Enugu – Chief Barr Okey Ezea, the Labour Party Senator-Elect for Enugu North Senatorial District, has refuted allegations that his “Do or Die” comment was a call for violence and bloodshed in the forthcoming Governorship and House of Assembly election in Enugu State.
The business tycoon known to his teeming supporters as ‘Ideke’ also stated that his innocuous statement made with the intent of asking citizens of the state to protect their votes in order to forestall rigging was deliberately twisted “preparatory to an imminent violent attack”.
In a statement he personally issued in Enugu, Chief Ezea also apologised to all those who might have felt offended because of his comment which, he said, was twisted and given a wrong interpretation by those who wanted to score political points and paint him in bad light.
“However, for those who felt offended by the innocuous statement, which were intended to enhance free and fair election, please accept my unqualified apologies,” Chief Ezea said.
He explained that the statement was intended to make the people resist any form of intimidation and possible election fraud in the area.
The statement was entitled ” False Allegations Against Okey Ezea Preparatory To An Imminent Violent Attack: I Have Nothing Against My Nkanu Brothers And Friends”.
The statement read: “My attention has just been drawn to some surreptitiously scripted and trumped-up allegations of inciting violence between Nsukka and Nkanu people. Please I have no reason to attack the people of Nkanu as a race in the course of campaigning for my Labour Party Guber Candidate.
“Please listen to that video very well, it’s a 5minute video and not those doctored versions flying around to achieve political points.The emphasis was on free and fair elections, where in I urged the villagers to come out en mass and record higher Voter turnout. I also urged the youth to resist any attempts to use violence and intimidation on voters.
“Yes, people voted massively for Labour Party on 25th February and we’re well within our rights to plead with them to still support Labour Party in the next election. These supporters also include Nkanu voters which explains why Labour Party won 2 out of the 3 House of Reps seats in Enugu East Zone.
“I have been friends with Ndi Nkanu for many decades including school and classmates, first class traditional leaders, business leaders and political allies. I have supporters in Nkanu some of whom have been more trustworthy than even my Nsukka brothers. Even Nana Ogbodo, who issued a Statement in furtherance of the script remains my good friend and ally. Late Sam Mbah became my close pal since 1982. You can verify. So why should I incite Nkanu people against Ndi Nsukka?
“I didn’t, it’s not necessary at all. Some desperate politicians just got carried away by the bad press coming from Gburugburu media attack dogs. They have tried everything under the sun to bring me to disrepute but failed. They now resort to painting me in bad light before respectable citizens of Enugu State. After their defeat at the polls, they have resorted to blackmail?
“All the Guber Candidates in this coming election are from Enugu East Senatorial Zone and all of them who are from different parties, are my personal friends. If there is any heating of the polity, concerned citizens and leaders should hold GBURUGBURU responsible. He created the atmosphere, and this was avoidable. How many Aspirants picked PDP Guber ticket on his prompting?
For Senate, House of Representatives? and House of Assembly? Is this a sign of good Leadership? Was he not the person that asked Chijioke Edeoga to pick the ticket and even set up a committee to actualize it only to finally disappoint them less than 24hrs to the primary? Gburugburu told the people that he, (Gburugburu) bought his own ticket in 2015 from Sullivan for N6.7Billion and nobody gave him one kobo. Why deceive the people and thereby cause this rift between otherwise good brothers and friends?
“Just as our Leader Jim Nwobodo pointed out that Nsukka people have always been his good supporters and friends. Did Gburugburu properly think through his gambit?
“In the media attacks directed at me, I was allegedly taken to have said that election is going to be “a do or die battle” (Obasanjo 2007). No please!! I had rather urged the youth to resist violent intimidation and ensure a free and fair election and that after a free and fair process, we shall accept any outcome flowing from such a fair and free election but that we shall not accept irregularities. That was the point “do or die game” NOT “battle” was used.
“Even in those days of Rangers against IICC or Nigeria against Cameron football matches, Ernest Okonkwo (RIP) used such terms and never intended violence please. Am not a violent person, rather it had been Gburugburu and his PDP who violently attacked my village and polling Unit during the Gubernatorial election in 2015 and on November 2, 2017, during his sham Local Government Council Elections.
“From all indicators, it seems Gburugburu and PDP are up to something sinister against my personal life and safety. They rather want to give a dog a bad name in order to hang the poor dog!
The Enugu State public and Security Agencies are hereby put on notice that whatever happens to me should have been the handiwork of Gburugburu and his agents hiding under the cover of “inciting violence.”
“However, for those who felt offended by the innocuous statement, which were intended to enhance free and fair election, please accept my unqualified apologies. Thanks for your patience and understanding.”