The ruling All Progressives Congress on Wednesday said the disruption of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party’s rally in Kaduna was an unfortunate incident that could have been averted if the PDP had followed the right protocol.
This is as the APC alleged that the disruption was self-inflicted following the report that organisers of the “rented crowd” who turned up in large numbers for the rally of the PDP flagbearer, Atiku Abubakar, “absconded” with the campaign money.
Pandemonium had erupted on Monday at the PDP presidential campaign mega rally when hoodlums unleashed mayhem on party supporters at the venue.
The PUNCH reported that the invaders came into the Ranchers Bees Stadium with sticks and machetes and started attacking the crowd, leaving many injured.
The coordinated attack took place at the venue thrice before security operatives finally repelled the hoodlums.
A saddened Atiku had condemned the incident, saying the attacks on his supporters in both Zamfara and Kaduna States, which led to the death of a PDP member, were direct attempts to suppress his legitimate campaigns in the states.
Reacting to the ugly incident in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday, National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Felix Morka, said the PDP had itself to blame for the attack.
Morka stated that the ugly event that unfolded at the rally in Kaduna was wrong but, regrettably, self-inflicted.
He disclosed that as a Party, the APC abhors and condemns all forms of violence and interference in the activities or events of any political party.
According to him, every Party has a right to equal protection of the law, adding that perpetrators of disruptive and other acts of violence must be brought to justice.
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The statement partly read, “However, the PDP has no one but itself to blame for the violent incident at its rally in Kaduna. The incident was simply a matter of a rented crowd that went irate when the Party’s rent-a-crowd managers disappeared with funds meant to pay for the rented crowd.
“Rather than hold its head down in shame for the poor and distasteful showing at its Kaduna rally, the PDP seeks to scapegoat our Party for its own gross acts and misconduct.
“To be clear, the APC has no hand in the attack as irresponsibly alleged by the PDP. We have no reason to be perturbed by the rally.”
Continuing, Morka noted that, as Africa’s largest political party, bolstered by the accomplishments of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), with a vibrant future led by their Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the APC cannot in any way be unnerved by any political party.
He also blamed the PDP for scheduling and conducting its rally in Kaduna on the same day that Tinubu was scheduled to make an appearance at the Arewa Dialogue.
According to him, a mature and well-governed campaign would have avoided that apparent conflict of having two major events take place in the same city on the same day.
“Having made their pitch at the dialogue, it was only fair that our candidate be allowed to do the same. But such civil gesture is uncharacteristic of the PDP.
“Given the credible, free and fair elections that the APC-led administration superintended in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun States, there is no iota of doubt that our party remains committed to the highest levels of civility, transparency and respect for the rule of law in its political engagements. That this government also midwived the massive reform of the Electoral Act, and introduced the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) speaks volume to its commitment to democratic consolidation in our country.
“We urge security agencies to probe the unfortunate Kaduna incident with a view to unmasking and prosecuting the culprits behind it.
“It is imperative that political parties eschew violence and play strictly by the rules of engagement, going forward. We enjoin all parties and candidates to subscribe to issue-based campaigns and observe applicable ethical standards and best practices. We owe Nigerians a duty to ensure a violence-free and peaceful electioneering process ahead of the 2023 general election,” he said.