By Elvis-Wura Towolawi
Oil-rich Rivers State has been in the eye of raging political violence since campaign for the 2015 Election began. But this time, it appears the violence has been inordinately tilted towards All Progressive Congress (APC) at the state level. Although the state governor, Rotimi Amaechi is a caucus member of the party, the party has suffered several acts of violence against its campaign train and structure in the run-up to the General Elections.
On 17th February 2015, the All Progressive Congress (APC) gubernatorial rally in Okrika, Rivers state was scuttled by bomb blasts and gunshots. Now, it is important to note that it was the fourth time the APC campaign train was being attacked and prevented from holding its rally in Okrika, the First Lady – Dame Patience Jonathan’s hometown. Could the interruption and interposition be linked to the feud between the Presidency and Amaechi?
More so, Daily Trust February 18, 2015 reports that the APC in Rivers has been on the receiving of bomb attacks since the beginning of the 2015 campaign rallies; including the bombing of the APC secretariat at Abam Ama in Okrika on January 11, 2015; the party’s secretariat at Omoku in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government area which was razed down; killing over 8 persons.
Truth be told, all these acts of violence in a bid to stifle the exercise of political choice by the people of rivers do not augur well for the cultivation of violence-free democratic culture. Humans everywhere by their mere existence have the right to exercise political choice; but when powers that be continue to make it impossible for the enjoyment of political freewill by the people, it is stoking the fire of violence which may rage and eat up the very power that fuels the fire. We’re not blind to the fraternal animosity that exists between Jonathan and Amaechi, but it should not be allowed to consume the peoples’ will. But how can the people exercise their will when certain area of the state is turned into a no-go-area for other parties?
We, therefore vehemently declaim the political persecution being meted out to the APC in Rivers state, and demand for investigations – culprits should be brought to book. Also, the security apparatus must discharge its core responsibility without any colour of partisanship – by ensuring that a conducive atmosphere is created for the free exercise of political choice in Rivers during the general elections; that our democracy may thrive.