The Rivers State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has strongly condemned the plot by the State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to ridicule traditional rulers in Rivers State when the party’s presidential candidate, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, visits the state capital, Port Harcourt, on Wednesday, January 28, for his re-election campaign rally.
“It has come to our knowledge that Rivers PDP under the leadership of Chief Nyesome Wike has written to traditional rulers in the state, directing them that the Presidency has requested them to report at the Port Harcourt International Airport on Wednesday to receive President Jonathan. This is false as no Presidency has made such a declaration or request. We understand that the traditional rulers will be made to move from there to the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium for the President’s rally so as to give the impression that they are supporting his re-election bid. This is not only condemnable and immoral but also wicked, deceitful and unacceptable,” Rivers APC Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, said in a statement issued Tuesday night in Port Harcourt.
He described the plot as mischief of the highest order, pointing out that in all the states where President Jonathan has so far campaigned; there was never a case in which traditional rulers were made to wait and receive him at the airport or to attend such rallies.
According to Dr. Ikanya, “During his rally in Kano, Mr. President visited the Emir of Kano, in Anambra, he visited the Obi of Onitsha, while in Ekiti, Ondo and other states no traditional ruler was compelled to come out to wait or receive Mr. President at the airport; instead, it was Mr. President that paid homage to these traditional rulers in their palaces. If we may ask, why drag our revered traditional rulers into the murky waters of politics and expose them to public ridicule while treating their colleagues in other states with the desired respect? Why must the PDP in Rivers State descend to this low depth and debase our traditional institution just because of desperation to shore up its doomed fortunes in the February general elections?”
Turning its attention to President Jonathan, Rivers APC said: “It is a pity that Mr. President could allow his party in Rivers State to debase our traditional institution in this manner while he accords respect to traditional rulers in other states by paying them courtesy calls at their palaces. Why not accord ours the same respect, dignity and honour given to others? To worsen the situation, the plot of PDP to force these traditional rulers against their will to follow Mr. President to the rally venue is to make the world think that they are all PDP card-carrying members. What insolence! What injustice! What a desecration of the traditional institution!”
The party said, however, that it is not surprised over the development as Chief Wike, the man behind it, has no regard for traditional rulers in the state. “In all his local government tours after his imposition as Rivers PDP gubernatorial candidate, Wike has not considered it necessary to pay any traditional ruler a courtesy call. Instructively, most of them have distanced themselves from him based on the injustice and wickedness his candidature represents as it is against the aspiration of the riverine area of Rivers State to produce the next Governor of the State based on equity, justice and fair play after 16 years of rulership of Rivers by the upland part through Dr. Peter Odili and Gov. Chibuike Amaechi. It is this injustice that Rivers APC is seeking to prevent by presenting a distinguished son of riverine Rivers in the person of Dr. Dakuku Peterside for election as the next Governor of the State on February 28, 2015
,” Ikanya said in the statement.
He put President Jonathan and PDP on notice that “no sound Rivers State person will vote or support the candidature of President Jonathan or any PDP candidate due to the injustices we have suffered in the hands of the PDP-led Presidency of Dr. Jonathan.”
Rivers APC said it was as a result of PDP’s rejection by Rivers people that the party could not muster enough people from the state to fill half of the stadium during president Jonathan’s Wednesday rally and has hired supporters from neighbouring Bayelsa, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Abia and Enugu states to give the impression that the party still exists in Rivers. The party urged Rivers people to conduct themselves peacefully and endure all provocation that PDP may unleash on them during Jonathan’s visit and get prepared to punish them accordingly with their votes come February 14 and 28.