How we were abducted on election day, by APC stalwarts, soldiers
Three chieftains of All Progressive Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Mr. Chikordi Dike, Alex Wele and Dr. Lawrence Chuku, say they are still traumatised nine days after they were abducted by hoodlums allegedly sponsored by Governor Nyesom Wike at Obio-Akpor Collation centre during the March 9 elections.
The victims, who acted as party agents of African Action Congress (AAC), after their party APC adopted the candidates of AAC for the elections, disclosed that they were whisked away by thugs into the governor’s vehicle at about 11.00pm after he (Wike) invaded the centre with about 200 thugs.
While narrating their ordeals to newsmen yesterday in Port Harcourt, one of the victims, Dike, stated that some of the hoodlums were dressed in fake military and police uniforms while some wore black t-shirts with the inscription ‘Neigbourhood Safety Watch’.
“Immediately the atmosphere change,” he said. “Earlier, before Wike arrived, the atmosphere was very cordial. The parties’ agents were exchanging pleasantries, but when the governor arrived, it turned into a war situation and suddenly, we noticed sporadic shootings; everyone scampered to safety and as we were running, some hoodlums whisked us into one of Wike’s vehicles, pretending to be protecting us.”
Dike argued that no collation took place at Obio-Akpor centre, stressing that the Electoral Officer was held inside the local council chairman’s office, Solomon Eke, when the incident happened and that she was also taken away by the hoodlums thereafter.While speaking also, Chuku alleged that electoral materials were also carted away by the men that arrived with Governor Wike before the elections were suspended. He maintained that collation of results did not take place at the Obio-Akpor council and called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), to discountenance claims by anyone that elections were collated at the council.
On his part, Wele said he was attacked and manhandled by the hoodlums, insisting that they were not allowed access to the local council’s chairman’s office where the Electoral Officer was kept until she was whisked away. In a similar development, two military officers who were victims of the incident and were hospitalised, Capt. Adams Salami and Cop. Adeosun Adebayo narrated how they were attacked by the gunmen.
Salami said, “At about 23.00 hours, we got information that hoodlums were trying to invade the Obio-Akpor Collation Centre. So, we were asked to provide security in that area, which we did in liaison with the policemen posted there.“Five minutes later, to my surprise, the governor’s convoy came in with about 30 to 40 cars with hoodlums, thugs; some were in police uniform shooting sporadically within the premises. As usual, we decided to step back. I was pleading with them as a soldier to resolve this amicably before I was attacked.”
On his part, Adebayo said, “I was deployed to Obio-Akpor centre and the crowd was too much. So, we had to reduce the crowd; it was then that the policemen in the governor’s convoy started mobbing us and hitting us with their weapons. I could not figure out the reason because nobody asked anybody any question. The policemen were hitting us with the nozzle of their riffles.”
In his reaction, the State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Emma Okah, described the APC stalwarts as clowns, noting that no such thing happened. According to Okah, “The APC and their ally AAC failed the election. They are doing everything possible to divert attention from their shameful failure. Why would anybody abduct them? Of what use is their adoption? To gain what? They should bury their heads in shame that they were moving with soldiers to thwart the wishes of their people.” The spokesman of 6 Division Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Col. Aminu Illiyasu, confirmed that some the army officers attacked by thugs during the elections and were hospitalised.