IKE Ekweremadu, deputy president of the Senate, has criticised the manipulation of vital institutions of democracy such as the judiciary by the federal government and radical decline of democratic freedoms in Nigeria.
He also expressed his solidarity and that of all key organs and bodies of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led PDP National Caretaker Committee, despite the recent judgment of the Court of Appeal on the party’s leadership tussle.
Senator Ekweremadu made the assertions during the PDP national stakeholders meeting, which held at the Ekiti State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja, on Monday.
Ekweremadu, who was particularly peeved at the sealing of the International Conference Centre, Abuja, the earlier announced venue of the PDP stakeholders meeting by the security agencies, said that such flagrant manipulation of critical institutions of democracy was not only dangerous, but bad news for the nation’s democracy.
He said: “We are aware that all the institutions of democracy are being manipulated and harassed in this country. The National Assembly and the press are not left out. The INEC has been captured and now a part of the All Progressives Congress, APC. Our judiciary is being insulted and assaulted everyday. Their houses are being attacked very late at night and the judges are being harassed.
“So, we are not surprised at what we are seeing today (sealing of meeting venue). But what remains is for us to remain resolute”.
He expressed his displeasure at what he described as the rise in political persecution in the country.
“If you look around this room, you will see a lot of people who are being harassed, persecuted, and taken to court. What is their offence? They claim they allegedly received stolen property, yet nobody has been arraigned for the actual stealing. As a lawyer, I know that if you are being arraigned for receiving stolen property, you must first of all arraign the man who stole the property. That is not so in our own case. Is that democracy?” he asked.
He urged party members to remain resolute and protect the soul of the PDP and the nation’s hard-won democracy, insisting that the party leaders were made by the party faithful, and could never be imposed from the outside.
“We have heard there was a judgment in Port Harcourt. Now, those who benefitted from the judgment, where are they? Are they with our former ministers? Are they with our National Assembly members? Are they with our governors? Which organ of the party are they with or is with them? The truth is that it is not the hood that makes the monk,” he said.
Senator Ekweremadu also decried the worsening economic conditions of the country, noting that all APC promises had been kept in the reverse order.
“They told us that one U.S dollar would be one naira when they take over. Has that happened? Today, our currency is the worst currency in the whole of Africa. Is that the type of democracy we looked forward to? I can see a situation where the price of oil is going up and the value of naira is going down. What type of economics is that?” he queried.
The deputy president of the Senate, however, enjoined PDP faithful to remain strong as the party would “work with Nigerians to restore true democracy and hope to our people”.
“I believe that with determination and sticking together, we will triumph and Nigeria will be better for it” he stressed, according to Uche Anichukwu, special adviser (Media) to the deputy president of the Senate
— Feb 20, 2017 @ 18:5 GMT