The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Council in Kogi State has described as fictitious, unfounded and tendentious, claims that the party has abandoned the spokesman of the council and senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Dino Melaye, in his hour of need.
Melaye, surrendered to the police after an eight-day siege to his residence by the Nigeria Police Force, who are bent on getting him to answer to the case of attempted culpable homicide over the shooting of a Police officer, Danjuma Saliu, attached to 37 Police Mobile Force (PMF), the incident reportedly took place while the officer on duty at a stop and search point along Aiyetoro Gbede, Mopa Road in Kogi State, on July 19, 2018.
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Days after he gave himself up, an ailing Melaye was whisked away from the police hospital in Abuja, where he had been receiving treatment by masked security operatives on Friday.
Force spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, claimed Melaye was moved to a health facility of the Department of State Services (DSS) following complaints that his condition was not improving. He was yesterday moved to the Federal Special Anti-robbery Squad (FSARS) office in Guzape District, Abuja.
“The police investigation team obtained a 14 day remand warrant from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court on January 9, 2019, to keep Senator Dino Melaye in police custody for investigation into the case of criminal conspiracy and attempted culpable homicide against him till 23rd January, 2019.
Speaking exclusively to The Guardian in Lokoja, Friday, Director of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council in Kogi State, Chief Clarence Olafemi, described the claim abandonment of Melaye as fictitious, adding that despite his travails, Melaye is in high spirit following the outpouring of solidarity and encouragement from partymen and women.
Olafemi, a former speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly and one time acting governor of the state disclosed that some leaders of the party had kept vigil at the hospital, while supporters were also trooping in to see him.
“The claim that Senator Dino Melaye has been abandoned by the party is a lie from the pit of hell. Dino Melaye knows that the party cannot abandon him. Would you say that Bukola (Saraki), has abandoned Dino? Can he abandon him? Would you say that Atiku (Abubakar) has abandoned Dino? Can he abandon him? These are Dino’s friends come rain, come sun. I am the director of the campaign council (in Kogi State) and Dino Melaye is a very strategic figure to the campaign. I am reassuring you that we are doing every thing possible to ensure that Dino wins the Kogi West Senatorial District election, whether they keep him in prison or they don’t keep him in prison. The war against Melaye is purely political.
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“We in Okunland; we in Kogi West, we are going to vote for him, we cannot abandon him because he is useful to us. How can a government spend so much money; so much manpower running after a single person? In my 68 years in Nigeria, I have not seen such thing,” Olafemi said.
On what steps the PDP leadership has taken so far to ensure Melaye’s release from detention, Olafemi said, “there is no step we can take other than to give him moral support and encourage the lawyers to work hard towards securing his release, and they are doing that.
Visitors, party leaders and supporters, are trooping in daily to the hospital to see him to give him strong moral support. I can assure you authoritatively that Dino is in high spirit where he is.
As a human being, his incarceration is a denial of his human rights, and a denial of his liberty.
No doubt he will have some element of psychological depression. Like Nelson Mandela, he is struggling against the tides, but one day, he shall be liberated.
“Half of our presidential rally in Lokoja on Monday January 7 was devoted to celebrate Melaye, and we are aware that he will hear from where he is, and this would further boost his morale.
The presidential campaign team that visited Lokoja for the Monday rally paid a solidarity visit to him in Abuja before embarking on the journey to Lokoja.
We are behind him, the party is behind him, the campaign committee is behind him and Kogi State people are all behind him, as well as Kogi West. They are doing this thinking that his arrest will slow down his chances in the election, but they are wasting their time. They have only succeeded in making him more popular.”
On his part, Chairman, Media Directorate, Dino Melaye Campaign Organisation (DMCO) Bawa Yakubu, noted that the PDP is aware it must be alive to its responsibilities of not only leading the party to victory at the polls, but also defending the democratic rights of its members in times of distress.
He said, “The PDP, in Kogi and at the national levels have come off the margin of mere social media outbursts. Its leaderships has, without much ado, engaged Melaye’s traducers with equal force, by instant and courageous deployment of legal, political, scientific, social and popular field actions to stave off this mind boggling onslaught on his life.
“This is evident in the PDP rally of January 7 in Lokoja during which Senator Dino Melaye shone brightly even while still under police custody”.