Nathaniel Gbaoron, Lafia
Nasarawa State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), has rescheduled its campaign flag off ahead of 2023 general election following alleged disapproval by the police.
The party had fixed Monday, Nov. 28, to begin their campaign in Toto Local Government Area of the state, but had to reschedule to Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. Mr Francis Orogu, Chairman of the party in the state, confirmed the development at a press conference on Friday in Karu Local Government Area.
He said that the party had sought and gotten approval from the Police to hold the rally on Nov. 28, in Toto LGA.
Orogu, however, said that while arrangements were being concluded for the event, the party got a letter from the Commissioner of Police, Maiyaki Mohammed-Baba on Friday, Nov. 25, that the rally would not be allowed to hold.
“He (CP) said he was informed by the Toto Local Government chairman that he is not aware of our coming.
“This is laughable, and to us democratically mischievous because we know that the Commissioner of Police knows that the chairman of a local government has no space under the Electoral Act to be informed and secure permission to campaign in his local government,” Orogu said.
He claimed that the PDP was the first to make its campaign schedule known and wondered why the All Progressives Congress (APC) were insisting on starting their campaign from the same local government area on the same day.
The chairman noted that PDP had initially slated Nov. 26, to start its electioneering campaign in the state but had to shift it to Nov. 28, when they heard APC plans to begin same day, “only to be told now that the new date is also not feasible after spending resources and time preparing for the event.”
Also speaking, Mr Labaran Maku, Director-General of PDP Campaign Council expressed deep disappointment over the development and called for absolute neutrality from security agencies.
“It is strange that 48 hours to go to our campaign rally, we suddenly received this letter despite the fact that our party was the first to notify the police of our campaign schedule,” he said.
Maku said that after consultations the leaders of the party and the campaign council had agreed to reschedule the party’s campaign flag off in Toto Local Government Area to Nov. 29.
“We are giving the Nigeria Police Force the benefit of the doubt that we are law abiding but we hope the remaining schedule will not be disrupted.
“We appeal to our supporters, especially those in Toto, to be law-abiding in spite of what has happened,” he said.
Reacting to the development, DSP Ramhan Nansel, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nasarawa State Command, refuted the allegation that the police had directed the PDP to stop plans for its campaign flag off rally in Toto LGA on Nov. 28.
He said that there was a clash of date and location with the APC and CP Mohammed-Baba, only advised the PDP to shift its rally to the next day in order to avert clashes among supporters, and to adequately provide security to both parties for their campaign rallies.
“So, it is for the sake of providing adequate security for the two political parties that the police advised PDP to shift theirs to the next day. It is not as if they were outrightly stopped or prevented,” he said.