Tony Ita Etim, Port Harcourt
The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the Rivers South-East Senatorial District re-run election, Senator Magnus Abe, has asked his supporters and followers to prepare for war with members of the rival Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Addressing a press conference in Port Harcourt, yesterday, Abe explained that “the decision was taken after a careful review of the security situation in the district where PDP had armed its supporters with automatic rifles and dynamites.”
The senator charged all APC supporters across the Rivers South East Senatorial District to take whatever step necessary to defend themselves and protect their lives and property if attacked by PDP thugs and supporters.
“From today, if anybody opens fire on members of the APC anywhere in my senatorial district, there will be a response.
“ Anybody who has two heads should bring out his second head to do whatever he wants to do within the senatorial district that would affect the lives or threaten the lives of members of the APC.
“We will no longer tolerate it. We are not women only. We are not children only. We are men, women and youths that are members of this party. From now on, we will defend ourselves; we will protect our members and do whatever is necessary to secure our lives and secure the lives of our members,” he declared.
He recalled that in Gokana, where Mr. Kenneth Kobani was arrested for disrupting the election that hell was let loose when PDP supporters opened fire with assault rifles on everybody who was there and threw dynamites and bombs in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office.
Abe claimed that “after the incident, armed thugs of PDP matched with their guns and dangerous weapons in B-Dere and several communities, destroying property of members of All Progressives Congress (APC).”
He further stated that when he heard about adequate security presence in the state for the election, he had thought that there would be checkpoints everywhere, but was surprised that only few policemen were at INEC office while the rest of the local government area was without police presence.
“We expected that given all that have been said about the expectation of violence in Rivers State that the entire state would be in lock down, there would be checkpoints, police and soldiers everywhere, unfortunately, that did not happen.
“There was zero security presence. Even when it became clear that lives of INEC Adhoc Staff were being threatened and in jeopardy, nothing much was done to protect their lives not to talk of our own supporters of the APC, who have become an endangered species in Rivers State,” Abe lamented.
Abe lamented further that despite this lawlessness, there had not been any meaningful investigation by the security agents and declared that in the light of this, that he was faced with two alternatives, either to withdraw or for APC members and supporters to defend themselves.
“Therefore, in the light of the present situation, we have no other option than to either withdraw from the race or call on our members to defend themselves as we go forward.
“Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, given the overwhelming support that I enjoy from the people of the Rivers South East Senatorial District, I cannot withdraw from the race. We are on a journey that can only end in victory because we have the people with us,” Abe submitted
The APC leader alleged that immediately after the shooting incidence at the INEC office, that PDP thugs had the effrontery to match towards his house and opened fire around his premises.
Abe narrated what he had suffered while trying to maintain peace and be a gentleman such as the burning of his building at Bori, carrying of coffin written with his name on it as well as attack on him and his supporters on three occasions during rallies.
He also mentioned the cases of attack on his supporters such as Mr. Pabbi, who was abducted in front of his family and had not been seen till today and Mr. Court, who was killed in obnoxious manner.
Abe advised Governor Nyesom Wike to direct PDP thugs to stop the destruction of billboards in Rivers South East Senatorial District and not to attack APC supporters again.
“The governor has said that he is going to start his campaign from my senatorial district. On behalf of members of APC, we welcome him and the PDP team to come and campaign in our senatorial district. Nobody should harass them and nobody should try to stop them or do anything to them. They should be allowed to carry on their own campaign.
“In the same vein, I want to appeal to Gov. Nyesom Wike to also appeal to his own supporters to stop the destruction of our billboards in my senatorial district. They should also stop any attack on any member of the APC in our senatorial district.
“People have talked about people calling for a State of Emergency. I don’t want to call for State of Emergency. But, he has his own army. It is time that he advises his army in the interest of the state, which he governs not to operate in Rivers South East Senatorial District. If they do so, our people will respond and respond overwhelmingly”.
“I thank our supporters who have cautioned, restrained and conducted themselves beyond measure. In the face of death and threat, they have been compelled to behave like women and children, when they obviously have the capacity to defend themselves, out of respect for me”.
“Today, I hereby call upon them to please respond in any situation where any member of our party is threatened. To please respond in any situation where any member of our party is killed. To please respond in any situation where property belonging to any member of APC in the Rivers South East Senatorial District is destroyed,” Abe charged his supporters.
In its reaction the Rivers State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP responded that “it is quite unfortunate and disappointing seeing the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for Rivers South-East Senatorial District, Mr. Magnus Abe, demonstrating acts of frustration, desperation and gangsterism, describing his directive to members of the APC to kill and conduct themselves violently as irresponsible, unwarranted and condemnable.
The PDP statement signed by Jerry Needam, Special Adviser On Media And Publicity to the PDP State Chairman, Bro Felix Obuah, accused Abe of instigating members of the APC to kill, fight and cause trouble in Rivers State, an action that should not be ignored or taken for granted by Rivers people, the International Community and of course, the security agencies.
According to the PDP “although, Mr. Abe’s violent disposition has never been in doubt but considering the exulted office he seeks to be voted in and the Saint in recent times he claimed to be, Mr. Magnus Abe ought to have stopped engaging in and encouraging violence, even as such is abhorred in any civilized society.”
The Party expressed worry “over the unrepentant attitude of Abe, whose desperation to represent those who do not want him to represent them has made him to adopt a do or die approach not only in his pattern of politics but in his entire life activities.
“Mr. Abe has continued to show that he is one politician, who wants to acquire political power by all means, without minding if blood is spilled.
“The directive from Mr. Magnus Ngei Abe to his APC members to take up arms clearly corroborates the position of the people that he (Abe) has been behind all atrocities in the area, and he and the APC should be held responsible for the breakdown of law and order in not only the area but the entire State,” PDP insisted.
The PDP “recalled that Mr. Abe has been linked to virtually all inter and intra communal crises in parts of Ogoni and most political violence in the area. One of the most recent was the incident in Yeghe, Bori, Bo-ue and Zaapkon communities on Monday 22 and Tuesday 23, March, 2016, which led to the killing of over 15 innocent persons, including pregnant women, a Pastor and students.
“It is also on record that preceding the March 19th re-run elections, especially on the 18th, heavily armed APC thugs were brought in and camped in Tai LGA, at the home of one Hyacinth Ndike and John Abie, who are chieftains of the APC, on an assignment to deliver the area to the party. These thugs, at about 2.30am, lodged deadly attack on the community, targeting PDP supporters, who were eventually chased out of the community to pave way for massive rigging of the re-run elections in the area. This incident also culminated into the shooting of a pregnant woman, Mrs. Baby Nzuugha, a mother of four children, in their attempt to hijack electoral materials to the home of Mr. Barry Mpigi, another APC chieftain and contestant in the election,” alleged PDP.
The PDP advised “the people to resist being incited and used to cause mayhem in the State, and instead ask Mr. Abe to engage his family members in such deadly assignment, the PDP advises its members in the area to remain peaceful and law abiding in the face of provocation by Magnus Abe and the APC.
“The Party also welcomes Mr. Abe’s consideration of withdrawing from the race as contained in his statement, saying since it is obvious that popular opinion does not favour him as he is not the choice of the people the best option for him is to admit defeat honourably and throw in the towel accordingly if actually he is a man of honour.”
The PDP reiterated its call on the security agencies and the International Community to arrest and prosecute Mr. Magnus Abe accordingly.
Prepare For War, Abe Tells Supporters
Tony Ita Etim, Port Harcourt