From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo State, has asked the Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, to quickly explain to Nigerians the role of his regime in the attack on Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, the party’s candidate for Ideato Federal Constituency.
Collins Opurozor State Publicity Secretary, Imo PDP, said the governor’s comments betrayed his sympathy for the attackers.
Opurozor said rhe State Government has serious questions to answer in the attack, claiming that the governor may have had prior knowledge of the attack.
The statement reads: “Our Party contends that the Governor’s comment on the matter has not just betrayed his sympathy for the attackers but has also exposed the depth of his knowledge of the attack prior to its execution.
“It could be recalled that on Saturday, January 14, 2023, a motorcade of three vehicles conveying gunmen, arsonists and bombers stormed the residence of our candidate, Ikenga Ugochinyere, at his hometown in Akokwa. Three persons were shot dead. Among them was an uncle to Ikenga. Our candidate escaped death by a whisker. No fewer than thirty-two vehicles were burnt to ashes. Buildings were levelled to the ground with explosives. It was total war!
“Reacting to the carnage, Uzodinma accused our candidate of violating an agreement which he (our candidate) allegedly reached with unknown gunmen. Uzodinma also claimed to have known of some meetings between our Ikenga’s and the unknown gunmen. He alleged that the agreement was to the effect that elections would not hold in the South East. According to Senator Uzodinma, it was Ikenga’s breach of the agreement that led to the attack.
“This is obviously a lie from the pit of hell! However, what this self-confession has established is that, even before the attack on Ikenga Ugochinyere was carried out, Uzodinma had full knowledge of it. He knew how it was conceived, planned and executed. By his admission, Uzodinma knows who the so-called unknown gunmen are. He knows where and how they meet. He is privy to their agreements, documents and action plan. So, what is unknown about the gunmen if the Governor could boast of knowing everything about them, including their meetings and their resolutions?
“Imo PDP, therefore, insists that this watery defense put up by Senator Uzodinma has further strengthened general belief that his regime has serious questions to answer over the attack on Ikenga Ugochinyere.
“It must be clearly stated that Senator Uzodinma’s failed attempt to link Ikenga Ugochinyere with whatever group that doesn’t want elections to hold in the South East is a new dimension to his unending war against our candidate.
“To be clear and for the avoidance of doubt, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere is a leading voice in pro-democracy advocacy in Nigeria. His participation in the 2023 elections began over two years ago with the establishment of Grassroots Development Forum, which is his political structure in Ideato Federal Constituency. In the past one year, Ikenga’s campaign billboards, posters and insignia have adorned all the nooks and crannies of Ideato. And for the past ten months, he has been the candidate of our Party.
“At what point, therefore, did Ikenga, who has pursued issues relating to his candidacy and the election up to the Supreme Court, reach an agreement with a phantom group not to allow the very same election to hold? So, what is Uzodinma really talking about? It’s a pity!
“What is important to emphasize is that the predicament of Ikenga Ugochinyere in the hands of the infamous APC regime in Imo began from the moment he exposed the widespread compromise of the INEC voter register. His campaign billboards were immediately attacked by agents of the regime.
“In a recorded telephone conversation, an appointee of Senator Hope Uzodinma, one Chinasa Nwaneri, was threatening fire and brimstone upon Ikenga Ugochinyere, threatening that our candidate would be dealt with whenever he would be sighted in Imo State.
“On December 23, 2022, this threat was executed and the first onslaught was launched on Ikenga’s convoy as he returned to Imo from Abuja.
“What is really worrisome is that, in all of these, no arrest has been effected by the Nigeria Police and/or the Department of State Services. It is noteworthy that protection of lives and property is the sacred responsibility of government. The security agencies are supposed to be non-partisan and act without fear or favour. We are deeply worried.
“We hereby reiterate our earlier and consistent call for the immediate disbandment of Ebubeagu outfit and urge security agencies to investigate these attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice without any further delay.”