Buhari didn’t consult me on crisis —Wike
As PDP says declaration directed at APC
By Soni Daniel, Henry Umoru, Ben Agande & Gbenga Oke
Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, yesterday, faulted what he described as President Muhammadu Buhari’s double faced reaction to violence in the country, saying that the President was quick to react to the situation in Rivers State, a far cry from the violent exploits of Fulani herdsmen in Benue State.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on its part, welcomed the president’s assertion of swift action on perpetrators of violence, saying that the declaration could only be directed at members of the president’s All Progressives Congress, APC, who it claimed were bent on winning the elections in Rivers State by all means.
Buhari’s threat unfortunate —Wike
Also, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, has described as unfortunate, the threat by President Buhari to deal decisively and ruthlessly with the perpetrators of violence in the state without consulting him on the state of affairs.
Wike, who spoke with one of our correspondents, said he had expected Buhari, as the Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria, to consult him as the Chief Security Officer of Rivers State on matters relating to security, before commenting.
Wike said that he would not make any comment on the development until he meets with Buhari.
Assuring that he was ready to cooperate with security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to ensure a successful re-run in the state this weekend, Wike warned that he will not tolerate any attempt to rig the elections.
Agbedi faults Buhari
Meanwhile, Fred Agbedi of the House of Representatives, Sagbama/Ekeremor, Bayelsa State, yesterday, said that President Buhari was insincere in his actions concerning the violence in Rivers State.
According to him, President Buhari kept mum on the killings by Fulani herdsmen in Agatu, Benue State, as well as the violence which took place in Bayelsa State during the last governorship election, adding that what happened in Rivers State was a lesser evil.
He said, “Better still, does it not show an emotional bias that Mr President chose to ignore the wanton, criminal ethnic cleansing going on in Benue State and rather spoke about a lesser evil?
“I must say that not many Nigerians are happy that the President kept quiet over the Agatu and Nasarawa killings that have reached genocide heights but chose to internationalise a local political heat in Rivers State. Until Mr President speaks on the killings perpetrated by herdsmen in Benue and Nasarawa States, I do not consider him a sincere leader. Mr President must speak out.”
APC expresses worries
In another development, the National Secretariat of the APC has expressed worries over the alleged fresh death threats issued by Governor Wike on INEC, especially on Mrs. Amina Zakari, a National INEC Commissioner, who it said has a record of supervising some of the most credible, free and fair elections by INEC in the past.
The APC also said that the Rivers State governor also issued dangerous threats on the Nigerian Army.
It will be recalled that President Buhari had, on Tuesday, while addressing members of the Nigerian community in Equatorial Guinea, vowed to deal with perpetrators of election violence in Rivers State.
Fayose slams Buhari
Reacting to the affirmation, Fayose, while also condemning the spate of violence in Rivers State said: “Only a president with ulterior political motives will elevate political violence above the kind of genocide carried out by Fulani herdsmen in Benue State.”
Fayose, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, said that it was strange that the same President Buhari who did not utter a word until over 400 Agatu people of Benue State were murdered, swiftly reacted to the reported political violence in Rivers State from faraway Malabo in Equatorial Guinea.
The governor said: “In Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State, Fulani herdsmen allegedly killed over 400 people, including children and pregnant women, destroyed more than 10 villages. President Buhari did not raise his voice against this genocide until I condemned his silence.
“Also in Mile 12, Lagos, when 15 persons, including two children, were killed with property worth several millions of naira destroyed during a clash between Hausa and Yoruba traders, President Buhari did not give the security services any clear directives to deal decisively with anyone.
“Even though one is not against any action of the government aimed at curbing violence in whatever form, it is pertinent to ask the President whether or not killing of Nigerians should only attract his attention when it involves elections.
“From all indications, the President’s reaction to the reported violence in Rivers State is part of the grand plot to rig the re-run elections holding in the state on Saturday, but the President must know that the people of Rivers State will not be cowed into allowing Abuja to impose leaders on them.
“Buhari and his APC should be reminded of the level of violence they unleashed on PDP members and supporters during the governorship election in Bayelsa State, in which several souls were lost. Yet, PDP still won and Rivers State will not be an exception.
“Most importantly, if the President is serious about dealing with perpetrators of violence, he should first deal with those Fulani herdsmen who admitted that they murdered children and pregnant women in Agatu villages of Benue State because 10,000 of their cattle were allegedly killed by people of the area.”
The PDP on its part welcomed the directive, saying it was directed at APC members in Rivers State.
In an interview with Vanguard in Abuja, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisah Metuh, said that the president’s directive was directed at members of the APC in the state, who were trying to create crisis because of their imminent defeat in the forthcoming election.
According to him, “Rivers State is a PDP state and will remain so for as long as a conducive atmosphere was created for a free and fair election,” adding that as president of the country, President Buhari should direct all the security agencies to remain neutral and maintain peace during the forthcoming elections.
“As a party, the PDP supports the directive by the President to the security agencies to deal decisively with perpetrators of violence in Rivers State because he was speaking directly to members of the APC, who have been very exuberant.”