The Senator representing Rivers South East constituency in the red chambers, Magnus Abe, has accused Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike, of fanning the embers of hate and disunity among the people the Niger-Delta along party lines.
He made the accusation while addressing the Acting-President, Yemi Osinbajo in Port-Harcourt on Tuesday.
Abe said the government of Rivers State was not ready for peace in spite of all entreaties made by the members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He complained that members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) with the backing of the government had been antagonizing members of APC in the state, but vowed that they would not succumb to blackmail and provocation.
Abe explained that members of PDP pulled down the banners which APC erected to welcome Osinbajo to the state yesterday. He also lamented the shutting-out of all members of the APC except the minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, from attending the Town Hall meeting that took place at the government house yesterday.
The Senator decried the discrimination meted out to APC members in the state House of Assembly by governor Wike because of their political affiliation.
He said: “I’m sure that in the 24 hours you have spent in River state that you have come to find that there are deep fault-lines in River state. And, you have seen with your own very eyes what all the evidence in this country has been pointing to you that there is a problem here.
“Yesterday, people talked so much about unity. How we are all united, and how what was happening in government house united the position of all Rivers people. But let me say that unity is not what we do
or what we say when the Acting-President of Nigeria is seated and all the television stations in the country are tuned in to what we are doing.
“Unity is what we do when the cameras are not there or the Acting-President is not there. As a senator of the federal republic of Nigeria, I did not receive an invitation to yesterday’s Town Hall meeting. It was at the airport that your own staff now tried to give us invitations. That is not an act that will promote unity and that why we did not come.
“The Rivers state House of Assembly has 32 members. Out of the 32, the six members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are the only six people that take taxis to the Assembly all the other members drive cars that were bought by Rivers state government, and the governor tells us that it is his personal contribution to the House, and these other six people are not entitled.
In an atmosphere of that nature, it is clear that there can be no unity, because it is not the words that are said in the front of television cameras that will bring unity, it is the actions that we take when nobody is watching.
“We have gone through a lot as Rivers people because of the situation that has been ousted on us in this state. And, we want to use this opportunity to call on the federal government to make a very clear and decisive to try bring peace to River state.
“In this Niger-Delta, there is an attempt to mark those of us who are member of the APC as if we have committed treason by joining this party but this party is registered under the laws of Nigeria, and we have a constitutional right to belong to any political association of our choice.
“Yesterday we put up our banners to welcome you to the state. A prominent member of the PDP had the boldness and the effrontery to go to banners of the APC welcoming you to Rivers state to physically, pull them down.
We have reported that to the Nigerian police. We believe that action must be taken so that the impunity that existed before can no longer exist under this administration.
“Those who want peace in our state should learn to respect those who have contributed to the state. The former governor of Rivers state was seated there, the present governor could not even acknowledge his predecessor in office.
Is that the action of people who want unity? Is that the action of people who want peace? Is that the action of people who want Rivers state to move forward?
In his response, Acting-President Osinbajo called on the members of the APC in the state to eschew violence but pursue peace with all men stressing that political violence will disrupt the on-going plans of the federal government for the region and deprive them of meaningful development.
“As time goes on, one thing I want to say to all of us especially those of us who are strong and active members of the APC, let me say to you that peace is the most important quality we need. We are the government at the centre.
“For the first time, we are there at the centre. This is not the time to make war. No!. This is the time to make peace. So that we can ensure that we derive all of the benefits that are derivable from the centre.
“If we are violent, and we are answering violence with violence, we will end up destroying everything. War does not end. It is our duty to overcome evil with good.
“The future of APC is bright given the caliber of people we have in the APC, don’t let us spoil everything by engaging in any form of violence or confusion let us stay a steady course.
“The APC is going to achieve everything we have said we will achieve. Don’t worry. Today is opposition, tomorrow is victory,” he said.