Imo chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned what it describes as the “wanton” arrest of the Party’s chieftains ahead of the March 18 House of Assembly elections.
A statement signed by the Party’s Publicity Secretary in Imo, Mr. Collins Opurozor, and made available to newsmen in Owerri on Thursday condemned the recent arrest of a former Deputy Governor of the state and chieftain of the PDP, Mr. Gerald Irona, describing it as a show of cowardice targeted at weakening the Party and that it would only remain futile at best.
Opurozor described as “puerile”, a recent invitation to former Gov. Emeka Ihedioha and a House of Representatives member-elect, Ikenga Ugochinyere, by the police in Imo.
He challenged the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, led by Gov. Hope Uzodinma to allow all political parties to test their popularity at the polls rather than resorting to intimidation of the opposition using the police and other agencies of government.
“This is a calculated attempt by the Sen. Uzodinma – led APC to arrest and keep these prominent leaders of our Party out of circulation during the House of Assembly elections scheduled for Saturday, March 18th.
“This way, it would be easy to rig the polls and reestablish a weak and malleable APC-dominated House of Assembly in Imo which can only sing his praises. Imo people must now rise and defend democracy in the State.
“A former Deputy Governor of the State, Rt. Hon. Gerald Irona had his residence invaded last week by armed security operatives on the orders of Uzodinma. Since then, he has been in detention, persecuted for doing no wrong.
“Our Party regrets that the police in Imo has allowed itself to be abused by Sen. Uzodinma, and deployed as a tool for political vendetta. This is extremely dangerous,” Opurozor said.
He further described the police in Imo as “highly politicised” and called on the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, to overhaul the policing architecture in the state to ensure a level playing ground for all actors in the state’s politics.
This, he said, would rekindle faith in the fairness and credibility of the Police and its capacity to secure Imo people.