Ebonyi people in the Diaspora have condemned the attack of Prof. Benard Ifeanyi Odoh, the APGA governorship candidate in Ebonyi State during one of his campaign consultations at Iboko in Izzi LGA of the state.
The gunmen, alleged to be men of the Ebubeagu security outfit, attacked the APGA governorship candidate on the heels of the abduction and arrest of a former federal legislator and Ebonyi South senatorial candidate of Labour Party (LP), Hon. Linus Okorie.
The group frowned at the attack in a statement signed by Dr Daniel Nwibo (UK), Dr Martin Itumo (UK), Mr Joshua Ekoyo (Canada), and Tony .C. Amadi (Japan), Mirabel Nwibo (Japan) and made available to newsmen in Abakaliki.
The group also condemned the state-wide ban on public gatherings. According to them, the action is indirectly against opposition parties’ campaigns even at a time when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has lifted the ban on electoral campaigns.
They, however, demanded the intervention of all, and sundry before such divisive tendencies incubate and blossom into an untold conflagration that might not be able to be controlled.
“We also note that the APGA campaign attack was allegedly led by Izzi Development Centre coordinator, Paschal Obiya, who had on assumption of office announced through his social media handles that opposition (Non-APC) political parties in Ebonyi State are no longer allowed to campaign, either in form of posters, billboards or meeting.
“As Ebonyians in different parts of the world where true democracy is practised, we view this as a deliberate attempt to stifle our democracy. More instinctively, it is a calculated attempt to stifle the opposition, circumvent the democratic rights of the people, heat up the polity and frustrate the peaceful conduct of the 2023 general elections in Ebonyi State.
“We equally charge those viewing the attack on Prof. Odoh and his team from clannish perspectives to desist henceforth. As brothers in the same family of Ebonyi, we emphasize that no tribe or clan is superior to the other in Ebonyi State. Hence, we must work in unity and love. We commiserate with our brethren in Iboko Izzi that sustained varying degrees of injuries, or lost their properties to the attack. More so, we commend all Ebonyians for their equanimity, even as we view these unwarranted provocations as part of efforts of a failed few to derail our march towards prosperity.”
Furthermore, the group urged the state government to ensure that all contending factions of the polity are given due freedom to operate, insisting that every Ebonyi son or daughter has the legitimate right to campaign in any part of the state without any intimidation, or fear.
“On this ground, we state unequivocally that only Ebonyians and God can determine who leads Ebonyi from May 29, 2023. Imposition of candidate(s), or use of state apparatus to hound perceived oppositions are by this missive, discouraged and derided.
“We kindly request that Ebonyi state government, led by Governor Dave Umahi, would do all that is legally required within the ambits of our laws to ensure that Hon. Linus Okorie, previously mentioned, gets a fair trial, or is acquitted as legally required. This should be done urgently as justice delayed is justice denied.
The group also called on Inspector General of Police Usman Alkali Baba, Ebonyi state government to swiftly review the actions of police and Ebubeagu outfits with the aim of ensuring a more people-centred security even as the election approaches.
“Ebonyians in Diaspora, hereby, charge security agencies in Ebonyi State and Ebonyi State Government under the leadership of His Excellency, David Umahi, to brace up to their responsibilities of securing the lives, properties, and democratic rights of all Ebonyi people; and to ensure a hitch-free 2023 general elections where Ebonyi people are allowed to freely choose the leaders they want from the impressive array of Ebonyians offering themselves for service to Ebonyi people in various leadership capacities via the 2023 general elections.