Magnus Ngei Abe, former senator representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, has appealed to members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Rivers State to denounce violence and resist the temptation of being provoked to attack anyone.
Abe, in a statement he personally signed, said that a political disagreement does not amount to a land dispute, nor a communal riot in which there is no meeting point. He called on all members of the party in Rivers State to give peace a chance.
“I received with shock and sadness the news of the unwarranted and senseless attack on law-abiding citizens and members of the All Progressives Congress in Ogba Egbema Ndoni Local Government Area, ONELGA, of Rivers State,” he stated.
“Party members who had gathered peacefully in response to the directive of the Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the party, and intending members in Rivers, Cross River, Kano, Imo and Kwara States who were unable to take part in the last registration and revalidation exercise, could now do so. Members met to sensitize themselves and prepare for the exercise, only to be brutally attacked by other members of the APC loyal to the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
“Anyone who has been following Rivers politics will remember that ONELGA was one of the flashpoints of political violence in Rivers State where hundreds of our party supporters and their families were summarily executed just for being members of the APC. ONELGA should therefore ordinarily be the last place on earth in which one would expect members of the APC to attack and attempt to kill one another for any reason whatsoever.
“It is therefore doubly painful that once more, the lives of APC members in ONELGA are again on the firing line of Rivers politics. Basic human dignity, respect for the rights of others, and the basic acknowledgment of the sanctity of human life is being assaulted in the name of political supremacy.
“I condemn this primitive recourse to violence with every breath of my being, and I urge every Rivers man and woman, and indeed all right-thinking citizens of our country, to raise their voices and be heard,” he said.
He stated that any well-meaning member of the APC in Rivers State who is focused on how the party can dislodge the opposition in the State and reclaim the state government to improve not just the fortunes of members but maximize opportunities for all Rivers men and women, should have been overwhelmed with joy to see Rivers people troop out to mobilize themselves in active preparation to register and revalidate their membership of the APC.
“It is surprising that while we never mobilized to attack and maim those who killed our party members, we can mobilize and arm youths to kill those who want to revalidate their membership of our party and those who want to join our party. It is clear that destroying Senator Abe and his supporters has become more important to some in the Rivers APC leadership than repositioning our party and preparing the party for victory.
“Let me remind us all that the registration and revalidation exercise is not a contest for any individual; rather, it is a clarion call to all of us to expand the party and improve it. We cannot do that by killing those who are interested in being part of our party. Politics is a game of numbers and every single Rivers man and woman is important if we genuinely desire victory.
“Let me once again appeal to the law enforcement agents in the state to protect all law-abiding Rivers men and women and bring the perpetrators and sponsors of political violence and thuggery to book. The last time, it was Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area and Asari Toru, etc. While our own children are safe in the comfort of expensive private universities in foreign countries, the children of those we lead are encouraged to attack and kill one another.
“So far, it is to the glory of God that not one member of our party has been killed by another member of this party. If we do not discourage violence, we may end up spilling human blood and then our story could change for the worse.
“Once again, I appeal to all members of our great party in Rivers State to denounce violence. Do not be provoked to attack anyone, particularly your own brothers and sisters in the same party to please any individual. What we have in the party is a political disagreement; it is not a land dispute or a communal riot in which there is no meeting point. Members should remain calm and encourage all those who have not revalidated their membership, or want to join the winning train of the APC, to do so.
“I plead with all members and leaders of our great party to give peace a chance. A united, organised and galvanised APC will make greater impact in Rivers politics than a violent, hateful mob. We should all join hands to encourage Rivers people to join our party so that together we can be stronger.
“Again, I urge our law enforcement officers not to give the impression that certain persons are above the law. All those behind the Omoku attack must be apprehended and brought to book. If we continue to fail in this responsibility, we encourage others to follow a similar path. The end result will be anarchy and a breakdown of law and order. That is not the legacy of the APC,” the statement reaffirmed.
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