By Adeyemi Olusoga
The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Council has adduced reasons for the cancellation of its presidential campaign rally billed for Port Harcourt, River state saying it called it off to avoid unnecessary loss of lives.
The rally which was billed for Monday to gather support for Atiku Abubakar, the party’s presidential candidate was cancelled at the last minute.
However, the PDP PCC chairman in River state Senator Lee Maeba, gave an explanation during a media briefing in Port Harcourt on Monday.
Maeba recalled that there had been several attacks against PDP members and Atiku’s supporters in the last three months in the state.
He also claimed that the Rivers State Government had sealed the businesses of prominent members of the party who supported the presidential candidate’s election bid.
He said: “On December 14, 2022, one Rhino Owhohaire, the Youth Director, Atiku/Okowa Campaign Council, was shot in his village of Alu in the Ikwerre Local Government Area, and the incident was reported to the police high command, but nothing happened.
“Even when a suspect was arrested, the government of Rivers State, as an interested accomplice, went and took him on bail.
“On February 5, 2023, 31 members of the Atiku Support Group were arrested at their meeting venue at the GRA, Port Harcourt, arraigned and remanded at the correctional centre in Port Harcourt on trumped-up charges of unlawful assembly, conspiracy, and cultism.
“On February 9, 2023, Abiye Sekibo was informed that the venue earmarked for the PDP presidential campaign rally was on fire at Rainbow Town in Port Harcourt.
“He (Sekibo) was attacked when he went to verify the accuracy of the information. The attack was carried out by the police attached to the Government House in Port Harcourt.
“Fortunately, he escaped unhurt by the divine providence of God, but his vehicle was fatally damaged by a rain of bullets.”
The government had earlier given the PDP an approval to use Adokiye Amesiamaka Stadium for its presidential rally, but Governor Nyesom Wike “cancelled the approval on the flimsy excuse that we wanted to hold a joint rally with APC in Rivers State on the approved date of February 11, 2023, to foment trouble,” Maeba said.
Maeba: “In light of the above submission, we, the state Campaign Council, in total constructive engagement with the National Presidential Campaign Council, the candidate, and the party, believe that no loss of human life can be tolerated or accepted before, during, or after the rally and have agreed with our principals on the need to shelve and/or cancel the rally to avoid any deaths.”