President campaigns in Ondo, Rivers, APC, David-West chart path to peaceful polls
• Nigerians in U.S. hold rally to support him
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan who is the standard bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in next month’s election continues his campaign in Ondo and Rivers states today just as the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) chapter has described electoral violence as the greatest danger confronting the country’s democracy.
On his part, David-West said that the situation in Rivers where hoodlums control territories without being challenged by security agencies was an indication that Nigeria is a failed state, saying that he would only support a party that will bring light to the country.
Meanwhile, as rain and snow fell on the St Regis lawn in Washington and fierce wind whipped through the Northeast region, Nigerians in America and friends of Nigeria in their numbers came out to support the re-election of the President.
Braving the freezing cold and defying call by weather experts to stay indoors, hundreds of people huddled under umbrellas, some waived the Nigerian flags, others wore shirts and caps to signify their support for President Jonathan.
General Muhammadu Buhari was billed to attend a Corporate Council on Africa event at the venue of the rally Monday but cancelled due to the visit of the U.S Secretary, John Kerry’s to Nigeria.
Dr. Toyin Ibidapo, a member of the local American Legion post said he participated in the rally because she feels “a strong responsibility to honour the president, considering the many challenges he has faced in his first term
The Rivers APC stressed the need for the international community to pay a closer attention to what is happening in Rivers State.
In a video documentary detailing the attacks of its members and destruction of properties in the state by the PDP, the APC called on Amnesty International, International Red Cross, the United Nations, the African Union (AU) and other international agencies to intervene in the state.
The chairman of the party, Dr. Davies Iboamu Ikanya, who stated this at a press conference on electoral violence in Port Harcourt yesterday, lamented that a situation where the supporters of the PDP attack APC members at will under the watch of security operatives, was troubling and an attempt by the PDP to win Rivers at all cost.
He said that the alleged destruction of lives and property in the state by the PDP, started when the Jonathan government deployed the former Commissioner for Police, Mbu Joseph Mbu, to the state.
Ikanya, who addressed newsmen along with Senator Magnus Abe, APC governorship candidate, Hon. Dakuku Peterside, and former Petroleum Minister, Prof. Tam David-West, also said: “The PDP having established its machinery for violence now began to unleash mayhem in the form of physical attacks on the APC members, killing and causing grievous bodily harm on our members across the state, destroying properties worth millions of naira.
“It began with a tragicomedy of sorts which held the nation’s attention for several weeks. In the full glare of the nation, five disgruntled and misguided House of Assembly members led by one Evans Bipi, and sponsored by the then Minister of State for Education (both of whom are adopted sons of the president and his wife), in the company of countless thugs, andMbu’s band of policemen attempted to overrun the State House of Assembly.”
He alleged that the violence in the state was being sponsored by a rival governorship candidate because of tacit federal backing.
David-West said that he would always remain on the side of Nigeria and Rivers State, noting that he started supporting Governor Rotimi Amaechi before he met him in person, and that the campaign against him will fail.
On his part, Senator Abe said the constitution has given the people of the state the right to join any political party of their choice, noting that they should not be killed for that.
Peterside dismissed the comments credited to the PDP that the violence in the state stems from the disagreement between him and Abe, saying that it was “malicious, unkind, laughable and mischievous,” noting that the bond that holds him and Abe “is a greater Rivers State.”
Peterside said he thought that the violence would cease after he, Wike, and Prince Tonye Princewill of the Labour Party (LP) signed a peace agreement under the watch of the US ambassador to Nigeria, but that the attack on the venue for the party’s rally in Okrika has proved otherwise.