Ateke Tom, others caution parties against rallies in Okrika
EX-LEADER of the Niger Delta Vigilantes, Ateke Tom and others have asked the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State to stop plans of reorganising its governorship rally in Okrika, to avoid further breakdown of law and order in the area.
According to the ex-militant and other concerned persons in the area, this order also applies to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other political parties.
Meanwhile, the APC has alleged that the attack at its rally last week was planned to eliminate the party’s gubernatorial candidate, Dakuku Peterside, adding that it has documented the series of inflicted violence and killings of its members to be submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International, ECOWAS and other major international bodies.
Speaking after a stakeholders’ meeting, he stressed that the decision to advise APC not to contemplate reorganizing the rally was bound of the desire to preserve peace, law and order in the area.
Tom, whom the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, had accused of being one of the masterminds of the attack last week, explained that the people of Okrika want to preserve the exiting peace in the community. He insisted that the people of Okrika no longer want any trouble in their community.
It would be recalled that the APC State Chairman, Davis Ibiamu Ikanya, after last week’s attack declared that the party would still return to Okrika to organise the governorship rally.
“The people of Okrika have spoken and I am in support of the position they have taken. My people have spoken: no more political rallies in Okrika. I am in support of their decision. Who am I to say no? When the PDP held their rally there was no problem. But there was violence when the APC staged its rally in Okrika and people were injured and property destroyed. A policeman we were told was unfortunately killed. So, PDP and APC, there will be no more rallies in Okrika. We don’t want violence in Okrika anymore” Ateke Tom said.
A community leader, Marcus Omabipi, said stakeholders at the meeting took an unanimous decision to ban all formers of political rallies in Okrika to forestall further violence. He noted that while political parties are free to talk on issues that will help move the state forward, they should however be circumspect and refrain from insulting persons and institutions. He further added that all eligible voter of Okrika extraction is free to vote for any party and candidate of his or her choice in the forthcoming general election.
“The whole town commiserate with the family of the policeman who died as a result of the violence that transpired when the APC held its governorship rally on Tuesday, February 24, at the national school field. And because of what happened stakeholders have decided that there should be no more rallies for now in Okrika until further notice. The town has spoken and the decision is unanimous” he said.
Rivers APC chairman, Davis Ibiamu Ikanya, while receiving the report of a committee set up to investigate increasing cases of electoral violence in the State, said the party has documented over 150 acts of violence inflicted on its members to be forwarded to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and other international bodies.
“These sins revolve around attacks against APC faithful, billboards, and LG Secretariat by the misguided PDP elements in Rivers State ahead of the March/April 2015 general elections,” Prince Odika, who is the Rivers State APC Deputy Chairman, said. He pleaded that the report should be treated with the urgency it deserves before PDP engulfs the State into crisis that will not only send more APC members and other innocent persons to their earlier graves but also truncate the country’s nascent democracy” he said.
Ikanya appealed to the international community to come to the party’s aid, because the APC can no longer fold its arms and watch while its members are being viciously attacked and slaughtered by people whose mission and vision in politics is to spread violence all in a bid to grab political power. According to him, what makes the situation more pathetic is that security agencies in Rivers State, including the police and the Department of State Security (DSS), have failed to make any arrest or call the opposition Peoples Democratic Party leadership to order simply because they are controlled by the PDP-led Federal Government, which is desperate to take over Rivers State at all cost.
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