A tragic and undemocratic situation befalls Yobe with the massive arrest and detention of some youth politicians and social media activists. The presence of a political movement known as the "Stand-Up and Be Involved" in Yobe has not gone unnoticed by the ruling All Progressives Congress. SUBI has been consistent with its determination to upset the political architecture of Yobe, lawfully and democratically. Its core idea is to fight against poverty, hunger, ignorance, and diseases, which it says have been the outcome of the poor governance well known by APC in the state. The movement has always been critical of the government of Mai Mala Buni and has deployed the use of politically-strong language, which the APC was not used to. The main opposition party in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party, was not known to use strong language.

Recently, facts have begun to emerge that show that the impact of SUBI's popularity and the effectiveness of its strategic communications has hit the APC hard. This is evidenced by the massive arrest of several SUBI sympathisers and social media activists that proved to be critical to the APC government. Recall that the governor of Yobe is the controversial Caretaker National Chairman of the APC. Amongst those still in incarceration are Mallam Yusuf Tebo, Mallam Auwal Bayamari, and Mallam Abdullahi Abubakar.

Yusuf Tebo, a social media activist, and a patriotic citizen were picked up at Potiskum and spent the night at the police division. It was clear that the state government was involved in the arrest. A police officer who sought protection revealed that Tebo’s case is of interest to the state’s Commissioner of Police and has since been transferred to Damaturu. While Tebo has been subjected to abuse at the Potiskum Police Station, Mallam Auwal Bayamari has already spent hours in police custody in Damaturu under brutal, dehumanising conditions.

Our sources who know the matter revealed that the arrest and detention were fuelled by the effective criticism of the governor, which angers his social media influencers, who are often referred to as "e-beggers" by many people in Yobe. The APC government appeared befuddled and unaware of citizens' rights to express opinions that differed from those of the APC. Democracy itself is beautiful because of the virtues of freedom of speech. Elsewhere in Nigeria, the people and the system have since passed this shameful lack of tolerance for political differences. When will Yobe grow politically? This act alone, the arrest of opposition, in and of itself, is embarrassing to the Governor and the state.

However, the APC government of Yobe and its supporters must look inward and accept the fact that the opposition has a place in democracy and the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. No one has the lawful right to stampede on it. However hard one tries to suppress the rights of people to hold political opinions and express dissatisfaction with governance, it will always fail. The government can order the arrest of youths by the thousands but cannot suppress the truth. If a government cannot withstand basic criticism, then it cannot be considered the government of the people. When the APC was in opposition, it, of course, was critical of the PDP.

The Yobe State Government must reconsider its stand on the opposition and allow its people to enjoy the full delight that democracy offers. It is unconstitutional to detain Tebo and the others without bail. A message to those who are celebrating the arrest is that nobody knows what tomorrow will bring and no government is in charge of it.

Free TEBO and the others.

Kasim Isa Muhammad Wrote from Potiskum, Yobe State

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