APC frowns at disruption of membership registration in Rivers, calls it assault on constitution, democracy

Lai Mohammed
Lai Mohammed

Party leader in Enugu urges Ndigbo to embrace it

The All Progressives Congress, APC, has condemned the attacks on its members during the ongoing membership registration in Rivers State, saying the attacks were aimed at disrupting the exercise.

It said the attacks represented a shot at the heart of democracy and a breach of Nigeria’s constitution.

The party stated this in a statement on Friday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed.

APC commenced its membership registration across the country on Wednesday.

Detailing some of the attacks by armed and sponsored hoodlums in the state, the party said the worst happened in Degema, where one Andy was shot dead while six of its supporters suffered bullet wounds.

It said that its Supervisory Committee Chairman for Degema for the registration, who is also former Chairman, Rivers State Civil Service Commission, Ben Orugbani, escaped death when his house was shattered with bullets in the old Bakana.

The APC also said there were also attacks in Phalga Wards 11, 14 and 16, where one Vandam and Noso allegedly led 50 other hoodlums to shoot sporadically and hijack the registration materials, handsets and cameras.

The party said there were also attacks in Ward 9 in Obio/Akpor, the ward of Nyesom Wike, the supervising Minister of Education. The hoodlums at the ward, according to the party, were hired to beat up registration officers and hijack registration materials.

Violence was also reported in Ward 6 in Woji the area, where one Timothy Nsirm led 30 hoodlums, who manhandled its supporters and shot one of them, Chibuchi Ogbonda, who was hospitalised, the APC said.

The APC accused the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Grassroots Development Initiative, GDI, a group sponsored by Mr. Wike, of carrying out the attack on its members with a view to covering up the glaring rejection of the PDP by the people of the state.

”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,” the APC said.

These deadly attacks hinder people’s participation in democracy and violate the fundamental rights of the affected citizens.

”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.

The party said it wondered why the deadly attacks aimed at disrupting its ongoing membership registration would occur only in Rivers, even as the exercise was 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?” the APC said.

The APC asked President Goodluck Jonathan to prevail on his supporters in Rivers State 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.

”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.”

Meanwhile, a member of the APC in Enugu State, Osita Okechukwu, has appealed to the Igbo to embrace the party.

In a statement on Friday after registering in his home town, Obodo Amankwo Eke, Mr. Okechukwu said the Hausa and Yoruba had already accepted the party and that the Igbo must not be left behind.

“One deems it a matter of urgent national importance to inform Ndigbo that our contemporaries in the Nigerian project – Hausas and Yorubas – have massively embraced the APC,” he said.

“Accordingly, Ndigbo, let’s join the progressive train, get elected as either president or vice president in 2015, hence exit from the PDP, a party we invested heavily in, but cannot be elected president or vice president.”

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