The attack on members of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abia State by thugs suspected to have been hired by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has been condemned by the national headquarters of the party.
APC condemned the disruption of its members’ meeting on September 17, 2013, in the state, saying the kind of intolerance and brigandage demonstrated by the PDP government in the state negated the very essence of democracy.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Monday by its interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the opposition party described such an unprovoked attack carried out by 10 young men armed with guns, machetes and wooden sticks as very dangerous and a manifestation of misdirected aggression.
Mohammed said if parties that held sway in a certain state would not allow members of other parties to meet, then a direct arrow would have been fired at the very heart of democracy and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
”Freedom of association is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The intolerance demonstrated by the PDP government in Abia State, which unleashed hired party thugs on a peaceful gathering of the APC in Abia Central Senatorial District on September 17, 2013, is undoubtedly a violation of the Constitution and an attack on democracy itself.
”It is the same intolerance that has driven the larger PDP to the brink of extinction; the same anti-democratic acts that have seen one faction of the ruling party unleash the security agencies against the other, and the same impunity that has turned a ruling party to an agent of destabilisation of the polity,” APC said.
The party, however, commended its members in Abia for being law-abiding and for refusing to be dragged to the same level of brigandage as the PDP considering the scale of the attacks that left several APC members injured and 10 vehicles, 15 motorcycles, 500 plastic chairs, public address system and others destroyed.
”We are particularly impressed by the maturity of the APC leaders in Abia who, instead of engaging the PDP thugs in a fire-for-fire stance, showed utmost restraint by reporting the incident to the state commissioner of police.
”We hereby call on the police and other security agencies in the state to prevent a recurrence of such attacks. We urge the PDP-run government in the state to allow democracy to thrive, while appealing to our members in Abia to remain peaceful,” APC said.