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Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) nominee for president, has provided an explanation for why he chose not to hold a rally in Rivers State. He claimed he made the choice to prevent deaths and property damage in the state.

Atiku made this statement late on Sunday during a meeting with Rivers State stakeholders in Abuja. He added that both his campaign and the PDP firmly believe that no political ambition is worth the life of a Nigerian.

Top PDP figures in Rivers have been attacked as a result of election-related violence, including former transportation minister Abiye Sekibo and senator Lee Maeba.

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Magnus Abe, a candidate for governor from the Social Democratic Party, and Dumo-Lulu Briggs, a candidate from the Accord Party, have both come under fire.

Though we didn’t want it, Atiku said: “Even though we didn’t want this, it became imperative that we think and act creatively to save our people’s lives from the senseless carnage and violence perpetrated by the very people who are in charge of their security and well-being.

“Evidently, the current situation in Rivers State and this gathering, held here at the request of our Rivers PDP family, confirm my long-standing ties to the state.

“Beyond being a good corporate citizen of Rivers State, I have developed a close bond with a number of families in the state over the years. This bond predates politics by decades. Because of this, I continue to have faith in the Rivers people’s support for the PDP and our presidency.

Atiku pleaded with the participants, “to maintain the faith, even in the face of harassment and senseless violent intimidation, and turn out in large numbers on Saturday and cast your votes, as usual, for PDP.” I tell you that your sacrifice and support will be amply repaid, he continued.

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