Abuja, NIGERIA — Ahead of the March 11 governorship and House of Assembly elections, former governor of old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo, has condemned the war drums the senator-elect of Enugu North senatorial district, Mr Okey Ezea, is reportedly beating.
Nwobodo warned that Ezea’s inciting statement was capable of causing bloodshed during the election.
This was even as the Campaign Council of the Enugu State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party called for Ezea’s arrest over the alleged inflammatory statement.
Addressing journalists at his Amechi Awkunanaw country home, on Thursday, on the trending video where Ezea was seen telling the people of Enugu North at his Itchi residence to see the forthcoming governorship election as “a do-or-die game” for Enugu North Senatorial District.
He said: “I invited you this morning to inform you of the looming danger that Chief Okey Ezea, Ideke’s very inciting speech portends for the forthcoming governorship election of March 11.
“I watched a video where Ideke, the Senator-elect for Enugu North Senatorial Zone, was saying that the governorship election would be a do-or die battle.
“I was shocked that somebody, who has just been elected to represent his people at the National Assembly could make such an inciting statement while addressing a gathering of his people. He was inciting the good people of Nsukka against the people of Nkanu, literally drumming up war on the day of the next election.
“First, I want to plead with the peace-loving people of Nkanu not to react violently to the unprovoked statement made by Ideke. The people of Nsukka are our brothers and sisters and not our enemies. As a governor of Old Anambra State, I had a very good relationship with Nsukka, and they were my great supporters.
“Peter Mbah is seeking to be governor of Enugu State, made up of Enugu North, Enugu West, and Enugu East, and not the governor of Nkanu. I repeat, Peter is contesting to be Governor of Enugu State from Nkanu, and not Governor of Nkanu.
“I strongly believe that statement from Ideke does not represent the view of the good people of Nsukka that I know.”
Meanwhile, in a statement by its Director of Communications and Spokesman, Nana Ogbodo, the Enugu State PDP Campaign Council maintained that the Ezea’s statement was a breach of the accord for peaceful election signed by all the political parties and candidates.
The party called on security agencies to take resolute action against what it described as “awful incitement and prelude to bloodbath”.
“We viewed with shock the trending video on the internet and social media platforms where the senator-elect for Enugu North Senatorial District, Chief Okey Ezea, urged the people of Enugu North Senatorial District to view the forthcoming governorship election as one which Nsukka people must win by all means, even at the cost of human lives.
“Under no compulsion, Ezea stated, among others: ‘The March 11th election is a straight fight between Nsukka and Nkanu to know who is bigger than the other because Nkanu people want to turn us, the majority, to minority. So, you must prepare very well. You must make sure the directive goes round. This is about Nsukka. Young men, please, you must prepare yourselves very well. We are going into a war on March 11th and it is a do or die game. Nobody can come from outside to use Nkanu votes to intimidate us here’.
“This is hate speech and a most unfortunate development in a state where Ndi Enugu have coexisted as one family. It is a clear incitement to electoral violence and a prelude to needless bloodbath.”
The PDP Campaign Council however urged the people of Nsukka zone not to succumb to the threats by Ezea and come out en masse to vote for the candidates of the PDP in the March 11 elections as they had done in the past.
But when contacted on telephone for clarification, Ezea said that he never called for war in the forthcoming elections rather it is the ruling opposition that have visited our members (Labour Party) with violence and death.
He said, “What I meant in my video is that Nsukka people are not going to fold their hands to watch some Nkanu people treat Isi Uzo people like a slave/outcast by denying them their rights of being part of Enugu East Senatorial District as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“In the said video which I made, I maintained that Nsukka is majority in Enugu state and the people of Nkanu are treating us like minority stock in Enugu State. I told my people that we have to correct that notion by using our votes as majority in the forthcoming governorship election to vote for Hon. Chijioke Edeoga of the Labour Party so as to stop the humiliation being unleashed on Isi-Uzo people who are constitutionally part of Enugu East Senatorial District.”
Senators Jim Nwobodo and Chimaroke Nnamani have both been governors from Nkanu stock and they still don’t believe that other stocks in Enugu East Senatorial District like Isi-Uzo, Ngwo, Ogui and Nike should be giving opportunity to govern the state.
“Remember that the people of Nkanu recently called a meeting where they asked their people to vote for Frank Nweke Jr of All Progressives Grand Alliance in the event of a disqualification of Peter Mba of the PDP. They warned their people not to vote for Chijioke Edeoga of the Labour Party because he is from Nsukka forgetting that he is constitutionally from Enugu East Senatorial District and has the right to contest the Governorship seat from that zone.
“In the video, I also said that free and fair election in the March 11, Governorship/ House of Assembly Election is a do or die affairs. If you win my party in a free contest, I will congratulate you but if you rig to win, I will do everything within the law to stop you,” he said