Disabled persons under the auspices of All Progressives Congress (APC) Persons with Disabilities (APCPWD) on Friday in Calabar protested the destruction of the Buhari/Osibajo billboards in some parts of Cross River State.
The disabled members of the party staged the protest hours before the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), President Goodluck Jonathan, stormed Calabar for its presidential rally.
According to the disabled who lodged their complaints at the Barracks Road secretariat of the APC, “The continued removal of billboards/posters belonging to APC candidates in Cross River State by persons suspected to be supporters and hirelings of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in the state was unacceptable.’’
The protesters express their displeasure over the wanton destruction of the APC candidates’ posters and bill boards, especially within Calabar Metropolis and its environs.
Speaking on their behalf, Special Leader of the disabled APC members, Mr. Offiong Effanga Okon, said the group was warning perpetrators to desist from such acts because such tendencies were capable of breeding violence and undermine public peace during and after the elections.
They also warned that the non-violence pact recently endorsed by the various parties in the February elections must be respected to the later through a civil and peaceful approach to the electioneering.
Okon said they were disgusted by the continuous destruction of the billboards and posters of the APC Presidential candidate and other candidates of the party.
Okon said, “Just yesterday, we gathered after our investigations that PDP supporters were going round removing posters and billboards of our candidates apparently to satisfy their paymasters.
“Incidentally too, we are here today to report to the State echelon of the party that we have confirmed this criminal tendency of the PDP hirelings following the removal and /or replacement of our presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari’s billboard close to the Margaret Ekpo International in Calabar Airport with that of Goodluck Jonathan its candidate”.
Okon said many other cases abound where other APC candidates’ posters and billboards were destroyed soon after there were mounted.
He said, “In Odukpani Local Government Area; in Okurikang Junction per se, that of our governorship candidate, Mr. Odey Ochicha was earlier removed before a new one was replaced. The police authorities in the area have feigned ignorance of the development. That of the House of Representatives candidate for Biase/Akamkpa Federal Constituency, Ms. Emilia Katame was also removed in Oban axis of Akamkpa where the State Chairman of PDP, Mr. John Okon comes from”, Okon lamented.
Addressing the aggrieved disabled persons at the Secretariat, Co-chairman, Media and Publicity of the Governorship Campaign Council, Mr. Bassey Ekpenyong Ita said: “The party is already aware of the clamp down on instruments of identity of our party’s candidates for the February poll by persons suspected to be hirelings of the PDP.’’
He gave assurance that appropriate actions would be taken to put an end to the anomaly.
Ita who condemned the demolition of the APC candidates’ billboards and posters, describing the action as criminal, said the party will contact relevant law enforcement agencies on the matter.
Ita accused the PDP of desperation, stating that the action of the ruling party was to justify the many lies they have been telling Jonathan, who was bound to visit the state on Friday, that there was no opposition against the PDP in the state.
Ita called on the police and other security agencies to be on red alert so as to guard against the tendencies that could lead to the breakdown of public peace during and after the February general elections.