30 die in Taraba over guber tribunal ruling
PDP is paying the price of impunity, says APC
NO fewer than 30 people were yesterday reportedly killed in Wukari Local Council of Taraba State in upheavals that have trailed Saturday’s ruling of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja that sacked Governor Darius Ishaku of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and declared the All Progressives Congress’ (APC’s) Aisha Alhassan as winner of April 11, 2015 poll.
The upheavals, which were said to have commenced at about 1 a.m. yesterday left scores dead with many more injured.
Meanwhile, APC said Saturday’s judgment was a clear indication that the PDP has started harvesting what it sowed in ‘‘its years of impunity and recklessness,’’ hence it should blame itself for whatever tragedy that has now befallen it.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the PDP has always been a party of anything goes, hence it is a matter of time for the party to come to grief, first by tumbling from the pinnacle of power and now by losing, incrementally, whatever remains of its crumbled empire.
Peace and tranquility in Wukari Council was said to have been disrupted immediately the news of the APC governorship candidate’s victory in the said governorship election filtered into the council.
Though heavily armed security personnel were deployed to the area to halt any form of uprising, aggrieved people defied whatever form of check the soldiers and policemen were expected to represent and went about attacking and killing perceived opponents from either side of the political divide.
Though the police are yet to come out with the actual numbers of casualties, sources from the area told The Guardian that “well over 30 persons have been killed.”
According to the sources, the Wukari General Hospital and some private clinics in the area have admitted no fewer than 50 casualties with varying degrees of injuries.
“Instead of celebrating the victory of their candidate peacefully, we were surprised that APC supporters went about attacking PDP supporters, destroying their property, killing and maiming them. I can tell you it would have been worse if PDP members had retaliated, but they behaved maturely.”
Confirming the report of violence and killings, the police commissioner through the Police Public Relations Officer said more anti-riot policemen, have been deployed to the area.
Some families who spoke to The Guardian on a telephone said they were trapped in their homes and hideouts, afraid to venture out.
Also, The Guardian noticed a large deployment of anti-riot policemen and soldiers to Jalingo, the state capital to forestall violence from Wukari.
Vehicles coming in from outside the state were thoroughly searched by the security operatives at the various checkpoints in the city.
Speaking through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Sylvanus Giwa, Ishaku enjoined the people to remain calm as relevant security measures have been put in place to halt the crisis from escalating.
He also said the government would take all legal and constitutional measures to nullify the Tribunal’s ruling which he said cannot be justified and would remain a figment in the imagination of those behind it.
Saddened by the tribunal’s ruling, Rebo Usman, the Chief of Staff to the state governor, said the situation in the state is a litmus test to President Muhammadu Buhari in his fight against corruption.
He said: “I will like to state here clearly that President Buhari has a challenge before him on the case of Taraba state. For judges to have done that means a lot of water must have passed under the bridge.”
Mohammed’s statement said the PDP was only trifling by attributing the judgement to a supposed manipulation from the Presidency.
‘’President Muhammadu Buhari as well as his party, the APC, are strong believers in the rule of law, as against the rule of impunity, hence will never manipulate the judiciary for whatever reason.
‘’The PDP is clearly aware of this, but has chosen to blame everyone but itself for the fate that has befallen it. The PDP should have known that it will pay for its years of impunity and recklessness. For this party, the chicken has now come home to roost,’’ APC said.
The party said if the PDP is not blaming the judiciary, its favourite whipping boy, it is blaming the APC, the Presidency or even Nigerians for its plight, warning it to stop shifting responsibility.
‘’PDP should leave the judiciary, the Presidency and the APC alone and accept responsibility for its actions. From the judgement of the Tribunal, it is clear that the impunity of the PDP cost it the election. Not only did the party breach Section 78 (b) (1) (2) of the Electoral Act concerning the organisation of party primaries, it was not even deemed to have participated in the April 11, 2015 governorship election in Taraba State in the eyes of the law.
‘’Apart from not complying with the Electoral Act, the election of the PDP candidate, Mr. Darius Ishaku, in the purported primaries in Abuja was done after the stipulated time for party primaries had elapsed, according to the Tribunal. It is thus clear that the election result in Taraba was not annulled for any other reason but the impunity and recklessness that permeated the life and times of the cadaverous PDP,” Mohammed said.