APC cancels campaign rally over violent attack
The All Progressives Congress, APC, in Rivers State has called off its governorship campaign rally scheduled for today, Saturday, in Okrika. Okrika is the birthplace of Mrs. Patience Jonathan, wife of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside, the APC governorship candidate, was expected to have unveiled his Roadmap to Prosperity, a revolutionary economic blue-print for the massive development of Rivers State, to the Okrika electorate as well as highlight the choice space the area holds in the plan.
In a statement today signed by Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, Director of Communications, Greater Together Campaign Organisation, which is the campaign team for Peterside's governorship, the cancellation was necessitated by the massive Friday overnight and early Saturday gun violence unleashed on members and supporters of APC in Okrika by suspected thugs hired and commissioned by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Heavily armed thugs had in the wee hours of the morning of Saturday 24, 2015 at about 3:45am, besieged the National School Field, Okrika, venue of the APC governorship rally and opened fire. Workers setting up equipment and canopies were forced to flee as bullets poured down like rainfall. By Divine intervention, however, nobody died in the attack. The injured were rushed to different hospitals in Port Harcourt.
According to the Greater Together Campaign Organisation's statement, the shift came off intense deliberations between Dr. Peterside and leadership of the Campaign Organisation after a visit to Okrika by Hon. Victor Giadom, the Director-General, Hon. Emma Chindah and Mrs. Semenitari, both Directors in the Organisation.
“The decision to call-off the Okrika rally, painful as it was, was taken in the best interest of Okrika people and APC supporters who were nonetheless ready to attend the rally. Neither Dr. Peterside nor APC is willing to jeopardise the lives of Okrika people. Kirikise land deserves honour. So, the raging violence and army of occupation PDP has imposed on her is condemnable. Considering that no ambition was worth the blood of any Okrika native, resident or indeed, an APC member, we decided to call-off today's campaign in Okrika though our members were willing to storm the area. As regrettable and as painful as it was, we are convinced that the people of Okrika are taking notice of those who do not place any value on their lives. PDP has become blood- hounds, vampires and scarecrows that survive on human blood. We would not be forced to join such an evil cult.
The statement continued, “The decision to shift the Okrika campaign was taken after an intense review of the security situation on ground in Okrika. As a man of peace, Dr. Peterside directed that the campaign be postponed to enable the injured to be given primary attention. The candidate decided to visit those injured receiving treatment at various hospitals in Port Harcourt. He wished them quickest recovery, assuring them of the best medical care.
“We condemn PDP for this visit of violence on Okrika people. We ask, Is that the electioneering program PDP has for the area? Must PDP shed blood of men and women for the sake of a vote? Why would Okrika land and people not be allowed by the PDP to enjoy peace and development? This act is evil, satanic and shameful. Okrika people should stand up against this violent-breather called PDP. Kirikise sons and daughters need not be told to turn their back on this vampire on February 14 and 28. If PDP had made life this miserable, burdensome and over-bearing on Okrika people, what would they not do if for any reason, they are voted into office?
“We sympathise with our supporters who suffered various bullet and machete injuries in the hands of PDP gunmen. Our prayers flow before the Throne of grace for their quickest recovery. We would equally commend APC supporters, especially the youths, who yielded to the counsel of the candidate and party elders not to take retaliatory measures. But, our fear is that, we might not be too successful again in restraining the wounded and hunted from self-defence and maybe, retaliatory attack on anything PDP.
“Dr. Peterside remains committed to the spirit and letter of the non-violent accord brokered only four days ago by the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency Ambassador James F. Entwistle. Knowing PDP's antecedent in Rivers State and its penchant to violent acts, we had been sceptical it would find a means to bring down that diplomatic non-violent accord signed by 3 governorship candidates in Rivers State.
“Not only should the US hold PDP responsible for the dishonour it has brought on its diplomacy, but should use its Mission in Nigeria to advice Mrs. Patience Jonathan, wife of Nigeria's President, to let Rivers State and Okrika electorate to choose their leaders freely at the next national elections in February.
Mrs. Ibim Semenitari
Greater Together Campaign Organisation