By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
In a swift reaction to the suspension of its two members from Kaduna State House of Assembly on Tuesday, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has come hard on Governor Nasir el-Rufai of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
The State Chairman of PDP, Hon Hassan Hyat, during press briefing at the party’s state secretariat on Tuesday, said that the ruling party is dislocating people of the state through its unpopular programmes.
“The government started with demolition of houses that made many homeless. It went ahead to do verification of workers where several people died. The govt again went ahead to create crisis for the people living behind Command Secondary School in Kaduna South; they had to go to court to stop him,” he said.
The PDP chairman was embittered that the same government that should be protecting citizens did the contrary by sacking thousands of district and village heads.
“The government was not satisfied, went ahead to sack over night, district and village heads that are used to maintain peace and support government programmes, especially health-related issues,” he added.
He used the opportunity to condemn in strong terms the sacking of 5,000 workers by the APC government. “It seems the govt takes pleasure in dislocation of Kaduna people,” he stressed.
Hyat said that though, nobody is supporting collapse of education sector, but that the planned sacking of 22,000 teachers was uncalled for.
“The govt would have taken advantage of the National Teachers Institute (NTI), which is in its domain, to train the affected teachers instead of overnight saying that over 22,000 teachers are on the way out and the govt justifies by saying they are bringing in new teachers.
“The questions one should ask is: what is the aim of government? If the same people government should be taken care of are destroyed, we call on the people of Kaduna State to use the stone of ballot to make a change to restore the dignity of Kaduna State and protect democracy in Nigeria,” he advised.
He said that the government derives power from the people and uses people’s resources, wondering why same should be haunted with power they handed out.
“I don’t want to forget the colossal loss of over 10 billion Naira, said to have been used in feeding school children, which should have been channeled into training of same teachers being sacked,” he pointed out.
On the suspension of two PDP members from the Kaduna State House of Assembly, he said that there is no reason why their members should be suspended.
“Common sense shows that if someone is accused, he should be given a chance to defend himself. We learnt that the member that moved the motion for the suspension of our members at the Assembly moved a motion on the floor, the Speaker did not call for a counter motion, neither did he ask those at the plenary to comment.
“We are constrained to ask the Speaker if there are no rules guiding the proceedings, and if the Assembly can within five minutes pass suspension. Can the Speaker tell us if his behaviour is in public interest and promotion of democracy?” he queried.
He said that it was unfortunate that the Speaker of Kaduna House of Assembly, who should know better, endorsed an illegitimate action, capable of undermining democracy.
“We call for a reversal of the decision and an apology to the members affected. Anything short of it we will not accept. We will not let anybody scuttle democracy. Kaduna State is part of Nigeria, and is bound by laws of the country,” he emphasized.
Hyat sympathised with Kaduna State citizens, but assured them that the party is peoples- and masses-friendly. “We have done it before; we would do it again. Col Hamid Ali military administration sacked several workers, but the PDP govt, under Makarfi, came and restored them,” he said.
He said the party believes in democracy and would be patient till 2019 to change the fortunes of the state for the better. “We don’t want violence; we would follow them to 2019 and take decision with the ballot,” he assured.