Dr. Dakuku Peterside

Rivers APC: Surrendering To Hatred And Violence

By Iheanyi Ezinwo)-Some politicians in the fold of All progressives Congress, APC, in Rivers State appear to be displaying unusual desperation for power and in doing so, they fail to reckon with the feelings, rights and aspirations of others.
While we agree that conflict is natural in every human relationship, what the APC in Rivers State has demonstrated in the last few days of preparations leading to their congresses fell outside the zone of indifference. Rivers people saw was violence in full manifestation by a group of people who seem to have surrendered to hatred and violence, not only verbally but also physically when they blocked access to the High Court in Port Harcourt on Friday morning to stop aggrieved party members from obtaining redress. Expectedly,  they were chased away by security operatives.
It is common knowledge that politics is about competition for political power but when the process is skewed against some aspirants, an antecedent condition for avoidable conflict is deliberated created, and there were reactions. It was therefore not surprising that members of the APC, who had paid for forms to contest for offices in the state party congress but were denied headed to the court to seek redress.
The aggrieved aspirants approached a Port Harcourt High Court, demanded and got an injunction stopping the congress from going on without them on Saturday. The court, being the last hope of the common man did the needful by granting the prayers of the petitioners in spite of the invasion and destruction in the court premises by those opposed to the redress.
Curiously, some persons are blaming the Peoples Democratic Party for the infighting in the APC when all the aggrieved persons are members of the APC. It must however be stated that, there is no how the government and people of Rivers State can fold their hands and watch a handful, who have surrendered to hatred threaten the peace in the society in which they are just a part, and any reaction to ensure the restoration of law and order cannot amount to interference in the internal affairs of the party. If the truth be told, it is even the party that is intruding into the individual and collective affairs of those who live and do business in Rivers State.
In civilized societies, politics is a game that is played with the head and not war requiring violence. Those who go into politics with the spirit of sportsmanship are often magnanimous in victory, and when they lose, they wait for another opportunity. On the other hand, those who see politics as a do or die affair are so desperate to the point that they surrender to hatred and violence, forgetting that no one person or group has monopoly of violence, in the absence of rule of law.
The emerging signs of desperation from the ranks of the APC in Rivers State are a threat to democracy, not only in the state but in the entire country. The reason is because the path of violence naturally leads to the contenders perishing in the vicious circle of hatred.
Nigeria is ruled by law, and we must not allow the handful, who want power at all costs, and for the wrong reasons to ride rough shod over the majority. From all indications, the electorates are getting more informed on their rights and obligations, and there is no doubt that, come 2019, only the will of Nigerians will prevail.
It is important that those who are stoking the embers of violence should consider their ways. It is also important that security agencies take good notice of the emerging negative signals with a view to checking the excesses of those who do not have regards for the law, and whose actions constitute a threat to peace in Rivers State and Nigeria.
Martin Luther King Jnr. probably had these desperate politicians in mind when he said:
‘’Time is cluttered with the wreckage of communities which surrendered to hatred and violence. For the salvation of our nation and the salvation of mankind, we must follow another way”.
Nigerians have suffered enough in the last three years of President Muhammadu Buhari administration, including failure of the federal government to protect lives and property in parts of the country. Consequently, no individual or group who wants power at all costs should be allowed to further aggravate the sufferings of the masses.
We strongly agree with Charles D’Sousa, when he said: “The man who spends his life building walls instead of bridges has no right to complain if he is lonely”. Come 2019, Nigerians will determine who leads them at state and national levels.

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