The Imo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party has decried what it described as the “wanton” arrest of the Party’s Chieftains ahead of the March 18 House of Assembly elections.
This was contained in a statement issued by its State Publicity Secretary, Collins Opurozor, on Thursday in Owerri.
Opurozor, who condemned the recent arrest of a former Deputy Governor of the state and chieftain of the PDP, Gerald Irona, said it was a show of cowardice, which aims at weakening the party.
He described as “puerile” a recent invitation to former Governor Emeka Ihedioha and a House of Representatives member-elect, Ikenga Ugochinyere, by the police in Imo State.
He challenged the ruling All Progressives Congress in the state, led by Governor Hope Uzodinma, to allow all political parties test their popularity at the poll rather than resorting to intimidation of the opposition using the police and other agencies of government.
The Publicity Secretary said: “This is a calculated attempt by the Senator Uzodinma-led APC to arrest and keep these prominent leaders of our Party out of circulation during the House of Assembly elections scheduled for Saturday, March 18th.
“This way, it would be easy to rig the polls and reestablish a weak and malleable APC-dominated House of Assembly in Imo which can only sing his praises. Imo people must now rise and defend democracy in the State.
“A former Deputy Governor of the State, Rt. Hon. Gerald Irona, had his residence invaded last week by armed security operatives on the orders of Uzodinma. Since then, he has been in detention, persecuted for doing no wrong.
“Our Party regrets that the police in Imo has allowed itself to be abused by Senator Uzodinma, and deployed as a tool for political vendetta. This is extremely dangerous.”
Opurozor further described the police in Imo State as “highly politicised” and called on the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, to overhaul the police architecture in the state to ensure a level playing ground for all actors in the state’s politics.
This, he said, would rekindle faith in the fairness and credibility of the Police and its capacity to secure Imo people.