Many people were injured and property destroyed as supporters of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) clashed in Ebunwana, Edda in Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State on Thursday.
Among those injured was the former Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mrs Dorothy Obasi. The ex-lawmaker who serves the governor of the state, Chief David Umahi as Special Adviser on House of Assembly Matters, it was gathered, was being driven in her car, when thugs attacked her.
Ebunwana is the hometown of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the state, Senator Sonni Ogbuoji, who is currently representing Ebonyi South senatorial zone in the National Assembly.
Briefing newsmen in Abakaliki, the state capital, the Divine Mandate Elders Council, a branch of the Divine Mandate Campaign Organisation, alleged that the governorship candidate of APC, Senator Sonni Ogbuoji, and other chieftains of the party instigated the crisis.
The Director General of the campaign organisation, Fidelis Nwankwo, accused the APC of instigating violence in the state. He also alleged that the supporters of the party were behind the destruction of the campaign billboards of the PDP across the state.
Nwankwo said: “Just yesterday, Thursday the 7th of February, 2019, as a procession of the Divine Mandate Campaign Organisation headed for Edda for its local government rally, a bunch of APC thugs were mobilised and violently set upon the PDP procession which was lawfully going about it business.
“Law abiding citizens were molested, beaten, and harassed by these mindless street urchins. Wanton destruction was also inflicted on vehicles and property of PDP faithful whose only crime was to express their freedom of association and political affiliation,” he added.
The elders also accused the security agencies especially the police in the state of colluding with the APC to inflict pain on the supporters of their party. He alleged that such matters when they were reported to the police, were treated with kid gloves.
Reacting to the allegations, Ogbuoji dismissed the PDP chieftains as liars with dead conscience. The lawmaker who spoke through the Director of Media and Publicity of his campaign organization, Ikenna Emewu, accused the state governor, Chief David Umahi, of sending his supporters after the APC faithful.
Emewu said: “The reason they said that was because they were not born with conscience. I can now understand why this state is marooned under their government because they have no conscience.
“There was an issue in Edda yesterday, Ebunwana precisely, the village of Ogbuoji; the people of Ebunwana woke up and saw that one coordinator from Igbara, a nearby village to Ebunwana had mobilised their touts to remove every sign of Ogbuoji’s campaign because Umahi was coming to Ebunwana.
“There is another person from Edda, a female commissioner who joined in enforcing that everywhere they removed Ogbuoji’s poster or billboard they replaced it with that of Umahi.
“For the records, Ogbuoji was not in Ebunwana yesterday morning (Thursday) when this incident happened. So, the youths woke up and saw this; not only that every sign of Ogbuoji’s campaign was removed, they saw these people led by one coordinator and a woman trying to replace everywhere they removed Ogbuoji’s posters and billboards with those of Umahi. The youths in unism resisted them,” he narrated.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, ASP Loveth Odah, confirmed the incident but said that two suspects had been arrested. She said that trouble started when the supporters of the two political parties confronted themselves over the destruction of billboards belonging to the two parties which were destroyed.