Those behind the bombing at the campaign rally in Port Harcourt, must be fished out and punished according to law, because Nigeria cannot afford to descend into bloodshed through electoral violence, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday.
Condemning the incident, which occurred during the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers state, Atiku said it had confirmed the worst fears of his camp that some political actors were not willing to play by the rules and would rather descend to bloodshed instead of adhering to sound democratic ethos.
The Rivers State Police Command, had however debunked a statement by the APC through Darlington Nwauju, its spokesperson, in the state, claiming that there was an explosion on Thursday during the party’s governorship rally at Ojukwu field, Rumuwoji community in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
Grace Iringe-Koko, spokesperson of the command in debunking Nwauju’s claim, had explained that no explosion occurred, adding that the incident was a clash between the community members and party supporters.
Regardless, Atiku, who seemed not persuaded by the police denial, took to his Twitter handle to state his position, saying he stood not only with the APC, but the families of those injured, because there should be no room for violence against political opponents.
He wrote: “There should be no place for violence and anti-democratic manifestations in this election. 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. 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.”