TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Notable Rivers State elders and stakeholders have raised the alarm over an alleged plan by the All Progressives Congress (APC), to cause unrest that would lead to the declaration of emergency rule in the state.
Also, they have alleged that the plot would be perfected through causing violence during the governorship and House of Assembly polls on Saturday, March 9.
Consequently, the elders and stakeholders called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to call the party in the state to order.
Their claim was contained in a statement in Port Harcourt, jointly signed by Senator Bennett Birabi, O.C.J Okocha, SAN, Chief Bapakaye Orabere, Annkio Briggs, A.J. Egbelu and Ledum Mitee.
The statement read: “We must condemn the reported plans by the leadership of the APC to destabilise the state and perpetuate violence during the governorship and state House of Assembly elections as a ploy to be used to declare a state of emergency in the state and/or to ensure that the elections in Rivers State are inconclusive.
“It is noteworthy that the APC is not on the ballot in the forthcoming election, so the participation of APC leadership is not only illegal but aimed at disenfranchising the Rivers State electorate of their constitutional rights,” they stated.
The statement noted that Rivers people were not the cause of the crisis that led to the delisting of APC candidates in the state, stressing the need for the party (APC) to allow peaceful conduct of the polls.
“The Rivers people were not in any way responsible for the crisis that led to the situation the APC find themselves. Amaechi, Ojukaye, Abe, Cole, and co should realise that the rest of the state was not involved in their internal crises, and so should take responsibility for their actions and not put the blame on somebody else, in this case, the people of Rivers State.
“It is the height of cowardice and irresponsibility for anyone to imagine that Rivers State is his personal property and if he does not get what he wants, the state can burn.
“As leaders of the state, we consider it an obligation to draw the attention of the entire nation and the international community to this dubious plot designed to cause conflicts and possibly lead to a full military invasion of the state.
“Events of the recent past and in particular, the vicious killings and torture of voters in different parts of the state by political thugs and some men of the military during the just-concluded presidential election, succinctly represents the inherent dangers faced by voters in the state, if the excesses of our security forces and the APC in their total disregard for the rule of law is not addressed by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“We, therefore, call on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, to step up and take full responsibility for the peace of Rivers State and to ensure that the integrity of the electoral process during the governorship election in Rivers State is protected,” they stressed.
The factional Publicity Secretary of APC, Chris Finebone, and the Director-General of Tonye Cole Campaign Organisation, Chidi Lloyd, could not be reached for their reaction, as at the time of filing the report.
Text and WhatsApp messages sent to them were not replied to.