists?
“It is now clear that Kogi PDP and Boko Haram/ISWAP Terrorists are inseparable Siamese Twins. The alarm they raised about the governor being an enabler of political violence is a smokescreen to conceal the true extent of damage they have done in the state and by extension all over Nigeria in their bid to return to power, ostensibly for the sole aim of looting the state. It is for this that they came up with the laughable allegation that Governor Bello wants to instigate a crisis”.
The NDF, therefore, challenged PDP in Kogi to ‘disprove the many laudable projects that Governor Yahaya Bello’s numerous efforts at peacebuilding’.
Ben warned that the “PDP shall be held responsible for any threat to the peaceful and successful conduct of the 2023 general elections while its officials shall be held individually accountable for any acts of terror committed for the sake of testing the resolve of the people and government of the state to tackle terrorism head-on Nigerians are watching.”
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