The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the state government of persecuting the chairman of the party in one of the local government areas because he would not join Governor Dave Umahi to defect to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a statement, the party said: “Our attention has been drawn to the sudden unwarranted illegal closure of the private School belonging to Barr. Agbom Friday, duly licensed to operate as such, by the Ezza South Local Government Chairman.
“Barr. Agbom Friday is the PDP Chairman for Ezza South Local Government Area and has remained resolute on his decision to continue as a loyal member of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ebonyi State. This is his only sin – refusal to decamp into the APC.
“Suddenly, his business endeavour has suddenly become the target of State as they’ve alleged that the School is a harbour for cultists in the Local Government Area. When did they know of this fact? Was it when he refused to decamp with them?
“Just two days ago, His Excellency, Governor David Umahi made an open declaration for peace in Ebonyi State and also directed his subordinates to desist from acts that will advance bitterness in the State. With this brazen act of intolerance coming from the Local Government Chairman of Ezza South and other political office holders therefrom, could the directive of the Governor be a mere window-dressing, designed to deceive while politically motivated attacks are sustained by his appointees and boys?
“If the Governor truly meant his directive, then we should see a serious resentment from him regarding this open act of intolerance and psychological violence meted upon Barr. Agbom.
“As we have stated repeatedly, it is not a crime to refuse the lure of decamping along with the Governor. Politics is the epitome of Freedom of Association as encapsulated in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and no one can be forced to belong in a Political party that he or she is not interested in.
“The action of the Executive Chairman of Ezza South Local Government Area is condemned in totality and he is called upon to immediately re-open that school. It is still the duty of the Nigerian Police to fish out criminals, arrest and prosecute them.
“The Governor is called upon, also, to once again admonish his appointees and followers to desist from further harassing or using their office to intimidate citizens simply because they have refused to decamp into APC.
“The PDP is compiling records of these abuses and will soon begin publishing same on national dailies and televisions for the whole nation and international communities to see what is happening in Ebonyi State. We will not be deterred by needless intimidation and attacks.”