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NIGERIA: PDP, APC Condemn Attack on Jonathan’s Convoy in Katsina

 The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Organisation (PCO), wednesday condemned the attack on the convoy of President Goodluck Jonathan in Katsina State by suspected members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), stating that the PDP would hold both the APC and its presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, responsible should any harm come to the president.

Addressing a press conference wednesday, the PDP PCO Director of Media and Publicity, Femi Fani-Kayode, said a group of broom-wielding vandals, chanting “sai Buhari”, hurled stones at the convoy of the president, who is the presidential candidate of the PDP in the February 14 election.

Also, the PDP added its voice to the condemnation of the attack on President Jonathan’s convoy by supporters of the APC and Buhari in Katsina.

According to  Fani-Kayode, “We consider that action despicable, barbaric, shameful and highly reprehensible. It shows very clearly the violent nature, disposition and character of those individuals that were involved and the presidential candidate that they support.

“The Katsina show of shame was the first case of violence unleashed on our candidate by supporters of Buhari, after the signing of the historic Abuja Accord by the presidential candidates of all the parties participating in the election. The purpose of that accord was to discourage violence before, during and after the election.”

Further expressing disgust over the incident, Fani-Kayode said, “The laudable intention of the Peace Accord has now been irresponsibly violated by a group of miscreants and vandals whose leader has proved to be wholly incapable of keeping them in check and restraining them from indulging in violence.  It is worrisome that this kind of violent reaction would manifest when the election has not held and their candidate has not yet lost.

Also, the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, however commended Nigerians, especially the huge crowd that attended the party’s rallies in  Zamfara State and other states in the northern part of the country.

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Olisa Metuh, in a statement yesterday, said “the attack is a clear indication that the
APC is not ready to shift from its desire to attain power through violence despite signing a peace pact a week ago in Abuja”, stating that the PDP would “no longer tolerate such acts of violence on any of its members.”

“This brazen attack on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and our presidential candidate clearly shows that the APC was never committed to the spirit and letters of the Abuja peace accord which they signed in the presence of prominent Nigerians and international personalities.

“It is unfortunate that while the PDP and other parties are busy ensuring that their members and supporters remain committed to a  peaceful electioneering, the APC has been hatching plots to unleash violence on our candidates and members.

In the same vein, the National Chairman of the PDP, Adamu Muazu, said that despite the propaganda against the president, the important thing is that Nigerians have used the turn out in to the party’s rallies in the northern part of Nigeria as a sign of appreciation to President Jonathan’s administration.

On its part, APC has strongly condemned the reported stoning of the campaign convoy of President Goodluck Jonathan in Katsina State on Tuesday, saying violence of any kind is totally unacceptable to the party.
In a statement issued yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said President Jonathan should be free to campaign anywhere in the country without hinderance.

It said even though the attack on the President’s convoy took place a day after the provocative death-wish-for-Buhari newspaper advertorial that was put out in the name of the President, nothing justifies the stoning of the President’s comvoy anywhere in the country.
APC restated its commitment to a continuous enlightenment of its members and supporters to eschew violence before, during and after next month’s general election, and urged other parties to follow suit.

‘’We consider election as a celebration of democracy, not a do-or-die affair. Whether or not one agrees with the campaign message of any party, engaging in violence negates the very essence of democracy and should be condemned by all,’’ the party said.

However, the leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteers Force (NDPVF), Alhaji Mujahid Asari-Dokubo, has threatened that the people of the South-south would  retaliate the reported attack on the convoy of the president.

Asari-Dokubo criticised  President Jonathan for signing a non-violence pact with Buhari, and alerted non- indegenes living in the far North, especially Igbo traders to be weary of the antics of those that are preparing the stage for post election violence.
Asari-Dokubo, who addressed journalists yesterday in Abuja said the attack on the person of the president was a premeditated act by the supporters of the APC.

The NDPVF leader said the attack and probably other subsequents ones are meant to serve as a prelude  to a full-scale post-election violence by the opposition party if it loses the February 14 presidential election.

He accused the opposition of preparing ground for violence if they loose the election in concert with some foreign posers and when they do that we are going to respond proportionally.
He dismissed Buhari recant on violence when indeed those who alway stone or burn party vehicles and main people normally shout praise of his name.

“The people in Katsina who did not hold their children from wrecking havoc on the President’s convoy  should also know that we will not hold our own kids.

“For every action, there would be an opposite and equal reaction. I knew that the signing of the accord was useless and  the President subjected himself to signing such an accord, for me, it was out of place. The President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of a country, but the president is a humble person, he does things that even surprise some of us and make us sometimes to be very angry.

“To be very frank, on that day they were signing the accord, I was very angry, signing with who? The president has sworn to protect the lives of every Nigerians, so why would he after taking a constitutional oath, subjected himself to another oath that would be stronger than the oath he took when he took office after being elected voluntarily by the people of Nigeria”

“There is an establishment pattern of pre and post election violence in the North. In the 50s when Awolowo was campaigning in the North he went with helicopter and he was mobbed. People said he was flying over there houses and peeping on their wives. That has continued and everywhere in the country people say leave them alone, we don’t want any trouble but the rule of the game has changed.

He said Buhari’s statements concerning the peace accord was meant to deceive Nigerians, saying Nigerians should not believe him.
“What happened in Katsina is not a surprise and we are putting the world on notice over the stoning of President Jonathan in Katsina because we are going to respond. If you slice our throat, we will slice your throat, they stoned the President, you will hear from us.

According to Dokubo, groups in Niger Delta will respond proportionately as it would  not fold its arms and allow the President be killed.
He advised  all Igbo people who are still doing business in the far north to take heed now and move back home, so as to avoid the likely violence that may follow the defeat of Buhari in the February election.

“Nothing will happen anywhere in the country if they do not initiate it. Why did they stone the president? Do you expect us to keep quiet so that they will kill President Jonathan. Because they believe that they have devine right to rule over us and we will be slave, but we reject it in its entirety because they are never our masters.

“We will ensure a balance of terror, no one person should have the monopoly to unleash terror. Violence begets violence,” he said.
Speaking on great strides made by Jonathan, he said the president initiated the idea of taking all the Almajiris from the streets and putting them back into the schools through the Almagiri Schools System.

He said a vote for Buhari is a vote for retrogression. He said the Ijaw people have gone under water to campaign for Jonathan’s re-election and I can assure you that he will win Buhari with a landslide. Jonathan will win and win convincingly.
On insecurity, he said, there is an open support for Boko Haram by the northern establishment, adding that the reason the dreaded sect has continued their heinous actions is due to the support they get from some northern leaders.

He said there is no way things will be happening in a neighbourhood and people living there will not know.
He insisted that under a situation where the people aid and abet the terrorists, it will be difficult to end the insurgency.
The insecurity problem in the northeast can only be solved if the people are ready to cooperate with the armed forces.
This man committed the worst offences, this man who never passed any exams went and overthrew the democratically elected government of President Shehu Shagari.

On whether he supports the postponement of the election, he said the argument for such proposal should not be because of the threat of violence but due the non readiness of INEC.

He however said his group is not calling for the postponement of the general election because “we are very sure of winning. But if the election is organised with the PVCs,  then I can tell you that INEC is not ready.
Dokubo who rejected the appellation, Militant, said he has never been one but remains a royalty from the Kalabari Kingdom in Rivers State.

Speaking on what he thinks can bring about peace before and after the election, Dokubo said nothing will happen if the northerners do not engineer violence, adding that anything contrary, he and his people will not fold their arms.
“The question is not for me, it for Buhari, Shakau and others who can not stop their people from stoning Jonathan when he visited Kastina.”

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