APC, PDP trade words over rampaging unknown gunmen in Imo

By Athan Agbakwuru

The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Imo State and the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are currently locked in a war of words and trading blames over the Sunday attack on the state headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Owerri.

While both parties unequivocally condemned the attack on the facilities of the electoral umpire in the state, both however pointed accusing fingers and apportioned blame on each other.

The Imo APC in a statement issued by its state Publicity Secretary, Cajetan Duke blamed the attack in Owerri on hoodlums suspected to be “agents of the enemies of the state, who have sworn to make our dear peaceful state ungovernable.”

Duke announced that a similar incident occurred last Saturday at Afara Community in Mbaitoli LGA of the state where a prominent leader of the ruling party in the state was attacked and killed stressing that the killing of the Crown Prince was “another pointer to the mindset of the bandits and their sponsors.”

He said, “In a viral video of the incident, the assailants were seen declaring APC as their main target while setting the vehicle of the victim ablaze. No wonder, therefore, no other political party in Imo but APC has lost more than 50 officers and several others injured in this sponsored political assault.

“The All Progressives Congress, APC, Imo State chapter, condemns in its entirety the mindless, unconscionable and despicable attacks on sensitive government facilities and institutions and killing of members of the party.

“The renewed unprovoked attacks on INEC facilities and APC members have exposed further the real intention and mission of those behind this unpardonable and atrocious adventure.”

Reacting to an earlier statement issued by the opposition PDP through its state Publicity Secretary, Collins Opuruzor, the APC spokesman decried what he termed the opposition’s penchant for demonstrating sympathy and support for the bandits rather than condemning their atrocities.

His words, “It is however regrettable that in the face of these atrocities, the opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, has continued to demonstrate its sympathy and solidarity with the assailants. While patriotic imolites and Nigerians are full of commendation for the governor, His Excellency, Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodimma and the security agencies in the state, the opposition PDP went to town with a sloppy prose-called press release to attack the personality of the governor.

“We had expected Imo PDP, at least for once, to commend if not Governor Hope Uzodimma, the security agencies for their prompt and effective response to the unwarranted attack on Imo INEC headquarters.

“Strangely, the opposition PDP, in its display of gross insensitivity and irresponsibility, is still dragging the January 15, 2020 landmark judgement of the Supreme Court that brought the Emeka Ihedioha’s illegal and fraudulent occupation of Douglas house to a deserving end and linking it to insecurity in the state.

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“Contrary to the position of Imo PDP, every discerning Imo citizen is aware that what is happening in the State today is a direct frustration of the PDP over January 15, 2020, Supreme court judgement. We know that and it has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that some frustrated political actors in PDP, have found cover in the needless, rudderless, uncoordinated and unguided Biafra agitation to mastermind contemptible crime in the bid to undermine the credibility of the APC-led administration in the state.

“While it is on record that Imo PDP had never condemned the activities of non-state actors in the face of these mind-boggling incidents of insecurity, they have unfortunately become advocates of the ‘Unknown gunmen,’ always ready to disparage and reprove the security agencies and state government.

“It is laughable that the same PDP that has accused Governor Uzodimma of militarization of the state in his effort to stamp out criminal elements in Imo will turn around to indict the same man of failure to discharge his primary responsibility of securing lives and properties of citizens. What a way to be shameless!

“It is no longer fashionable to challenge the governor to mention those behind the ongoing carnage in the state as it is now an open secret!

“The people know their enemies! Indeed, it is not a magic or miracle that the opposition PDP has not lost a member to insecurity and banditry! They know the assailants and the assailants know them.

“Imo APC, therefore, implored all relevant security agencies in the state to make haste in exposing those behind the spate of insecurity and banditry in Imo State and serial attacks on members of our party.

“It cannot be mere coincidence, that only members of our party are always victims of insecurity. We refuse to accept this vicious cycle! It is unacceptable and unbearable,” Duke added

The PDP in its reaction to the Sunday incident described Governor Uzodimma’s Stance on the INEC Office attack as “Irresponsible, Shameful,” and called on security agencies to probe the incident with a view to establishing links between Omuma Magic cyber attack and the latest physical attack.

Opuruzor who posited that “Those Who Want BVAS Scrapped Have Questions To Answer,” disclosed that the PDP in Imo State had reviewed the statement made by the Governor of the State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, in the aftermath of Sunday night’s attack on INEC Office in Owerri whereby he said that the “attack was politically contrived by those who are desperate to win elections by all means.”

The PDP spokesman who described the governor’s claim as jaundiced and false excuse maintained that Governor Uzodimma has once again betrayed his failure to keep Imo people safe stressing that he can no longer defend his inability to deliver on the primary expectation of political governance, which is the security of lives and property.

“From the first week of January this year to the second week of December, Senator Uzodinma has continued to tell Imo people that his enemies are behind the carnage and ravages going on in the State. He has failed to name who are the enemies. He has also failed to bring them to book. Instead, he repeats the same thing day after day with the intention of hiding his failures and getting sympathizers.

“Imo PDP regrets that, in view of Senator Uzodinma’s lack of sincerity and genuine commitment to addressing the festering insecurity in the State, the valleys of Orsu, the forests of Orlu and the rocky hills of Okigwe have now become safe havens for terrorists, bandits and kidnappers who now make life a misery for Imo people.

“Our Party holds that the insecurity in Imo is simply and squarely a direct consequence of the catastrophic failure of governance in the State under the unpopular regime of Senator Uzodinma.

“Our Party deems it very important to remind Imo people and Nigerians that, before this latest attack on INEC Office in the State, there had been some other desperate efforts by those who came to power through the back door to undermine the capacity of INEC to conduct free, fair and credible elections in the State.

“First, INEC came under a very brutal legal attack through a secret court action instituted in the State by those same usurpers. They had sought to stop the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), a technology they feared would frustrate their plot to manipulate the forthcoming elections.

“Second, INEC database was attacked and the voter register massively compromised, particularly for Omuma Ward, where tens of thousands of fake, alien and non-existent names and photographs were smuggled into the register. That is what Nigerians now refer to as the Omuma Magic!

“It is telling, not just that Omuma is the hometown of Senator Hope Uzodinma, but also that the regime in Imo quickly arrested and arbitrarily detained the INEC officials who were accused of bringing to public knowledge the monumental voter registration fraud in Omuma.

“Our Party, therefore, continues to condemn these legal, cyber and physical attacks on INEC and asks security agencies to probe beneath the surface to establish possible links which the secret court action against INEC and earlier attack on INEC voter register might have with the recent attack on INEC Office in Owerri. Those found guilty of one cannot file a disclaimer over the others.

“Our Party enjoins Imo people to turn out en mass on Saturday, December 17th, to receive our Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who will be in Imo for the Flagoff of our Presidential campaign. So far as God is on the throne, the enemies of democracy who want the 2023 general elections not to hold in Imo State will definitely come to grief, and the wishes of Imo people will prevail.

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