THE Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress on Wednesday explained why it shunned the peace parley organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
INEC had in Port Harcourt on Monday organised a meeting with political parties, where only 11 parties signed a pact, and promised that the yet-to-be-scheduled rerun election would be without violence.
But while the Peoples Democratic Party and 10 other political parties attended the meeting, the state APC and 11 others were conspicuously absent at the forum.
Speaking in an interview with The PUNCH, the state Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Chris Finebone, said his party was not interested in an exercise that would not be implemented.
Recalling that some political parties, including the APC and the PDP had signed a peace pact before the March 2016 rerun election in the state, Finebone accused the PDP of eventually engineering violence that marred the exercise.
He said, “It is not that the APC in Rivers State decided to shun the meeting where the peace pact was signed by some political parties, but we can remember that the APC raised a fundamental issue through its state Chairman, Dr. Davies Ikanya, on how the last peace agreement was breached.
“The PDP engineered the violence even before the election. The agreement should have been that anyone who goes against it should be punished. But INEC had always said that they are not a law enforcement agency and cannot prosecute anybody.
“The APC does not want to involve itself in an exercise that would eventually not have any meaning. The meeting organised by INEC is one that will not do anything to checkmate violence.”
Finebone expressed the need for INEC to work with security agencies and ensure that those involved in political violence were punished.
Reacting, the state Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Samuel Nwanosike, disagreed with the APC, maintaining that the main opposition party in the state was responsible for the violence before, during and after elections in the state.