The attack on the Rivers APC governorship campaign Rally grounds at Opobo this morning ahead of the arrival of Arc. Tonye Cole, Mni, the gubernatorial candidate, is yet another red flag to the boiling cauldron that the State political environment has become on the watch of Commissioner of Police, Okon Effiong Okon.
Sequel to the attack that had canopies and public address system at the venue vandalized by identified PDP hoodlums, armed men donning snatched the LGA Campaign Coordinator, Boma Brown, and sped out of the town with him. However, their plot was aborted in Bori, Headquarters of Khana LGA, when the Sienna vehicle in which he was whisked away was intercepted at the Roundabout following distress calls by terrified party faithful. An exchange of gunfire was also recorded between a team of Policemen who claimed to have rescued Mr. Brown on the orders of the Divisional Police Officer, Bori and those attached to the State APC Chairman, Chief Emeka Beke, at Kaana Petroleum filling Station in Bori when one of the Police officers opened fire that could have killed Chief Beke.
This incident, following on the heels of the forceful disruption yesterday of the Oyigbo Rally grounds by men of the Nigeria Police which compelled the governorship candidate to campaign on the Old Aba Road adjacent to the open space initially approved by the DPO, has further reinforced the urgency for the redeployment of the Commissioner of Police from the State to avert crisis.
We recall that the Rivers APC governorship campaign Rally grounds in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area was attacked with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and sporadic gunfire, a development which the Commissioner of Police denied before ordering an investigation by the Deputy Commissioner, Operations and the Bomb Disposal Unit. No report of the investigation is made public and no arrest has been made till date. Another disruption of our Andoni Rally at Asarama was also reported without a single arrest.
Campaign activities of the governorship candidates of Accord, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, and the Social Democratic Party, Senator Magnus Abe, have suffered similar unprovoked attacks at Etche, Oyigbo, Port Harcourt, Tai and Ahoada West LGAs over the last couple of days without any deterrence measure by the State Police Command.
In the circumstance, we call on both the Inspector-General of Police and National Security Adviser to enforce their commitments at the commencement of the campaign season not to allow State Governors suppress or interfere with the rights of other political parties involved in campaign activities in the build-up to the 2023 general elections. We maintain that is the only guarantee to restore sanity in States like Rivers that have been made volatile by anti-democratic forces working in active connivance with compromised Police Commissioners.
Sogbeye C. Eli
Spokesman, Rivers APC 2023 Campaign Council
January 31, 2023.