Tension heightened in Ebonyi politics on Thursday as the PDP government clamped down on the APC and threatening its campaign rallies while also making activities of the party almost impossible.
It got worse as the campaign train of Senator Sonni Ogbuoji, the APC gubernatorial candidate, moved down to the Ebonyi South district, the senator’s own constituency.
On Wednesday, there was reported shooting at Isu, the headquarters of Onicha LGA just hours before the APC campaign got there. The reported shooting was according to natives by PDP members and supporters who they alleged were sent there by the chairman of the council to deliberately disrupt the APC rally and intimidate the members from their campaigns, a legitimate duty.
Even as the campaign team arrived, an APC member arrived the event with blood all over his face, a swollen left chin with a bleeding cut and swollen left leg too, in addition to injuries inflicted on him by people he said were PDP members. While he was interviewed, he narrated that the only offence he committed was wearing an APC muffler around his neck.
The man, Mr. Hyacinth Arisi whom the video clip of his assault went viral on Facebook is the APC publicity secretary of the Amanator Ward of Onicha LGA. While riding on his motorbike to the APC rally as the community expected Senator Ogbuoji, the gubernatorial candidate, he was waylaid by the people he said carried PDP flags and boasted as they beat him that he must be warned that the council doesn’t want any APC activities.
After his tale, the rally which lasted shorter than expected had to hurriedly end.
Most of all, another development is that the government of the state led by Governor Dave Umahi has issued a rule that no LGA should allow the APC use any public place, like school premises for its campaigns. Even the Onicha rally that was to hold at the school in Amanator, had to be moved to the roadside as the council had placed a public announcement in the state radio the previous day threatening to punish any school head that allowed school premises under his or her watch to be used by APC.
However, while this happens, the PDP uses such places for its campaigns.
On Thursday, the intolerance heightened as the campaign of APC moved to the Ohaozara LGA, the native place of Governor Umahi. After the campaign ground had been prepared at the Court Area of Okposi, a band of PDP thugs led by a notorious hit man of the government, a former local government chairman stormed the venue and demolished everything already set up.
A member of the APC in the council and a lawyer, Mr. Ken Odi narrated to us that the band numbered about 200 and overwhelmed the police. ‘They didn’t pretend about their mission or who they worked for as they boasted openly that the council belongs to the PDP and the governor and no other party has the right to campaign there.
After their rampage, the party members had to make alternative arrangement and move the venue of the rally to another location in the same town. It is also worth noting that the LGA is the home of Science and Technology Minister, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, a notable APC national chieftain.
However, the rally held under threat and fear with a turn out the Director General of the Sonni Ogbuoji Campaign Organization, Senator Anthony Agbo described as impressive and courageous.
In his address, he praised the courage of the members who still defied the violence and threat to their lives by the PDP government to attend the rally.
The state chairman of APC, Pastor Eze Nwachukwu Eze assured the members and supporters of the backing of the party to protect them and ensure that they cast their votes on election days without molestation.
On the same day, there was bedlam in Edda, the hometown of Senator Ogbuoji, as the people woke on Thursday morning to see that all campaign ;posters and billboards of Ogbuoji had been pulled down even in his village by PDP members who had mobilized at night to ensure every semblance of Ogbuoji and his candidacy were obliterated. The reason for the rampage was because Umahi was visiting Edda to campaign and his party members had a duty to make sure there was no sign of Ogbuoji’s political presence
It took the resistance of the youths of the village to stop the predators who later called for police intervention to make sure they continued their way.
Even after the police came to the scene, the people reported that the security operatives stared hurling tear gas canisters into the homes of APC supporters close to where they parked the armoured personnel carriers.
However, total breakdown of order was averted after Ogbuoji who had been prevailing on the youths of Edda to ensure peace, although away from his village, made calls to quell the crisis from escalating. e