The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo State has described the arrest and continued detention of Chidiebere Eze, Felix Agu and other officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by the APC-led regime of Senator Hope Uzodinma as an attempt to intimidate and cow the electoral umpire so as to yield to the desperate plot by the failed APC to rig the 2023 elections in the State.
The Party, therefore, demanded that all INEC officials being held in various detention facilities across the State and ruthlessly tortured on the orders of the appointees and agents of the infamous APC in the State be unconditionally released without any further delay.
Collins Opurozor, Publicity Secretary of Imo State PDP in a statement advised the Imo people to rise to the occasion and defend democracy and defeat the anti-democratic forces that are working relentlessly to keep the masses in perpetual bondage.
He said: “To be clear, free, fair and credible elections present an opportunity to enthrone better governance in Imo and to send the unelected Senator Uzodinma and his cohorts packing from the State. This is what the people have earnestly yearned for, and so they must now resist every plan to bully and frame INEC officials with trumped-up charges. They must never allow any plan to rig the 2023 elections to see the light of the day.
“What must be noted by Imo people and Nigerians at large is that the effrontery and sinister attempts by the Uzodinma-led jittery regime in Imo to desecrate and undermine all democratic institutions have continued to increase. If this ugly tendency is left unchecked, Nigeria’s democracy may soon be truncated through the machinations of this anti-people junta in Imo State.
“Imo PDP contends that Senator Hope Uzodinma or his chaotic government has no right whatsoever to arrest, detain or conduct any trial in a Magistrate Court of any staff of INEC, a Federal Establishment, on accusation of any official misconduct which INEC till this moment has said is unknown to it.
“For the avoidance of doubt, INEC has not accused any of its personnel or staff of leaking out a confidential document to the public. Instead, the Commission has stated publicly that it has uncovered the identities of its staff who colluded with agents of the APC to perpetrate the notorious manipulation and compromise of the voters register which saw tens of thousands of fake and alien names being imported into the INEC voters register, which Nigerians have come to describe as the Omuma Magic.
“It is therefore shocking that while INEC is making moves to clean up the register and punish those involved in the fraud, the APC regime in Imo State is fighting hard to incarcerate and crush those suspected to have courageously exposed the fraud. This is highly outrageous!
“What Imo PDP finds deeply baffling is that the police in the State has jettisoned its mandate of protecting lives and property and safeguarding civil liberties, and has allowed itself to become the enforcement organ of the APC repressive rule in the State.
“Our Party considers it deeply abominabl that the police would entirely lend itself to the whims and caprices of the regime in Imo and would arbitrarily arrest and indefinitely detain INEC officials who have committed no offence known to law.
“The Inspector General of Police must step into this matter very quickly to caution and restrain his men who are now obviously in bed with the dysfunctional APC government in Imo State and whose actions are becoming inimical to democratic consolidation in Nigeria”.