ATTACKS ON APGA CAMPAIGN BILLBOARDS, OPPOSITION: Guber Candidate, Odoh Berates Umahi’s Show Of Cowardice
*Says Umahi’s desperation spurred by arch rival’s Senatorial Court victory
*Umahi mounting pressure on Founding fathers to endorse his candidacy
The Guber Candidate of the All
Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Professor Benard Ifeanyi Odoh has blasted the embattled Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Nweze Umahi over the recent nefarious activities of some miscreants in the State, suspected to be sponsored by the Governor.
The APGA Guber candidate who sternly warned the incumbent Governor and the sponsored youths to desist from the disgruntling act, advised that their attacks should rather be targeted at the repugnant issues in the state and not campaign materials nor individuals.
Reacting vehemently to the incessant misdeeds against opposition parties in ebonyi state by some perceived paid desperate political thugs, Prof. Odoh, described unequivocally, attacks on APGA campaign billboards as the “climax of Ebonyi government’s cowardice”.
Speaking amidst utter indignation, yesterday, Monday, August 22, during a press conference, in Abakiliki, the capital of Ebonyi State, Prof. Odoh decried the rising abnormalities in the state, as perpetrated by the APC led government.
The prospective Governor condemned in totality the shocking malevolent removal of billboards bearing his image and that of his Deputy, Dr. Nkata Chukwu which were situated at some strategic points in Abakaliki, as well as some other parts of the State, suspected to have been carried out on the eve of Sunday, August 21.
The SSG Emeritus bemoaned the glaring, hysterical intimidations, harassments and violence against opposition elements in the state, while also reprimanding the Governor for his usual nonchalant attitude towards such illicit activities.
“Series of events in the last couple of days in Ebonyi State have left sour tastes in the mouth of many Nigerians who have followed with daze, the limitless intimidations, harassments and attacks on opposition elements and as habitual, the denials cum reactions emanating from the government of Engr. David Nweze Umahi.
“Ebonyians woke up today, Monday, August 22, 2023 to discover that billboards belonging to the leading Governorship candidate in the 2023 general elections, Professor Benard Ifeanyi Odoh bearing his image and that of his Deputy, Dr. Nkata Chukwu in the Abakaliki capital city and some other parts of the State have been removed in the locations where they had been strategically placed.
Odoh, without mincing words, criticised Umahi’s Government’s antagonisms towards candidates who constitute threats to her desperate ploy to impose an unpopular candidate on the people of Ebonyi State.
Furthermore, he asserted that the recent Federal High Court judgment which recognized Umahi’s arch rival as the authentic flag-bearer of the Party for the Ebonyi South Senatorial ticket could evidently have increased the party’s tempo and overzealousness, as it were.
In his words: “We would sadly recall that the last couple of days have witnessed increased attacks on opposition elements even within the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and indeed, all those whom the State government considers ‘potential threats’ to their game of wits and desperate plot to foist an utterly ‘unpopular candidate’ on the people of Ebonyi State. Since the public pronouncement of the said ‘candidate’, many members of the old APC, including serving appointees have since developed cold feets; leaving the Party in a suspense and limbo as to those who may eventually fly the Party’s flags in the 2023 general elections.
“With the already divided old and new Ebonyi APC camps battling to arm-twist and undo one another, the recent Federal High Court judgment which recognized Umahi’s arch rival as the authentic flag-bearer of the Party for the Ebonyi South Senatorial ticket must have increased the tempo and desperation of the agents of the government to allegedly launch offensives on those they consider as opposition even within their own Party. Of course we are aware of the recent purported suspension/expulsion carried out in the most infantile manner all to pave way for Governor Umahi to fly the Party’s Ebonyi South Senatorial flag against extant provisions of the new Electoral Act and despite the fact that the matter is yet pending before an Appellate Court.
“Already, various national and international women groups have voiced out their irritation over the unjust intimidations, threats and harassments of the said female aspirant, Princess Ann Nwanyibuife Agom-Eze, her Umudomi Ward Chairman, John Nwigboji including supporters and members of their families vis-à-vis the savourless desperation of a sitting, two-term Governor Umahi to occupy Nigeria’s red chambers at all costs and by every means.
Adding, he said: “On the other hand, we were also reliably informed, as reported in various print, broadcast and Social media platforms that the State government had despairingly exerted excessive pressures on the Ebonyi Founding Fathers- a forum of respected Elderstatesmen and women who played indispensable roles in the creation of the State to issue a communiqué endorsing him the pronounced and preferred candidate of the divided APC as their choice candidate for the 2023 general elections.
