By Akanimo Sampson,
POLITICALLY inspired violence is currently unsettling Rivers State, a rich oil and gas state in Southern Nigeria, that is turning into a hot bed of power struggle between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Engineered violence has been a major characteristic feature of the state since the inception of this Republic.
The Peter Odili administration wiped out the then All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) from the Okrika axis of the state where the party held sway. A new regime of youthful commissioners backed by armed youths was unleashed in the Kalabari bloc.
Armed cult groups masquerading as ‘freedom fighters’ became a veritable weapon in the hands of the ruling elite in dealing with the opposition. The persecution policy continued till ex-Governor Chibuike Amaechi defected to the APC.
What is playing out as power struggle today in Rivers, is a mere internal bleeding of the ruling political elite. To a greater extent, the past administration set the stage for the current rupture when they flagrantly antagonised the elders of the state and talked down on them at will.
If the Odili administration of which both Amaechi and Nyesom Wike, were great beneficiaries, had internalised democracy by allowing the will of the political sovereigns to prevail, the state will not be boiling as it is today, all because of transcient political power.
Rivers has been very repressive to opposition politics. In the main, there is really no ideological-based fighting between the power elite. Inspite of their party labelling, the fickle political crisis in Rivers, is an extension of the factional conflict of the PDP. All the major frontliners of the APC were made by the PDP. They contributed greatly in foisting a one-party state here.
Sadly, innocent citizens have always been the majority victims in their politically engineered violence. When will Rivers stop their political bloodletting?
After evaluating the prevailing security situation in the state, PDP has expressed satisfaction with the efforts by Governor Wike in tackling insecurity and violence in the bleeding state.
PDP State Chairman, Felix Obuah, says as a responsible party they are not unaware that security of lives and properties is the primary responsibility of any government worth its salt, and this informed the decision of the party to internally but dispassionately evaluate the activities of government.
PDP stresses that they are proud to commend the governor and his team for prioritizing the issues of sustainable peace and security in all parts of the state, and infrastructural development on which tremendous success have been made, even in the face of apparent distraction, spurious propaganda, lies and blackmail by enemies of the state.
While condemning the violent attacks in selected local government areas, the party says they have evidence of the perpetrators who allegedly felt uncomfortable with the achievements of Wike and the PDP in just few months in the saddle of governance in the state and so decided to puncture and destroy such unprecedented records.
They wondered why the security agencies would choose to collaborate with leaders of APC, to be carrying out ”condemnable and illegal actions” on defenseless citizens. ”These attacks are orchestrated and sponsored in the state to undermine and discredit the efforts of the state government in ensuring peace and security”, PDP said.
They are therefore, condemning the alleged actions of one Major Mustapha who was a star witness for the APC at the Governorship Election Tribunal, and is now leading the ‘operation exterminate PDP leaders’ in the State, beginning with ASALGA, Gokana and ONELGA, wondering why the Nigerian Army will allow itself to be used to kill and destroy people and properties they ought to protect constitutionally.
The party is also calling on well meaning Nigerians to rise against it, and to also prevail on the APC leadership to caution those championing the deadly onslaughts, particularly the Transport Minister, APC governorship candidate, a former Senator in Gokana, former LGA chairmen in ONELGA and ASALGA, who have publicly claimed the support of federal authorities behind their actions.
Adding, the party said, ”these APC leaders have also spuriously raised fictitious petitions against some leaders and members of the PDP. We hope that President Buhari and the national APC leadership will heed the call for restrain on their members in the state and act plausibly and timely to avert possible break down of law and order in the state”.