Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has condemned the alleged explosion at the campaign rally of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers state.
Darlington Nwauju, Rivers APC spokesperson, had alleged that there was an explosion on Thursday during the party’s governorship rally at Ojukwu field, Rumuwoji community in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
But Grace Iringe-Koko, Rivers police spokesperson, countered Nwauju, saying no explosion occurred — and that the incident was a clash between the community members and party supporters.
Reacting in a series of tweets on Thursday evening, the PDP presidential candidate said he “stands with the APC” and families of those injured.
Abubakar also said the should be no room for violence against political opponents.
“There should be no place for violence and anti-democratic
manifestations in this election,” he wrote.
“We’ve already committed to that in the peace pact we all signed up to.
“Elections are not a do-or-die affair but an opportunity to reinforce our belief in democracy through our leadership choices via adult suffrage.
“We had complained about the violence that had been visited on our party in some states because we did not want it to become a pattern if those engaged in anti- democratic activities were not brought to book.
“Our worst fears have now manifested with the explosion at the APC rally in Port Harcourt. It stands condemned. “Elections and the choices we make should be about the ballot and not the bullet.
“On behalf of my team, I stand in solidarity with the APC and the families of the injured. I wish the injured a quick recovery.”
Abubakar also asked security agencies to ensure that “those behind this dastardly act, including their promoters” are brought to justice to serve as a deterrent to “copycats who may be emboldened to thread this same anti-democratic path”.
Meanwhile, the PDP candidate’s comment comes amid crisis in his party over the position taken by stakeholders led by Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers.
Wike and his allies have excluded themselves from the PDP presidential campaign over calls for Iyorchia Ayu to step down as national chairperson of the party.
The calls for Ayu’s resignation, according to the PDP stakeholders, are based on the grounds that the PDP presidential candidate and the national chairperson cannot be from the same region.