The Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress has dismissed claims by the Peoples Democratic Party that it instigated the takeover of local government secretariats in the state by the police.
The police had on Saturday barred the 22 local government caretaker committees chairmen from entering the council secretariats hours after they were cleared by the Rivers State House of Assembly.
Governor Nyesom Wike had inaugurated the caretaker chairmen to take over from their elected chairmen that were sacked by a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt.
The sacked chairmen, all members of the APC, were elected on May 23 barely six days to the exit of former Governor Chibuike Amaechi, also a member of the party.
The state chapter of the PDP accused the APC of being behind the police action.
However, in a state on Sunday, the chairman of the APC, Davies Ikanya, denied the opposition’s claim, describing the accusation as “watery, baseless and without foundation.”
“APC as a party has nothing to do with the Police taking over the LG Secretariats in Rivers State,” the statement said.
“We are not a lawless party like PDP that used the Police and other security organs to make the state virtually ungovernable during their time in power at the centre.”
The ruling party pointed out that the APC has always been known as a party that respects and advocates strict adherence to the rule of law and that there was no way it would suddenly turn around to do otherwise.
It recounted that the PDP-led administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan used the police to harass, intimidate and hound Mr. Amaechi and its other leaders in the state.
It said the PDP leaders in the state clapped and danced when Mr. Wike “murdered the rule of law through the infamous CP Joseph Mbu.”
The APC added, “He heartlessly dispersed 13,000 teachers who gathered to receive their employment letters, aided the five renegade lawmakers to attempt the impeachment of the then Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, barricaded and sealed the State Assembly for one legislative year and even blocked the access road to the Government House on one occasion, preventing Governor Amaechi and his visitors from using the road.
“It was the same Wike who as a junior minister and with the backing of the then First Lady Patience Jonathan ordered his thugs to stone State Governors who visited Rivers in solidarity with Amaechi for the humiliation he suffered under the watchful eyes of then-President Jonathan.
“Wike later used the police and the army to forcefully break into the newly constructed stadium just to prove his powers.”
The party said having unequivocally condemned such excesses, there is no way it would turn around to instigate the police under the new administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, to walk the path of infamy as was the case during the Jonathan administration.
The APC said even if it harboured any such thoughts, it wouldn’t have been possible to execute it under the present dispensation as the Buhari administration “is not running a lawless government as was the case during the time of Dr. Jonathan and could not have directed the Police to embark upon any illegal act.”
The party restated the order by Justice Lambo Akanbi of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt sacking the 22 LG chairmen.
It assured that it would follow constitutionally-approved judicial processes to seek justice in the matter.
The APC commended the police for acting promptly to forestall the breakdown of law and order following the judgment.
It vowed “to do everything lawful to ensure that our elected LG councils are not in any way humiliated out of office.”
The party also called for calm while reassuring the residents of the state that the mandate they gave it to administer the LG councils would be retrieved and restored in due time.