Enugu: The Ikeoha Campaign Organisation, has raised an alarm over alleged resurgence of political thuggery in Enugu State in the build up to the 2023 General Elections.

The Campaign organisation of Senator Ike Ekweremadu, CFR, PhD, former Deputy Senate President disclosed this while addressing a press conference on Friday, in Enugu.

At the press conference addressed by its Director-General, Hon. Engr Charles Ogbo Asogwa, and the Director of Manifesto Propagation, Dr. Austin Okolie, the campaign organisation also condemned what it described as the targeting of Ekweremadu’s supporters and associates and the cases of thuggery that allegedly marred the April 30 Ward Congress in parts of the State.

It noted that “the thuggery and attacks on party members, who trooped out to exercise their democratic rights could have been averted if the state party leadership and the panel dispatched by the PDP national leadership to oversee the process ensured transparency and due compliance with the PDP Constitution and Guideline”.

“Had everyone interested in serving as a delegate and their sponsors and supporters been instructed to go to the field; had the result sheets been made available at the 260 Wards for transparent recording and signing of the results, there would probably not have been any need to try to assault, harass, and intimidate law-abiding party faithful who filed out to the designated venues to do the right thing.

“But because they were not prepared for any congress; because they confiscated the result sheets, such that not a single result sheet could be found in any of the 260 Wards of Enugu State; because they were more interested in submitting a prepared list, they attacked our supporters, who came out in their numbers to do the right in line with the Constitution and Guideline of the PDP.

“However, it is noteworthy that despite the attempts to stop the people in some places, the party faithful still went ahead to exercise their democratic” the organisation added.

Citing and projecting pictures and footages of alleged incidences of attacks on its supporters, Asogwa, said: “Recall that on 16th March 2022, we called your attention to the rising culture of political intolerance, highhandedness, and intimidation in our dear State.

“Recall also that not long after we raised the alarm, our supporters and associates were savagely attacked at the 9th April 2022 monthly meeting of the Aninri Local Government Area Chapter of the PDP.

“As you could see from footages and pictures, the vicious attack orchestrated by the Council Chairman, Benedict Ajah and others, left many, including the Member representing Aninri State Constituency, Hon. Chinedu Okwu, seriously injured and hospitalized.

“Please note very well that as you could also see and hear from one of the footages, the attackers boasted that they were sponsored by the State and Local Government.

“Although we reported this matter to the Governor and security agencies, the trend took yet another dangerous dimension during the 30th April 2022.

“At Oduma Ward 4, the Deputy Ward Chairman, Mr. Boniface Egwu (aka Egwueji) led scores of political bandits, operating on motorbikes, to attack and disrupt the congress at Community Primary School, Ohafia Oduma, Aninri LGA. They descended on him with dangerous weapons, shooting sporadically and pulling down the canopies, chairs, and causing stampede in the process.

“They hit Ejikeme mercilessly with iron poles, while Mr. Egwu gave him a machete cut on the head. The footages showing on the screen tell part of the story.

“As you could see from the third set of footages, some thugs scaled the fence of the country home of the Director-General of the Ikeoha Campaign Organisation, Hon. Charles Ogbo Asogwa, at Ede Oballa, Nsukka LGA in an attempt to attack him on the same Saturday, April 30 2022.

“Furthermore, the Council Chairman of Awgu LGA, Pedro Nwankwo, led thugs and cultists to attack and disrupt an otherwise smooth process at Awgu Ward 2, which is also his Ward. Party faithful, including the Chairman of the PDP in Awgu LGA, Mr. Okey Udeh, were manhandled and their phones confiscated.

“At Ugbaike, Enugu Ezike, Igboeze North LGA and an Ekweremadu supporter, Mr. Bertrand Ugwu, was thoroughly assaulted by the personnel of the Enugu State Forest Guard/Neighbourhood Watch at the instance of the Council Chairman of Igboeze North and a former Commissioner/House of Representatives aspirant, who watched as dangerous weapons, including machetes and broken bottles were used on Mr. Ugwu.

“We are also sure that most of you must have seen this trending video from Agba Umanna Ward, Ezeagu LGA, where a House of Assembly aspirant, Barr. Destiny Chukwudi Nnagbo, is freely wielding a pump action riffle at the venue of the Ward Congress”.

On the way forward, the organisation called on the security agencies to “fish out and prosecute all perpetrators of violence in Enugu State”.

“We persuade the authorities to take the necessary and decisive steps to arrest this growing culture of political violence, cultism, and banditry to ensure a peaceful primary and 2023 general election in Enugu State.

“Importantly, we join our principal, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, a man, whose role in the post-2015 survival of the PDP can be rightly described as pivotal, in calling on the leadership of our party to provide a level playing ground for all, for only a free, fair, transparent, and credible process can guarantee that the PDP will come out of the 2023 general election stronger and more viral”, the campaign organisation concluded.

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