The All Progressives Congress has restated its call for a meeting of the leadership of the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party to stem the rising cases of violence ahead of the forthcoming polls.
In a statement in Lagos on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said such a meeting would send a strong message of zero tolerance for violence to the supporters of both parties, those of other parties, other people in Nigeria and the international community.
It added that the meeting would also douse the tension that was building up ahead of the elections.
APC stated that the call was a follow-up to the “practical steps” taken by the party, dating as far back as May, 2014, when it first wrote to the leadership of the PDP, calling for such a meeting.
It said, “Following up on a meeting of representatives of both parties in Washington, DC, US on April 7 to 8, 2014, under the auspices of the CSIS Nigeria Election Forum, at which it was agreed that a joint meeting of both parties be convened to discuss and agree on the crucial issue of a Code of Conduct for the campaigns and the elections, we wrote a letter to the PDP suggesting a bi-partisan meeting to address the issue.
“We have since been following up on the letter, the latest effort being on December 28, 2014, when we again called for the holding of the bi-partisan meeting. Apart from its reply to our initial letter, the PDP has not responded to our peace overtures till date”.
The party said, however, that whether or not the PDP signs on to such a meeting, the APC would continue to educate its members and supporters on the need to eschew all forms of violence before, during and after the elections.
APC restated its pledge to continue working for violence-free polls next month, alleging that the opposition party had been at the receiving end of a series of grave acts of violence in recent times
The party added, “It is common knowledge that our supporters were shot at while traveling to Port Harcourt for the inaugural presidential campaign on January 6, 2015. The police even prevented those of them, who were hospitalised and treated for gunshot wounds, from being discharged.
“Also, our office in Okrika was bombed on Sunday. Another major incident is the burning of the Jonathan campaign buses in Jos, which is a PDP-on-PDP violence in the wake of the intra-party crisis in Plateau State after an apparently unpopular candidate was rigged in as the party’s governorship flag bearer in the state.
“The APC had nothing to do with the Jos violence, even though, the PDP has tried to spin it in order to portray our supporters as being behind it.
“Our presidential candidate, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, moved fast to condemn the violence in Jos. On the contrary, neither President Goodluck Jonathan nor any of his party leaders has condemned the shooting of our supporters and the bombing of our office in Okrika”.