By: Luka Binniyat.
As Stephen Kefason spends a total of 17 days today (23rd June, 2019) in Kaduna Prison out of his 36 days under the detention of Kaduna state government. I wrote in (part 1) yesterday, how friends of Kefason decided to mark his birthday on 23rd May, 2019 during his first detention. I then reminisced on how kefason had been about the most sustainable voice of dissent in place of the major opposition party (PDP) in Kaduna state, faulting the party for not standing by him.
A close friend and confidant of Stephen Kefason got a call from his boss in the afternoon of 13th May, 2019. Thinking it was over an unfinished business he had left in the office, he hurried up just meet three strange persons with his boss, according to details I have gathered from Port Harcourt.
The three men smelled cops. And sure, they were!
They came from Kaduna to the port city. They had ostensibly used tracking technology to monitor who was the closest person to the location of their target – the person who made the most frequent calls to Kefason. It turned out to be his best friend. The man was put under duress to lead the them to Kefason or, he feared, he may lose his job. Rive in pains, he called Kefason and asked that they meet at a usual location. That was how Kefason was arrested, in summary.
He was then ferried by road to Kaduna in the early hours of the morning and clamp in detention, to the joy of those who have come under his social media blitzkrieg for four years.
As soon as he was arrested, the internet was abuzz. On twitter the Hashtag #FreeStephenKefason# soon generated traffic. Online news sources feasted on the story. High profile social critics denounced the arrest including lesser mortals like us.
But mum was the word from the major opposition in Kaduna state, being the PDP.
Is it lawful to eavesdrop on citizens calls without a court warrant, tract them, arrest them and haul them in detention over an alleged offence? Especiall because another citizen connected to the seat of power had complained to the police that a certain citizen had allegedly insulted and maligned him on facebook?
How could the police be swift in using technology to pin down Kefason, but not deploy such alacrity to do same to the hundreds of kidnappers and other enemies of society that have made Kaduna state to be among the most unsafe place to live?
These are the kinds of questions that have been asked and in which the PDP ought to have added weight to by din of its legitimate status as a registered political party now the biggest opposition in the state.
While it could be possible that Kefason may not even be a card carrying member of the PDP, there is little doubt that Kefason’s 4 years of adept, consistent and acrylic opposition to el-Rufai’s policies perceived by the public as harmful to its interest, had been a huge political gain for the PDP and a serious minus for the ruling APC. The PDP cannot be picking the fruits fallen by a shaker and not acknowledging him as it nourishes itself from its nutrients. It is a moral, political and social obligation that the PDP should stand and support all those who are interested in the progress and wellbeing of Kaduna state and take risks to kick against what they believe to be rule of tyranny, through repressive and retrogressive policies of government.
These kinds of arrests of known critics of el-Rufai government (most of the times without a court warrant) have been too common in the state. Even if it is for the records, the PDP in the state ought to have come out with a position.
And that is why unauthorised s members of the party and millions of the party followers are at lost where the Kaduna state leadership of the PDP inherited what many view as its timid, aloof and indolent stand when it comes to matters of the civic rights, rule-of-law and accountability to electorates. Its destructive meekness cannot come from the National PDP which is brimming with energy and guts as it stands tall to protect Nigeria democracy and retake what it believes to be its stolen presidential mamdate.
And I have been asked severally as one who was thick in the 2019 gubernatorial campaign of the PDP, if truly I believe that the PDP won the 2019 gubernatorial election in Kaduna state now claimed by the APC.
My answer has always been: “If you truly live in Kaduna state in the past four years, and you truly partake in the day-to-day struggles of survival; winced at our unprecedented divisiveness, grim insecurity.
“If you comported yourself from reacting to shocking provocations; survived mass job losses; got high blood pressure over planned and real demolitions; lived through threats and intimidations in the absence of any new infrastructure and improved wellbeing; uncertain future, among others, it would be very mad of me to suggest that majority of Kaduna state voters would chose another four years of such rule,” I always say. And I always insist that I am optimistic that the Gubernotorial Election Tribunal will give the PDP its victory in the end.
And I am also quick to add that it was largely the activities of critics and activists, not professional politicians in the opposition camps that could have led to creating the bedrock for which such a rebellion must have happened.
And you can’t mention three os such heroes in the state without Stephen Kefason. Especially his activisms over the Adara crisis before the 2019 general elections, from which the PDP won Adara land while Kefason now gained prison.
……….. (Continue in Part 3)……………………