Crisis Deepens as Rivers APC Seeks Release of Abducted Official, INEC Documents
By our reporter
THECONSCIENCEng reports that Rivers APC has made some demands following the abduction of its lawyer at INEC office in Port Harcourt.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State has called for the immediate release of Dr. Godswill Dike and release of all certified INEC documents that would enable the party table its appeal before the Rivers state election tribunal.
THECONSCIENCEng reports that a statement from the APC state publicity Secretary in Rivers state and the Spokesman, Rivers APC 2023 Campaign Council, Darlington Nwauju, and Sogbeye Eli respectively said that they had just been informed about the abduction of Dr. Godswill Dike, a lawyer, member of the party and brother of the State Legal Adviser, Barr. Azubuike Dike, right inside the Rivers State Headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Aba Road, Port Harcourt.
They said that Dr. Godswill Dike was invited to the Commission to take delivery of the certified true copies of the INEC documents that they applied for in pursuant to the provisions of Section 74 of the Electoral Act 2022.
According to the statement, “Acting apparently on a tip-off, Edison Ehie and Samuel Nwasonike, aided by the surge of the PDP mob outside the premises swooped on him inside the INEC office shortly after Dr. Godswill Dike signed for the documents and sped away with him to the State Assembly residential Quarters behind the INEC State Headquarters.
“Our initial reaction was to establish contact with the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Jackson Alalibo Semikien, to report the criminal abduction of the aforementioned Dr. Dike.
Curiously, the REC who has done nothing beyond a press release two days ago directing political parties to proceed to LGA Offices of the Commission for the election documents they may require, told our governorship candidate emphatically that there was nothing the Commission can do, having released the documents we applied for to Dr. Godswill Dike.”
They further said that Contacts have also been made with the Deputy Speaker who assured his caller that Dr. Godswill Dike would return safe but the materials they took from him should be forgotten.
“Calls made by our governorship candidate to the military also yielded no fruit with the hierarchy stating that until the military receive invitation from the Police they cannot be involved in a purely civil operation.
Accordingly, they said that “In the circumstance, we are left with no option but call on the Nigeria Police and other security agencies to immediately go after the Deputy Speaker, Edison Ehie, and the Ikwerre Council Chairman, Samuel Nwanosike to safeguard the life of Dr. Godswill Dike and retrieve our election materials from his abductors.”
The statement explained that the APC had suffered all sorts of attacks, arrests and other illegal actions by the PDP in Rivers State to obstruct their quest for justice at the Elections Petitions Tribunal as allowed by law.
“From the arrest of our lawyers in a Hotel and carting away of our party’s copies of elections materials, laying siege to the INEC State Headquarters to physically assaulting our governorship candidate, Tonye Cole, who was at the same INEC State Headquarters last Monday invitation by the REC to the attack on our State Secretariat here where flags were pulled down and vehicles were destroyed at will, the ruling party has conducted itself with grave impunity since the rape of the rights of Rivers people and the electorate in the State to freely elect their Governor and representatives at both the National and State levels.
“Nothing could have emboldened the kidnap of Dr. Godswill Dike this evening shortly after PDP members who had been camped at INEC invaded the complex than the statement by Governor Nyesom Wike endorsing the illegal obstruction of opposition parties seeking to access the Commission’s Headquarters ahead of filing their petitions.
“We have been subjected to several acts of provocation by the PDP yet have maintained equanimity of spirit to keep the peace in our State. Yet, our opponents are not about to allow the peace reign”, the statement stressed
In view of this, they said: “We call on the President and Commander-in-Chief to rise to the occasion by calling the Governor of Rivers State to order and rescue our dear State from the anarchists who are hell bent on self-perpetuation in power or destruction of Rivers State where their undemocratic plot fails.
“Up until now, we have done our bit as a law-abiding party as the rest of the nation has taken notice. The APC is asking that Governor Nyesom Wike and the PDP be held responsible for any breakdown of law and order in Rivers State,” they stated.