A panel sent by the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to conduct the House of Assembly primaries in Adamawa State has accused the governor, Bala Ngilari, of leading other state party members to intimidate its members, detain them for days.
The panel members also accused the governor of leading state agents to seize election materials and rigged in fake candidates.
The panel in its report filled at the national secretariat, Abuja, said its members were harassed on the instruction of the governor, who demanded that they recognise his candidates or risk being attacked.
While the events unfolded, the committee said, security agents did nothing to assist them.
During one of the exchanges, the governor reportedly openly told the panel he could not guarantee the safety of its members, according to complaints sent to PDP national chairman, Adamu Muazu.
The panel said throughout its stay in Yola, its members were not allowed to address authentic candidates of the election and that the governor gave orders that they should not be allowed to go anywhere outside the presidential lodge where they stayed.
“We were constantly threatened, abused, harassed and even physically molested by thugs, the suspended PDP state chairman, suspended PDP state secretary, the PDP state organizing secretary as well as other agents of the governor,” the panel said.
In the end, the panel members said they were forced to address the media and deliver candidates backed by Ngilari, before being forced into a chartered aircraft manned by state agents who escorted them back to Abuja.
A spokesperson to Ngilari, Phineas Elisha, said the governor acted to ensure the safety of the team members. He denied they were attacked or harassed.
Chairman of the electoral panel, Tim Ihemadu and the secretary of the panel, Victoria Nyam-Isha, who provided troubling details of their experience in the hands of the governor and officials of the PDP in Adamawa, said “We were practically kidnapped and held under house arrest from Saturday morning to Monday afternoon.”
The team said on arrival in Yola on Saturday, its members were informed by the state acting chairman of the PDP, Jingi Rufai, and the acting Secretary, Fati Nyaro, who received them at the airport, that they needed to meet the governor as the state leader of the party.
The team said that the first sign of trouble came after the governor presented a court document requiring that Messrs Madaki and Shehu be recognised as chairman and secretary of the party respectively, and that a list of candidates different from what was approved in Abuja be used for the elections.
When the team insisted the national headquarters of the party was unaware of the court order, Ngilari reportedly warned that he could not guarantee their safety in the state if they failed to comply with the court orders.
The panel said they were later driven to a hotel owned by Ngilari, where they met a large number of party officials and “thugs” who threatened them for not accepting Madaki and Shehu as party chairman and secretary.
The panel said their efforts to explain that they could only work with the materials given to them by the national secretariat of the party, who gave them the assignment, drew more anger and crowd.
“Some of the thugs began to physically molest Committee members including insults in the presence of policemen and officials of the party,” they said.
The election panel said Ngilari, thereafter, sent in some elders, who ferried them to the presidential lodge.