Posted by News Express | 10 October 2014 | 2,990 times
Supporters of Minister of State for Education, who is also a governorship aspirant in Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike yesterday unleashed terror on opponents and journalists in Abuja.
The venue was the PDP Presidential Campaign Office, Legacy House, Maitama, at the second day of the Senator Iya Abubakar led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) South South Integration Committee’s sitting.
The Committee had on Wednesday met with PDP stakeholders, leaders and members from Akwa Ibom and Edo States and it was the turn of Rivers State for reconciliation.
Soon after the minister arrived the venue, the atmosphere was charged as his supporters blocked and stopped members of PDP perceived not loyal to Wike from entering the hall to submit or defend their memoranda which they had earlier submitted.
Journalists who had covered the previous meetings were harassed, humiliated and beaten. Television camera men working with Channels Television, Silverbird as well as a Vanguard correspondent were molested.
The supporters manhandled the reporters and attempted to seize their cameras, recorders and telephones. The supporters who blocked the entrance to the hall, were prepared to beat up anyone. Some of the aspirants like Kenneth Ibikani Dublin, Chief Larry Allison; Major Lanstort Annyayan, among others could not enter the venue.
Displeased with the development which saw Rivers PDP stakeholders prevented from presenting their memoranda to the Iya Abubakar Committee, former Commissioner for Water Resources in the state and Rivers State Coordinator, Yar’Adua/Jonathan Campaign Organisation in 2007, Hon. Lolo Ibienye, expressed strong concern. The protest attracted instant rebuke from the minister.
Throughout the period the Minister was in the hall with members of the committee, other aspirants were not allowed to come close to the venue as the hefty looking supporters of Wike molested and stopped everyone.
The waiting room of Legacy House was completely taken over by the Minister’s supporters.
Narrating his experience to Vanguard, Ibienye claimed he was shoved by the minister. Ibienye warned that if the national leadership of PDP fails to address these problems, the party in Rivers State was sitting on a keg of gun powder, waiting to explode at any time. He added that with the molestation of party members and journalists by the Minister of State for Education’s thugs. It would have been disastrous if the exercise had taken place in Rivers.
Ibienye who noted that the molestation and punching was not necessary, said that the Committee received 22 petitions from the state and of the petitions received, only four persons from the state were allowed to defend their petitions.
Said Ibienye: “What happened there was that the group led by the Honourable Minister of State, Education, Nyesom Wike brought people intended to stop petitioners from going to defend their petitions. Only a few people were allowed into the hall. 22 petitions were received from Rivers State and only four out of the 22 persons who petitioned were allowed to defend their petitions. Professor Israel Owate presented his, Chief Paworiso Samuel Horsfall presented his report, while Barrister Alalivo Frederick and Elechukwu Ogbowu presented theirs as well.
“In an attempt to stop the molestation and harassment of party stakeholders and preventing them from entering the hall to defend their petitions, Wike then shoved me. That is not what we expect at the moment at all; the molestation of stakeholders and journalists should not have happened, it is not necessary at all. If it happened in Abuja with few of us in attendance, what would have happened if the meeting had taken place in Rivers State?
“The national leadership of the party must know that it is not well with Rivers PDP, it is a clear indication that PDP in the state is sitting on a keg of gun powder.”
When asked to comment on the fracas, he said: “It happened, go ahead and use it that way, what happened there was not necessary at all.“
When Vanguard called Mr. Wike and sent a text message for his response, he said he was at a meeting and would call back. He had not responded at press time.
Meanwhile, a group stormed the Legacy House, the Wadata Plaza, National Secretariat of the party, demanding the zoning of governorship seat to the riverine area of the state was stopped by security operatives.
Addressing the group, PDP national publicity secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh who advised them to always imbibe democratic tenets and the rule of law, urged them to ensure that they put their house in order to ensure that PDP wins the election in Rivers State.
There was however a reprisal action at Legacy House at 11. 40 am when an aggrieved member, and legal adviser to Network for Defence of Democracy and Good Governance, NDDGG, Barrister Tubotamuno Dick, led a group of boys who carried bottles of soft drinks, forced themselves into the premises, and it became a free-for-all among the two groups, but the police intervened.
•Adapted from a Vanguard report. Photo shows Wike.
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