The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has deplored the purported service of impeachment notice on Benue Governor, Dr Samuel Ortom, by eight members of the House of Assembly.
The party made this known in a communique issued after the end of an emergency meeting of its National Working Committee on Monday in Abuja, and described the development as illegal.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, who read communique, said “The NWC condemns in its entirety the purported sitting of eight APC members, including the impeached and suspended Speaker”.
He added: “This purported happened in a 30-member House, wherein they illegally claimed to have served an impeachment notice on the Governor of Benue, Dr Samuel Ortom.”
The PDP, according Ologbondiyan, also condemned the use of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Department of State Security to harass and intimidate officials of Benue Government.
He added that the PDP noted the roles played by APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, the Federal Government and Senator George Akume in encouraging the action he described as “lawless and anarchy in the state”.
He said that Oshiomhole’s actions and opinions over Ortom defection to PDP and the deployment of policemen to force the purported issuance of illegal impeachment notice were intended to precipitate crisis in the state.
Ologbondiyan said that the plan was for there to be crisis in the state and warrant the declaration of state-of-emergency.
He said: “It is on record that the erstwhile speaker had been impeached, suspended and restrained by a court of competent jurisdiction from parading himself as speaker.
“In spite of this, it is shocking that no fewer than 300 policemen were alleged to have escorted the impeached speaker to the House of Assembly to initiate a
disgraceful and manifestly illegal process.
“Our party warns against deliberate acts which were maliciously designed to truncate democracy by employing underhand tactics to achieve what is inconceivable in a democracy.
“The party calls on Nigerians, civil society organizations and International Community to note series of plots and deliberate attempts by the Federal Government to cause mayhem in a state struggling to recover from killings and bloodletting.
“We are aware that these plots were designed to scare away Nigerians, including state governors and legislators, who are desirous of rallying with the PDP to rescue our nation from ill-governance.
“However, party urges members to remain steadfast as no amount of intimidation, harassment and assault on processes would suppress the freedom of choice eminently guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution (as amended).”
Ologbondiyan urged PDP members, particularly those in Benue, to rise in defence of their rights and the country’s hard-earned democracy.
In the same manner, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, also described the situation in Benue as “awkward political development”.
Abubakar said that any attempt to disregard the rule of law and the Constitution in the impeachment of a governor was a recipe for anarchy and officially-sanctioned lawlessness.
He said that for a state facing security challenges like Benue, the introduction of lawlessness in the impeachment process could only complicate an already bad situation.
He urged the police to remain politically neutral and avoid aiding lawlessness, adding that partisanship could professionally destroy their image.
Abubakar stressed that the loyalty of the police should be to the Constitution and the rule of law.
He said: “Whatever might be the short term political benefits of lawlessness, the long term dangers are by far greater than those perceived benefits.
“If unchecked, the political situation in Benue could lead to a domino effect across the country, thereby jeopardising democracy and endangering innocent lives and property of lawful citizens.”