The All Progressives Congress (APC) has condemned in strong terms the attacks aimed at disrupting the party’s ongoing membership registration in Rivers State, saying the incident represented a shot at the heart of democracy and a breach of Nigeria’s constitution.
In a statement issued in Ilorin, Kwara State capital on Friday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, APC said “People’s participation is at the core of democracy, while the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees the right of citizens to associate with any party of their choice. These deadly attacks hinder people’s participation in democracy and violate the fundamental rights of the affected citizens”.
The APC spokesman claimed that the attacks were undoubtedly masterminded by the Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike-sponsored Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI) and the Peoples Democratic Party in Rivers, and were aimed at covering up the glaring rejection of the party by the people of the state.
Mohammed said, “We have no doubt that these attacks, during which at least one person has been shot dead, would not have been possible without the collusion of the police. Therefore, we appeal to the incoming commissioner of police in Rivers State to stop the Mbu-era of misuse of the police as the enforcement arm of the PDP in the state”.
The party wondered why the attacks took place only in Rivers, as the exercise was taking place simultaneously in all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
“Some partisan analysts and uninformed critics have challenged our directive to our lawmakers in the National Assembly not to cooperate with the Executive until peace returns to Rivers. But are they not surprised that it is only in one state – Rivers – that our membership registration has been disrupted? Is Rivers the only state where we have PDP members?
“Again, we ask President Goodluck Jonathan to rein in his supporters in Rivers and stop them from setting the state and the country on fire. We urge him to remind his supporters in Rivers, led by his overzealous minister, Wike that his ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian”, it said.
Describing some of the attacks by hoodlums in Rivers, APC said the worst happened in Degema, where one Andy was shot dead and six APC supporters suffered bullet wounds. It further said the party’s supervisory committee chairman for Degema for the registration, who is a former chairman, Rivers State Civil Service Commission, Mr. Ben Orugbani, narrowly escaped death when his house was sprayed with bullets in the old Bakana area.
“There were also attacks in Phalga Wards 11, 14 and 16, where hoodlums shot sporadically and hijacked registration materials, handsets and cameras; Ward 9 in Obio/Akpor the ward of Wike, where hoodlums beat up registration officers and hijacked registration materials, and in Ward 6 in Woji area, where 30 hoodlums manhandled APC supporters and shot one of them, Chibuchi Ogbonda, who is now in hospital”, it added.
Last Wednesday, APC commenced its membership registration across the country with the exercise being conducted peacefully in most areas.