“This, the loyalists of the State government allegedly led by Governor Umahi attempted to execute, hiding under an unknown ‘Charter of Equity’. The script was for the elders who the Governor had already counseled during a Courtesy visit on him to proclaim that power MUST shift to Ebonyi North and only candidates (the Governor’s preferred lackey) should be qualified to vie for the Governorship position.
“As the tempo built up, however, and the information saturated the media space, the founding fathers got sharply divided as wisdom eventually prevailed on the majority to maintain their grounds that everyone who is in the race for the number one position in the State are all their sons and they cannot, therefore, take a stand in favour of one against the other. As some insiders reliably informed, the elders reasoned that the State government cannot use them to change the goalpost in the middle of a football match. The dusts, though appear to have settled.
While bemoaning the activities of the state’s Security Outfit, Ebubeagu, which apparently leaves the people in the fear of the unknown, he reminded the Governor of the oath which he swore at the inception of his Government, hence to protect the millions of lives and property in the State.
However, he regretted that the reverse has been the case, recounting on the agonies of the people, as instigated by the activities of the outfit which has, according to him, thrown the people in a state melancholy.
“Just last weekend, the media was again awash with reports alleging an attack by men of the State’s Security outfit- Ebubeagu on Women’s August meeting which had been billed to take place at the People’s Club Abakaliki, a property owned by a private business individual. It was alleged that following sustained gunshots inside the said venue by the supposed security outfit, some of the women were injured as they were forced out of the venue. The real motive of the desperate Umahi government and his agents as alleged is widely known to the world; to perhaps cause and instill fears on peaceful and peace-loving Ebonyians so that the fear would deter them from campaigning and performing their civic responsibilities in the 2023 general elections.
“It ridicules our beloved Ebonyi State that August meetings which have since become an annual ceremony that attract guests from all over the world to the Igbo land and even beyond- a gathering that affords our mothers the privilege and opportunity to chart a way forward for communal progress is also reportedly considered a ‘threat’ to Umahi and his power hungry liveried servants. What a shameful act of abnormal cowardice for a man who has presided over the affairs of nearly four million Ebonyians in the past over seven years! Unfortunately, the power honey-comb which he had been licking and dealing ruthlessly with all segments and sectors of the Ebonyi fabric, perhaps thinking it won’t be exhausted must surely come to an end on May 29th, 2023 and the days of reckoning and human judgments shall begin immediately.
“Despite its much touted but already floundering achievements, particularly in the area of infrastructural developments, the fear of losing power have so much become of tremendous concern to Engr. Umahi and his numerous army of occupations that rather than canvass for the support of the electorates through the ballot by show-casing its so-called numerous achievements, it has rather resorted to attacks, intimidations and harassments of those they consider as ‘threats’. It is now so deplorably shameful that even the mere sight of a candidate’s campaign billboards frightens the Umahi government and its agents even while still wielding power.
“For us in the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, who are truly and ideologically progressives in the real sense of the word, we had since we set out for our consultations in June and even in our numerous media appearances maintained a very robust and healthy engagement with both the stakeholders of different political Parties and the Ebonyi electorates. Recall that when I paid a consultative visit to the APC Governorship candidate and Speaker of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ogbonna Nwifuru, I had informed the Press that part of the aim of my visit was for us to synergize to make the 2023 elections in Ebonyi issues-based and that there were no love lost between one politician and the other even though they belong to different political parties especially in an era where the Electoral Act has rendered thuggery and the use of violence almost irrelevant. This is simply because any attack (s) on any Polling Unit can only lead to cancellation of elections and results not returned in such areas.
“We have also visited several serving government appointees and leaders within and beyond the shores of the State all in our bid to tell Ebonyians what we are prepared to do from day one when we are eventually elected into power. It is on record that no other candidate (so-called), I repeat, NO CANDIDATE has reached out directly to the electorates with its campaign plans, manifestos and overall blueprint like we have done in the last couple of weeks or months. That is what democracy and the law entails and rightly provides for. I have consistently maintained before you (the esteemed members of the Press) that the only threat or challenger I face going into the Ebonyi 2023 Governorship election are the issues of hunger and multi-dimensional poverty facing us as a people and that I have a better economic blueprint including detailed plans for the critical sectors of health, education and agriculture which we believe will turn around the fortunes of our dear people very positively. It is audible to the deaf and visible to the blind that our people have been reduced to common hawkers and messengers across several cities of Nigeria.