Nigeria 2015: PDP Raises Alarm In Rivers State
2015: PDP Raises Alarm In Rivers
Rivers State, one of the major oil and gas states in Southern Nigeria, appears to be bracing to cycle back to the dark days of Cult Wars as backstage schemes for the largely uncertain 2015 general elections gather steam.
Since the Peter Odili years (1999-2007), electoral victories are settled on the basis of superior gunboat power, not on the basis of better alternative socio-economic development agenda. As a result, armed cult groups parading as political armies of electoral candidates, and the dominant political party, proliferated.
The reign of terror in the state was brought to an end when Governor Chibuike Amaechi, took charge of the state following a Supreme Court ruling in October, 2007 that proclaimed him as the rightful person to occupy the Government Houyse, Port Harcourt, and not his cousin, Celestine Omehia.
But six years vafter the relative peace in the oil state, the stage is allegedly being set for the return of the armed politia militias. The state wing of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is alleging that the recent release of 55 militants on trial before a Port Harcourt High Court and several other suspected cultists being tried for the July 10, 2013 breach of public peace in the state and attack on the state House of Assembly by the All Progressive Congress, APC administration has political undertones.
Jerry Needam, Special Adviser on Media to Felix Obuah, PDP State Chairman, in an online statement to AkanimoReports, while frowning at the laxity with which APC is allegedly handling serious issues of insecurity in the state, pointed out that it is no use setting Rivers on fire ''all because of politics''.
Irked, APC warned thye opposition PDP in Rivers to stop crying wolf, where non exists. An APC chieftain who did not want his name in print, told this news service, ''our party, the APC, will take appropriate look at the wild-cat allegation of the opposition''.
PDP, however, notes that cases as militancy and serious as organizing and mobilizing to unleash mayhem on the State hallowed chamber and a premeditated attack on State elected representatives, and lawmakers perceived as opposed to Amaechi of which the police made some arrest with arms and eventually charged them to court is treated with kids gloves, and eventually they were released.
Admitting that the governor has the constitutional right to discontinue with any case, the PDP however queries the timing of the release and coincidence with the heightened tension in the State allegedly caused APC faithfuls across the state who are angling for relevance, insisting that the release of these militants and cultists is suspect.
The party is of the opinion that the case would have been allowed to undergo the full course of justice and finally disposed of by the court based on evidences and witnesses before the court.
According to the party, it’s laughable that the State government that raised alarm and admitted there was an unlawful assembly to disturb public peace contrary to Sections 517 and 70 of the Criminal Code, Cap 37, Vol 2, laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999 also turned round to plead that those suspected and arrested with respect to the crime knew nothing about it, even with the arms and ammunition that were received by the police
Dismissing the strategy as outdated and a failure, the PDP said it has absolute confidence in the law enforcement agents to checkmate hoodlums no matter how much they try to disguise as APC members, stressing that the only way to win the people’s votes is to address their problems and parade genuine and honest candidates who are tested, and who mean well for the State and not relying on militants and cultists to rig the elections.
PDP alleges that the main reason behind the recent release of 55 militants who were currently standing trial for about 4 years now and the release of several cultists from detention is apparently to use them for 2015 general elections.
“This is unfortunate and a big threat to Nigeria’s nascent democracy,” the PDP declared.