Rivers PDP Supporters Protest With Charms, Local Pots

Supporters of the Rivers State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have continued their protest by placing fetish objects in front of the Port Harcourt office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as they demand access to the voting materials used in the state’s March 18 governorship election.

Recall that the PDP protest began on Monday and turned violent when the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Tonye Cole, and some members of the party executive arrived at the GRA junction to proceed to the INEC office, just a few metres away along Aba Road in Port Harcourt.

Cole had insisted that he and his team would visit the INEC office on Tuesday to continue their demand.

READ ALSO: Political Thugs Beat Up APC’s Tonye Cole, Beke In Port Harcourt

However, it was learnt that they decided to stay back to avoid the fisticuffs and pandemonium that led to him being injured during the protest on Monday.

According to The Punch, it was observed that the protesters placed several fetish materials in the middle of the road with a man dressed like a ‘juju priest’ adorned in red cloth with his head and waist wrapped with palm fronds, presiding over affairs, pouring libations, and making incantations in a local dialect.

Barricades were reportedly erected by security operatives on both the Waterlines axis and the GRA junction leading to the INEC office remained, as motorists and commuters are barred from accessing the hitherto busy express road.

The protest, which had since been led by the Deputy Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Edison Ehie, and the Ikwerre Local Government Area Chairman, was joined by more lawmakers on Tuesday, including the 32-member House leader, Martins Amaewhule.

“The police must arrest him (Cole) today because we don’t know what to tell the family of the dead PDP supporter. The wife and children are crying at the hospital. Why must we continue to fold our hands and allow criminals to steal our money because they are using thugs?

“The Nigeria Police must rise to the occasion. We are ready to die for our rights. We are ready to die to defend our mandate. Enough is enough,” Ehie stated.

The protesters later presented an acknowledged copy of the PDP’s petition dated March 24, 2023, in which the ruling party demanded that the INEC release Certified True Copies of electoral materials.

Reacting to Tuesday’s protest, Beke, however, said the APC will do everything within the law to get what it needs to file its case at the election petition tribunal.

He said, “They blocked the INEC office with juju, are you not aware? Didn’t you see what they tied there? That tells you what they are up to. Do they have the right to block INEC’s office? You can see what they are doing.

“For us, the world has known our demands, and we are going to get what we are asking for within the law. We never said they (INEC) should not give any other person what they are asking for.

“No, we asked that they give CTC documents, and we have done that petition to the Inspector General of Police because we feel we won’t get justice from the police in Rivers State.”

Meanwhile, Governor Nyesom Wike has faulted the demands of the state’s APC governorship candidate, Cole, to inspect election materials at the INEC office in Port Harcourt.

Wike expressed surprise that a candidate, (making a veiled reference to Cole) personally went to the INEC office to inspect CTC documents of election materials.

He spoke at the commissioning of the Government Secondary School in Kpor, the headquarters of the Gokana Local Government Area of the state, on Tuesday.

He stated, “Have you seen where a candidate is going to INEC to say that he wants to collect CTC? What are his lawyers doing? What are his agents doing?

“Those are the duties of lawyers. What CTC do you want to collect? Let people see the truth of the matter. You lost the election; you lost the election.”

Meanwhile, the state Commissioner of Police, Okon Effiong, has warned politicians to stop dragging the police into politics.

While noting that “the police remain neutral and focused on their constitutional duties,” CP Effiong warned that “unnecessary protesters hindering vehicular and commercial activities will not be tolerated.”