Following Tuesday’s attack by suspected Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) hoodlums on APC supporters on their way to the Buhari Presidential Campaign flag-off in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to restrain members of his party.
Amaechi, who is also the Director-General of the Buhari Presidential Campaign, spoke on Wednesday after leading the APC presidential candidate and others on a sympathy visit to victims of the attack at the Kelsey Harrison Hospital in Port Harcourt.
Amaechi said the President, apart from prevailing on his men not to unleash violence on APC supporters in Rivers State and across the country, also owed a duty to condemn Tuesday’s attack on the APC members.
“Imagine that the President goes to campaign in Katsina or in Kano and his convoy is attacked, imagine that, we will condemn it,” the governor said. “In the same manner, we expect the President and the Peoples’ Democratic Party should condemn this violence that has been visited on us by their members and we expect that they should be able to control their members.”
He stressed that the President cannot be promising Nigerians free, fair and violence-free elections while violence is being perpetrated in front of him. “If he says violence-free election, and here we have already experienced violence, what is he expecting us to do?"
He further called on President Jonathan, as Commander-In-Chief, to provide security for all Nigerians irrespective of their party of affiliation.
“I have continued to say that if the state is not able to provide security for individuals, individuals begin to provide security for themselves and I pray that people don’t begin to provide security for themselves. I pray that all of us should come out and support the state to provide security and the state must be ready to provide that security”.
According to him, the PDP, by the attacks on APC supporters, has shown that it is not ready to ensure peaceful or violence-free polls.
“The fact that people are being attacked here and there is an indication that the PDP is not ready for free, fair and violence-free elections," he declared.
The governor disclosed that the state would provide free medical service for the victims of the attack and extend financial support to their families during the time they would be in hospital for medical care.
In his remarks, the Rivers State APC gubernatorial candidate, Dakuku Peterside, also expressed displeasure at the attack by PDP supporters, which he described as “an unfortunate trend.”
He said the only way for Nigerians to trust President Jonathan over his avowed desire for peaceful elections in the country is for him to publicly condemn the attacks and ensure they don’t re-occur.
“I don’t want to believe that violence will characterize the 2015 elections because that is not what any one of us desires,” he said. “The President has said severally, whether he means it or not is a different matter, that his ambition is not worth the blood of anybody and we agree with him to that extent but again, it is one thing to share your philosophy, it is another thing to see your people go clearly against what you believe in and you are doing nothing about it. I am optimistic that the President and his team and members of his party, the PDP, will come out strongly and condemn this act of violence visited on members of the APC in Rivers State”.
He reiterated the belief of the APC in peaceful polls and using peaceful means to realize political gains.
It was gathered that the APC supporters were attacked yesterday at Elele, as well as between Emohua and Sama Abalama in Kalabari Kingdom, and between Kpoki and Kira in Ogoni land.
With General Buhari during the visit were the National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Senator Chris Ngige, and many of the APC party faithful.