By PRECIOUS IBINABO DAVIDS, Port Harcourt
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers state, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, has appealed to the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, and his party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to call off their arms bearing goons and refrain from turning the upcoming election another bloodbath.
Eze, in a statement he personally signed and circulated in Port Harcourt on Monday, made the call against the backdrop of the attempt on the life of the APC governorship flag-bearer for next year’s election, Pastor Tonye Cole, at Old Banana in Degema local government area, and the alleged attack on some PDP heavy weights, including the Chairman of Ikwerre local government area, Mr Samuel Nwanosike.
Eze observed that bloody incidences as had been witnessed in the previous four days ahead of the weekend were the hallmarks of the PDP in the State, aimed at silencing, terminating or framing up any opposition, adding the the alleged attack on PDP chieftains was actually “an inside job” and advised the party to look inwards for what might have gone wrong.
The governorship flag-bearer of the APC, Pastor Cole, had visited Old Banana community on Friday as part of the party’s ward-to-ward consultation movement to the area, when heavily armed men, believed to be hired hands of a serving Commissioner in the cabinet of Governor Wike, opened fire on Cole’s team while consorting with the traditional head of the community.
He called on security agencies in the country to keep an eye on the political activities in Rivers state as the most recent events happening in the state are suggesting that the PDP had re-oiled its alleged violent and bloody tactic of spilling blood to steal the people’s mandate, adding that both security agencies and the Rivers state government ensure that no harm goes close to the APC’s governorship candidate or any member of the party in any part of the state, as experienced in 2014 and 2015.
However, Eze condemned an attempt by the State Government and the PDP to smear the name of the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, by accusing him of masterminding the attacks on its members, saying “it is only a very shameful and futile effort at trying to defame a man they know hates anything violent and perpetrators of violence.
“As a plot of giving APC a bad name in order to portray the party in bad light before the international community particularly and Nigerians in general, a chieftain of PDP and a very close ally to Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state, Mr Samuel Nwanosike, who also doubles as the Ikwerre Local Government boss, addressed the press in his house, where he directly accused Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, erstwhile Governor of Rivers state and current Minister of Transportation, and some APC chieftains of masterminding the attack aimed at killing him.
“As much as I condemn any plot to take away anybody’s life, no matter my relationship with such a fellow, as none of us can create life except God who is the ultimate giver of life, but to link such a sinister attack to an innocent man like Amaechi, who abhors insecurity in any form like leprosy, is to me very unfortunate. Though nobody who is an adherent follower of Rivers State politics will be in doubt where such attack or other silimiar attacks emante from but to blame it on APC in order to cover up the internal insecurity within PDP is not acceptable.
“We are all aware that Amaechi during his regime as the Governor of Rivers State did everything humanly possible to eliminate every form of insecurity in Rivers State be it kidnapping, cultisim, armed robbery etc in short by 2012 no single armed robbery took place in Rivers State. To demonstrate his hatred for kidnapping he took the risk recently to rescued a Rivers State son who was kidnapped in Rivers State and to link such a fellow to an assassination attempt on somebody’s life is unfortunate.
“We are all aware of how Wike usurped the Rivers State Government seat through the blood of Rivers State people. We are aware of how Wike mobilised and brought back militancy to Rivers State and not satisfied is plotting to arm some of these militants through his Neighborhood Watch. We are all aware of how Wike used these militants and security agencies to harass Amaechi even as a sitting Governor. There wouldn’t be any need to recall most of these ugly incidents but I need to expose Samuel Wanosike for whom he is.
“Nwanosike as the leader of Grassroots Democratic Initiative (GDI) an armed youth group initiated by Wike mobilised his group to attack and embaress some ex Northern Governors Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, Alhaji Sule Lamido, Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, and Vice Admiral Murtala Nyako (rtd) of Niger, Jigawa, Kano and Adamawa States respectively on a solidarity visit to Rivers state to the then embattled Governor, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi.
“Nwanosike was arrested among other PDP tugs when they initiated violence during Etche Local Government of Rivers State re-run election for the Etche /Omuma House of Representatives and State House of Assembly, constituency 2. According to well circulated pictures Mr. Samuel Wanosike, were arrested by soldiers at Ulakwo Ward 13, during the election.
“It is on record that Wanosike led members of GDI to attack and molest some PDP gubernatorial candidates at Abuja for daring to vie for the PDP ticket with Wike. My question then is how can any sound mind take accusation from such a vile and viloent person against Amaechi whose tenure in Rivers State is termed as the golden years of Rivers State seriously.
“My advice is that we are all aware that Wanosike and some PDP chieftains have sat on the entitlements due to those youths armed to destroy which may have resulted of them protesting by initiating the attack so that Wanosike and his group can pay them”, Eze said.