The Fred Udeogu led faction of the People’s Democratic Party PDP has accused Governor of Ebonyi David Umahi of plotting to deploy COVID-19 as a reason to close down the party secretariat.
The party disclosed this in a statement signed by its publicity secretary, Silas Onu, and made available to newsmen in Abakaliki on Wednesday.
The statement reads: “Following our lawful attempt to access our secretariat on Monday 1 February, 2021 and the deliberate crisis-like situation created by state agents to frustrate that bid, our youth leader was arrested and miraculously arraigned on the same day with inconsistent facts in the case file.
“The magistrate did what was right in law and granted our youth leader bail, in spite of the presence of Austin Umahi who showed up in court apparently to intimidate the magistrate. The case is now fixed for continuation on 16 February, 2021.
“It is important to notify Ebonyians that the office of the Inspector-General of Police has made direct communication with the Commissioner of Police, Ebonyi State and we believe that our secretariat will now be accessible without the police shooting at us. Many of our members are still in the hospital due to injuries inflicted on them by the reckless attack from the police.”
According to Onu, “Now that the police are expected to play their constitutional role and ensure adherence to a valid court order, the governor has come up with a rather ingenious idea to frustrate our legitimate right to the use of our secretariat. He now wants to deploy COVID-19 as a reason to close down the secretariat.
“The governor never cared that COVID-19 was an issue when he hosted his party members at a state-owned property for several meetings. Suddenly, the COVID-19 protocol now includes the shutting down of legitimate workspace that does not constitute any risk to anyone.
“A responsible government will be more interested in ensuring that all necessary precautionary measures are in place at the secretariat – which were not even adhered to during the APC meeting he hosted.
“We are at a loss on why the governor and his brothers are so obsessed with the PDP secretariat. Could it be that they are desirous of returning to the PDP and do not want to let go of this great party office?
“Does the secretariat represent the apogee of their political attainment, hence their persistence to have it as trophy? What exactly is their obsession with the secretariat?
“Only they can give an honest answer to this. But, we simply wish to remind them that they have no stake in that edifice and should let go. They can hold on to the memory of their time in that secretariat, but it is time to face their new home.
“Our youth leader will be in court for the staged trial, hoping that the police will do well to be present and prosecute their case. We are law-abiding, even when the law is being used for persecution in cahoot with those entrusted with the duty of protecting the institution of justice.
We will continue to advocate for peace, knowing that evil will never prevail over good.”