The Association of Ebonyi Indigenes Socio-Cultural In the Diaspora (AEISCID) has condemned strongly the reported assassination attempt on the life of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Ebonyi State, Prof. Benard Ifeanyi Odoh, describing the attack as ‘cowardly’.
Prof. Odoh’s convoy was attacked while returning from a campaign rally at Ezzaegu community, Ishielu local government area of the State when it was ambushed by an unmarked Sienna space bus stationed near the popular Rest House just before the Enugu/Abakaliki federal highway.
In the process, the governorship candidate lost his driver who was hit by bullets and the assailants also set ablaze the backup Toyota Hilux vehicle before making away with some valuables.
Reacting to the development through a statement signed by its President General, Amb. Pascal Oluchchukwu, Saturday in Abuja, the association urged the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, to order immediate probe on the assassination attempt on the life of a frontline governorship candidate.
The Ebonyi indigenes also demanded immediate redeployment of the State’s Commissioner of Police, Aliyu Garba, and also the disbandment of the State-owned security outfit, Ebubeagu.
According to AEISCID, Ebonyians and indeed Nigerians should hold governor Dave Umahi responsible for whatsoever happens to Professor Odoh or any other governorship candidate of the opposition political parties for that matter in Ebonyi State.
“We at AEISCID vehemently condemn this dastardly and cowardly attack as one now too many. We consequently invite the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba to order an immediate probe this attempt on the life of a frontline Governorship candidate like Odoh. This is about the seventh time we are reading about such unwarranted attacks on Professor Odoh and his teeming supporters just because they have chosen to remain of the APGA and not of Governor Umahi’s APC.
“We recall that his convoy was also fired at in Iboko, Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State on October 20th last year by the same Ebubeagu militia. On 24th December, the Party’s supporters were attacked by the same notorious Ebubeagu operatives at Ugwulangwu, Onicha Local Government Area of the State after a campaign visit to the area.
“To that end therefore, this group wants the IGP, Ebonyians and indeed Nigerians to hold Umahi responsible for whatsoever happens to Professor Odoh or any other candidate of the opposition political Parties for that matter.
“While we formally call on the IGP to quickly order an unbiased and uncompromised probe into the attack, we demand the immediate redeployment of the State’s Commissioner of Police, Aliyu Garba and also the disbandment of the rampaging Ebubeagu militia which has since become a personal vendetta tool in the hands of Governor Umahi against his perceived opponents. The IGP should immediately set up a special crack team to retrieve from the Ebubeagu militia, all weapons and armouries in their possession before they plunge the State into a full-scale war. They cannot be allowed to continue to work as oppressive tools in the hands of the incumbent government in Ebonyi,” the group said.
While commiserating with Prof. Odoh and his APGA family, the group warned the state government to desist from desperate politicking capable of plunging the state into anarchy.
“Democracy is and remains about the freedom of the people to make their choice of leaders according to instrumentality of the ballot. The will and choices of Ebonyi people must be respected and no candidate deserves to die or be killed just because he belongs to another political party.
“For if Elechi was that tolerant to have allowed an Umahi he never wanted to succeed him prevail, Umahi should know that Ebonyians are wiser than before and he and his puppet APC candidate, Nwifuru cannot, we repeat can never shoot their way to through the ballot. They should market their ideas, views and governance perspectives to Ebonyi electorates who should be at liberty to accept or reject them at the polls as we are certain they will,” it added.