Worried by the spate of political violence in their area, kinsmen of the President’s wife, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, including a former Niger Delta agitator, Chief Ateke Tom, have placed a ban on political rallies in Okrika Local Government Area.
Mrs. Jonathan’s kinsmen said it would not tolerate any political campaign in the area in order to ensure the safety of lives and property of their people.
They expressed dissatisfaction that politicians were trying to turn Okrika to a war zone without minding the safety of the people of the area.
It will be recalled that a governorship campaign of the All Progressive Congress was attacked by hoodlums, even as a policeman lost his life after being shot by the intruders.
One of the President’s wife’s kinsmen, Mr. Marcus Orabipi, who spoke on behalf of Okrika people on Tuesday, explained that the decision to shut out politicians from campaigning in the place was aimed at maintaining peace.
Orabipi, who made the remark shortly after an Okrika stakeholders’ meeting, stated that every eligible voter in the area was free to vote for any candidate of his choice.
He expressed the sympathy of the people of Okrika to the family of the police that was killed during the attack on the APC rally on February 17, 2015.
According to Orabipi, “The whole town commiserates with the family of the policeman who died as a result of the violence that transpired when the APC held its rally on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at the National School Field.
“As a result of what happened, stakeholders have decided that there should be no more rallies for now in Okrika until further notice. The town (Okrika) has spoken and the decision is unanimous. The decision was taken to avoid further incidence of violence as a result of the attitude of political parties.”
Orabipi, however, explained that though members of political parties were free to discuss issues, they should avoid insulting persons and institutions, even as he described the people of Okrika as peace loving.
Also, Ateke Tom, who was part of the Okrika stakeholders’ meeting, expressed his support for the decision of Okrika people on the banning of political rallies in the area.
Ateke Tom specifically stated that there would be no rally for the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party, maintaining that the people of the area were not comfortable with the wave of political violence in the place.
The former Niger Delta militant leader said, “The people of Okrika have spoken and I am in support of the decision they have taken. My people have spoken and they have said there is no more political rallies in Okrika.
“I am in support of their decision. Who I am I to say no? You want them to kill me? When the PDP held their rally (in Okrika), there was no problem. But when the APC held their own rally in Okrika, there was violence.
“Unfortunately, a policeman was killed and property were destroyed. So, PDP and APC, there will be no more rallies. We don’t want violence in Okrika again. The people of Okrika want to hold on to the existing peace in the area.”
Ateke Tom, however, called on the youths to shun politicians’ overtures, adding that the aim of the politicians was to use and dump them.