From Tony Osauzo, Benin
THE Odubu Campaign Organisation yesterday raised the alarm over an assassination attempt on the life of the deputy govern or, Rt. Hon. Pius Odubu, at the All Progressives Congress (APC) Secretariat at Auchi on Saturday, April 30, 2016.
Addressing journalists in Benin, the Director of Strategy, Research and Planning of the Odubu Campaign Organisation, Hon. Samson Osagie, explained that following the deputy governor’s declaration of his intention to contest for the APC governorship ticket for the September 10 gubernatorial election, he scheduled to meet with the party delegates of Etsako East, at Agenebode, Etsako Central at Fugar and Etsako West Local Government Area at Auchi.
He said on the way to the three local governments, an unmarked vehicle broke into the deputy governor’s convoy, causing the convoy to stop for a while. He added that the team was later informed that instructions had been passed on to the delegates not to receive the deputy governor’s campaign team in any of the local government areas.
Osagie stated that delegates from Etsako East with exception of the party chairman and a few others defied the instruction and pledged their support for the deputy governor at the meeting in Agenebode.
“The case was different in Etsako Central LGA, Fugar, where an executive director to the governor dispersed the delegates from the House of the party chairman from waiting for the deputy governor’s team. But some later regrouped at the secretariat to meet with the deputy governor and his campaign team.
“Surprisingly, at Auchi, the deputy governor and his team met with passionate and patriotic huge number of delegates but no sooner had the meeting begun when gunmen opened fire outside the secretariat on both security men and members of the deputy governor’s entourage and delegates. It was such a shocking and gory sight to behold. The deputy governor had to be shielded inside the hall to eschew direct bullet contact,” Osagie said.
He said the gunmen, who were armed to the teeth, however, shot and injured eight persons.
He listed them to include Patrick Amakri, an SSS official attached to the deputy governor; Inspector Agge Felix, Escort Police Commander attached to the deputy governor; Zibiri Yakubu, a driver and Ogbeso Nice (Miss), a delegate.
Others are Inu Umoru, a delegate from Auchi; Osabuohien Igiebor, Matthew Ajayi, a musician and another person whose identity was not immediately known. “As we speak, six of them are currently at UBTH, receiving treatment while the other two are still convalescing at a hospital in Auchi . We thank God that our deputy governor was not hit by bullets, as it is obvious that the attack was orchestrated directly at his person and geared toward disrupting the aims of the campaign.
“For us in the Odubu Campaign Organisation, we believe that this act of cowardice being perpetrated by those who dread a free, fair and credible democratic contest is another attempt to intimidate, harass and put pressure on the deputy governor to quit the governorship race or be eliminated. We need to be emphatic that as an ardent and firm believer in the tenets of democracy, Dr. Pius Odubu will continue to market himself to the delegates of the APC with a view to getting them to nominate him as the flag-bearer of the party,”
Hon. Osagie said.
According to him, the assassination attempt was only a high point of events targeted at Odubu’s person and his governorship ambition, disclosing that there had been a spate of illegal suspension of party officers supportive of the deputy governor’s ambition and almost daily removal of political appointees who dare to associate with his ambition from office.
“This to us is the height of naked display of cruelty, animosity, acrimony, intolerance, gross irresponsibility and man’s inhumanity to man. Let us remind us that in a democracy, it is only the people that have right to choose their leaders. And for those who seek to spill blood, on account of a mere party nomination exercise, the God of justice shall bring judgment upon them,” he further said.
Hon. Osagie disclosed that three principal suspects who masterminded the attack have been identified and urged the security agencies to arrest them and their masters and prosecute them for the felonious act.
While sympathising with those injured in the attack, Hon. Osagie notified the national chairman and members of the National Working Committee of the APC to pay proper attention to the happenings in Edo State chapter of the party, as the September 10 election approaches.
“Edo State, being the only state in the South-South geopolitical zone being controlled by the party must be jealously protected in order for the party to retain its foothold in the zone. No doubt, events happening in the party in the last few months, as we progress towards the next governorship election must bother the mind of every right thinking person,” Hon. Osagie said.
Meanwhile, Edo State Publicity Secretary of APC, Comrade Godwin Erhahon, yesterday, on behalf of the party, sympathised with those injured at the Auchi attack.
“What happened yesterday was absolute madness. Let us pray for those who carried out the attack; we are all appealing to everybody to help us pray for these people who have gone mad, they need our prayers. I am appealing to all supporters of APC to be calm,” he said.
Erhahon stated that there was no need for aspirants to attack themselves, as anyone who wins the party primaries would require the support of others to win the governorship election.