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Atiku, Tinubu, Obi demand security beef-up, reject campaign suspension

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Peter Obi, Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar

PRESIDENTIAL candidates of major political parties in 2023, general elections has called on president Muhammadu Buhari to step up security in the country as campaigns gather momentum amid flood disaster and other challenges confronting the nation.

 While Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) are vehement on not suspending campaigns due to the flood disaster hitting the country, Labour Party (LP) through the media aide to the presidential candidate, Peter Obi, Emeka Obasi, on Monday, said human lives should not be sacrificed for campaigns and rallies.

He said, “These are human lives we are talking about. I think it is high time all the presidential candidates in this election sat the president down and discuss the insecurity issue. Otherwise, it is not going to be business as usual for people to go out anyhow for rallies.

“What if along the way, something happens to some people? Imagine if a bomb goes off somewhere, every party, not just LP, is likely to postpone or cancel their campaign outright. Insecurity is a very serious issue.

“On our part, we are not taking the security alert lightly because this is coming directly from the US Intelligence. For an American government to issue  such alert, it is not for nothing. Terror is terror everywhere. Nobody is safe.

“This is why I mentioned earlier that my principal is not someone that will ignore this kind of threat and pretend all is well.

“But I can assure you that if there are some flashpoints or areas that are not safe for the campaign, my principal will stop it. He doesn’t like risking people’s lives.”

Similarly, the spokesperson for Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo explained that the council had a security directorate that could handle any safety issues during the APC rallies.

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“We have a directorate that is in charge of security. That is one of the reasons the particular directorate was set up. Any proactive steps regarding security threat, they will take care of it adequately,” the Minister of State, Labour and Employment stated.

 When asked if the party would suspend its rallies because of the security advisory, Keyamo said, “We have not taken any of such decision yet. But I don’t think there is any cause for alarm.”

 On what strategies would be deployed in the light of the latest terror alert by the US, Keyamo said such measures cannot be discussed publicly.

“You know security matters cannot be discussed in public. All I can assure you is that we have a security department, which will take care of such threats adequately,” he added.

But a member of the APC PCC, Nichola Felix, in an interview , said there was no need to suspend campaigns. He, however, advised that security should be beefed up at campaigns.

The Presidential Campaign Spokesman of the New Nigerian Peoples Party, Ladipo Johnson, said his party was mindful of the security situation, adding that the council had a security committee tasked with the responsibility of ensuring NNPP members’ safety at the rallies.

He further explained that the party would not endanger its members, adding that the council would request police or military support if needed.

Johnson stated, ”We have a robust security committee that has been set up for such a purpose. Where there is a need for police and soldiers’ protection, we will get it. I am sure part of the announcement that will be aired on Thursday will address it.

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”We are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that our venues are safe and secured. We pray that by and large, we do not lose people unnecessarily from whichever party, not just NNPP, during this period.

”At the same time, we believed that we cannot be cowed by terrorists and people who do not mean well for this country. We will stand up to them notwithstanding which party we belong to until peace is restored in this country when, by God’s grace, government changes come next year. But we may also need to postpone rallies in some areas if the need arises.”

Addressing the anxiety sparked by the security warnings, the Force spokesman, Muyiwa Adejobi urged political parties and candidates to involve the police in their plans.

He said, “Political parties and candidates are urged to put the police in their plans, get us informed about your activities to assist the police in their deployments to provide security for them as required.

“Political parties and candidates should inform the police of their gatherings and campaigns, and work with the police to fortify their campaign grounds to forestall any attacks or breakdown of law and order.

”They’re expected to seek the services of police anti-bomb unit to always sweep their campaign grounds, and work with the police and other approved security agencies for crowd control, traffic control, which are very crucial.”

Assuring the nation of the police plan to secure the nation, the force headquarters said more deployments will be made to enhance national security.

“We will jack up our deployment for political activities considering the number of participants, for crowd and traffic control etc. So we need to work with them (parties) for better security during the electioneering process,” the police maintained.

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In another development, an end seems not in sight in the crisis plaguing the People’s Democratic Party, as Governor Nyesom Wike has said those who disrespect Rivers State and disregard its electoral importance do not deserve the state electorate’s votes in the 2023 general elections.

Governor Wike spoke during the inauguration of the Rivers State People’s Democratic Party campaign council in Port Harcourt on Monday.

Recall that Wike had insisted that there will be no peace in the party unless the embattled national chairman, Senator Iyorcha Ayu resigns to pave the way for a Southerner to replace him.

He pointed to how the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar picked people from Rivers State as members of the presidential campaign council without any input from him, indicating that they do not want the state (Rivers) to be part of what they are doing.

 Wike said, “The presidential candidate entered Rivers State and picked those he wants to pick without the contribution of the governor. So, they said they don’t need me to campaign for them. They don’t need Rivers people to campaign for them. Will you force yourself on them?

 “So, let’s campaign for those who have asked us to campaign for them here in the state, the governorship candidate, the senatorial candidates and others.”

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