APC Condemns Disruption Of Membership Registration In RiversFeatured, Latest News, Politics Friday, February 7th, 2014
Ayo Balogun, Lagos
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has strongly condemned the attacks aimed at disrupting the party’s ongoing membership registration in Rivers State, Nigeria saying the attacks represent a shot to the heart of democracy and a breach of the country’s constitution.
”People’s participation is at the core of democracy, while the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees the right of citizens to associate with any party of their choice. These deadly attacks hinder people’s participation in democracy and violate the fundamental rights of the affected citizens,” the party said in a statement issued in Ilorin on Friday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
It said the attacks, undoubtedly, masterminded by the Nyesome Wike-sponsored Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI) and the PDP in Rivers, is aimed at covering up the glaring rejection of the PDP by the people of the state.
”We have no doubt that these attacks, during which at least one person has been shot dead, would not have been possible without the collusion of the police. Therefore, we appeal to the incoming Commissioner of Police in Rivers to stop the Mbu-era misuse of the police as the enforcement arm of the PDP in the state,” APC said.
The party wondered why the deadly attacks aimed at disrupting its ongoing membership registration would occur only in Rivers, even as the exercise is going on simultaneously in all the 36 states as well as the Federal Capital Territory.
”Some partisan analysts and uninformed critics have challenged our directive to our lawmakers in the National Assembly not to cooperate with the Executive until peace returns to Rivers. But are they not surprised that it is only in one state – Rivers – that our membership registration has been disrupted? Is Rivers the only state where we have PDP members?
”Again, we ask President Goodluck Jonathan to rein in his supporters in Rivers and stop them from setting the state and the country on fire. We urge him to remind his supporters in Rivers, led by his overzealous Minister, Wike, that his ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian,” it said.
Detailing some of the attacks by armed and sponsored hoodlums in Rivers, APC said the worst was in Degema, where one Andy was shot dead while six APC supporters suffered bullet wounds; and the party’s Supervisory Committee Chairman for Degema for the registration – former Chairman, Rivers State Civil Service Commission, Mr. Ben Orugbani – escaped death when his house was shattered with bullets in the old Bakana.
There were also attacks in Phalga Wards 11, 14 and 16, where one Vandam and Noso led 50 other hoodlums to shoot sporadically and hijack the registration materials, handsets and cameras; Ward 9 in Obio/Akpor the ward of Wike, where hoodlums were hired to beat up registration officers and hijack registration materials; and Ward 6 in Woji the area, where Chief Timothy Nsirm, the Terror Executor in charge, led 30 hoodlums who manhandled our supporters and shot one of them, Chibuchi Ogbonda, who is now battling with his life in hospital.
”The question to ask these hoodlums and their sponsors, including the GDI and the PDP, is why are they worried about people who want to register as APC members if they are indeed convinced that the party (APC) is not on ground as they have claimed? Where in the world are people prevented from joining the party of their choice by hoodlums? What is democracy without the people having the right to associate with any party of their choice?
”The arrowheads of the GDI and the PDP should be ashamed of themselves for using force to undermine democracy in Rivers, and we call on their masters to immediately put them on a leash and allow peace to reign in Rivers,” the party said.
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