PORT HARCOURT— GOVERNOR Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State was trapped, yesterday in Rumuolumeni area of Obio/ Akpor Local Government Area of the state, as suspected political thugs fired live bullets at his convoy. This came as tension heightened in Edo State, over alleged deployment of soldiers to the country home of Governor Adams Oshiomhole, in Iyamoh, Auchi in Etsako West Local Government Area.
In Rivers State, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Dave Iyofor, who confirmed the attack on Amaechi’s convoy, said that the thugs from an opposition party first pelted the governor’s convoy with stones and other objects before they started firing gunshots at him. Iyofor said gunshots were fired at the governor, adding that two members of the APC sustained injuries.
“Gunshots were fired at Governor Amaechi this evening (yesterday) at Rumuolumeni in Obio Akpor council by suspected Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, thugs. Obio Akpor is the council of PDP Rivers governorship candidate, Mr Nyesom Wike. The thugs attacked the governor and his entourage with bottles, stones and various dangerous objects.
“Then gunshots were fired at the governor. For now two APC supporters are confirmed injured. When the governor was leaving the community, bonfire was set up on the road to prevent him from leaving. More gunshots were fired at his convoy. Amaechi was on door to door ward campaign in the state,” Iyofor said. nCommunity sources said the APC and the PDP clashed while the governor was in the area for his door to door campaign, adding that the development forced many businesses to immediately close shop in the area.
At press time, the Police were yet to respond to a text mesage from Vanguard for comments on the incident. It was gathered that members of the APC and the PDP allegedly hurled stones and other objects at each other for several hours. Some residents who spoke to Vanguard feared that the situation might escalate between members of the two parties at night if not checked.
“I heard somebody on phone saying there would be war later tonight today (yesterday). We are relocating from the area this night to a safer place,” the source said. It will be recalled that Governor Amaechi, had on Wednesday, alleged that a conspiracy was under way to assassinate him on the day of the presidential election. The plot, according to him, was hatched at the highest level of the executive branch of the Federal Government.
Amaechi, who is also Director-General of the Buhari Campaign Organisation, has alleged that the plot to be executed by men of the Department of State Services, DSS with backing of soldiers from the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu, was leaked to him by a party in the plot. The governor said that as part of the plot, a reconnaissance was carried out in his village, Ubima, on Wednesday.
The governor who claimed that security around him had been significantly depleted to pave way for the attack on him, vowed not to leave the country as family members and friends who have knowledge of the plot had sought to prevail on him. Meanwhile, Edo State, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Louis Odion, said the aim of deploying soldiers to Oshiomhole’s home was allegedly to manipulate the election’s outcome in favour of PDP.
Said Odion: “Family members of the governor were shocked to find his country home taken over by soldiers this afternoon (yesterday). When asked, the invading force said they were acting on orders from above. We also have it on good authority that the Army high command in Abuja had sent some soldiers to Edo State on what they described as ‘special operations’. In order not to arouse suspicion, these soldiers were told to dress in suits and pose as DSS operatives and station themselves at polling units on election day, particularly in areas seen as APC strongholds.
They were told to harass and possibly detain polling agents of APC in order to clear the ground for rigging by agents of PDP who would be wearing special hand bands. It is a rehash of the rigging manual implemented in Ekiti last year. “Two days ago, our campaign jingle on Channels Television in which Oshiomhole endorsed General Buhari was stopped abruptly after few exposures on orders from above.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to use this medium to tell the Army high command that Oshiomhole cannot be intimidated even with whole might of the Nigerian Army from insisting on the application of the principle of ‘One Man, One Vote’ on the election day. We hope that as patriots, officers and men on the Nigerian Army will not allow themselves to be used by political desperadoes to truncate this democracy.”