By Uche Mbah
Despite warnings by the opposition and predictions by western intelligentsia, there appeared to be a desperation to clamp down on opposition and international donor agencies as long as their position is at variance with the position of the ruling party, the opposition has alleged. This comes on the heels of the alleged freezing of the accounts of Peter Obi, the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP
The PDP had earlier in the year warned of the plan by the APC led government to clamp down on the opposition and the Civil Society groups. “The first leg of this scheme is to commence a vicious intimidation and harassment of PDP members who have refused to succumb to pressure to join the APC in their undemocratic quest to create room for a one party state in Nigeria.” Kola Ologbondayan, the party spokes person alleged. They had claimed that the Federal Government is prepared to make maximum use of the anti graft agencies other security apparatus to intimidate opposition.
Recent developments appears to dovetail into that allegation. Deji Adeyanju, a social and political activist, has been under arrest by security agencies. Latest information indicates that he is being held for a case that a court of competent jurisdiction had already discharged and acquitted him in the past.
Besides Deji, Doyin Okupe, former spokesperson for former President Olusegun Obasanjo, was arrested and accused of cyber terrorism. His arrest may not be unconnected with an interview he granted an online medium (not The Source) where he was alleged to have said that Atiku is the luckiest Presidential Candidate the Country has ever had because the APC has no presidential candidate. He cited the constitution stipulating that one of the conditions for elective office is that the aspirant must be a N9gerian. Okupe alleged that the current President Buhari was not a Nigerian.
The latest of the clampdowns was by the Nigerian military against international donor agencies like the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund, UNICEF, a group that the Nigerian Army has blacklisted. Apart from UNICEF, they are also up in arms against Amnesty International, an international human Rights Watchdog. AI is under fire for doing its job and releasing a damning report on the Nigerian Military in the War Against Boko Haram.
There were also reports that many media houses are under pressure to not write or broadcast anything that will embarrass the government. Some media houses are said to have fined heavily by the Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria, BON, for infractions that may be regarded as minor because they allegedly ignored warnings on their program. Program anchors have lost their positions in broadcast media because of Government pressures on their organization. Recently, Farouk Kpotogi, an American based social commentator, who was a columnist with the Weekly Trust Newspapers, had his column yanked off the Tabloid by the Newspaper management due to pressures from the government that sees his column as being too critical. He has since relocated his column to tribune.
The united states was said to have warned of increased clampdown on opposition as the election draws near, fearing that the election may precipitate violence if the aproaching trend is not checked.To this, PDP has warned that the ruling party should not attempt to rig themselves into power “like they did in Osun and Ekiti”