The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Zamfara has raised concern that the All Progressives Congress (APC) allegedly planned to influence in its favour the awaited outcome of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Sokoto.
The Acting Chairman of the PDP in Zamfara, Alhaji Mukhtar Lugga, raised the concern while addressing reporters in Gusau on Tuesday.
Lugga, who doubles as the Chief of Staff, Zamfara Government House, alleged that the APC’s plan to make the state ungovernable for the ruling party was leaked to the PDP by an APC member and an online journalist in the state.
“The state APC has been blackmailing all the activities of the ruling party in the state. The APC does not want peace to reign in the state,“ he alleged.
“The party in a widely circulated leaked audio recording, by the its supporter, who is managing director of an online TV station, openly boasted how he was contacted by a former governor of the state, ” Lugga claimed.
According to him, the former governor in question had reportedly contracted the journalist to bribe and influence members of the state House of Assembly to commence an impeachment proceedings against Gov. Dauda Lawal.
“In the same vein, the audio clip revealed that its author made damning allegations against the justices presiding over the state election petition tribunal.
“The journalist claimed that the justices had been induced to rule in APC’s favour the petition it filed against the PDP’s Gov. Dauda Lawal’s election,” Lugga said.
The Acting PDP Chairman appealed to the security forces to investigate the author of leaked audio and ensure justice was served on whoever is found culpable.
In a swift reaction, however, the Zamfara APC Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Yusuf Idris, said that PDP’s allegation was a grand plot using an old friend to Gov. Lawal and a journalist to tarnish the good image of the APC in the state.
Idris, in a statement issued to reporters late Tuesday, alleged that the said journalist in the concocted audio openly said he was a friend to the Gov. Lawal.
According to him, it remains a public knowledge that Gov. Lawal single handedly financed the online media owner to achieve his various political missions when former Gov. Bello Matawalle was the Chief Executive of the state.
“It is also on record that the operational vehicles of the medium were donated by Lawal and even the office accommodation that houses the medium is owned by Lawal and not any APC official.
“It should be made categorically clear that the journalist and online media owner is neither a card carrying member nor a good supporter of the APC in the state.
“He has never held a political office under the APC government and thus he couldn’t in anyway speak for or on behalf of the APC in Zamfara.
“It is our strong believe, however, that having observed the tribunal processes sent jitters to the PDP, hence it’s resorting to blackmail and name calling using a journalist,” Idris said.
Idris urged all relevant security forces to uncover those behind the video and bring them to book.
“The PDP failed to understand that the judiciary is an independent body and that no amount of intimidation or abuse will deter it from doing justice to all Nigerian citizens, irrespective of religious or political affiliation,” Idris noted.
He, however, urged APC supporters in the state to remain calm “as we have confident in the Nigeria judiciary and that justice will be served to us and we are hoping to reclaim our stolen mandate,” Idris said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that a leaked audio recording went viral on Aug. 25 with the journalist claiming a former governor of Zamfara had contracted him to deliver N180 million (in hard currency) to members of the state House of Assembly, as bribe, to impeach Gov. Lawal.
The said journalist also claimed in the audio that the judgment of the governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Sokoto had been influenced to favour the Zamfara APC. (NAN)