The former Minority Whip of the Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Samson Osagie, has warned the National Chairman and members of the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), to pay proper attention to the happenings in Edo State chapter of the party, lest it destroy itself before the September 10 governorship election in the state.
Osagie sounded the warning on Sunday while briefing journalists in Benin over an assassination attempt on the life of the State Deputy Governor, Dr. Pius Odubu on Saturday, April 30, 2016, at the APC Secretariat at Auchi.
According to the former lawmaner who is the Director of Strategy, Research and Planning of the Odubu Campaign Organisation, following the Deputy Governor’s declaration of his intention to contest for the APC governorship ticket for the September 10 Edo State gubernatorial election, he scheduled to meet the party delegates of Etsako East, at Agenebode, Etsako Central at Fugar and Etsako West local government area at Auchi.
“Edo State being the only state in the South-South Geopolitical zone being controlled by the party must be jealously protected in order for the party to retain its foothold in the zone. No doubt, events happening in the party in the last few months as we progress towards the next governorship election must bother the mind of every right thinking person,” he said.
Osagie said on the way to three local governments an unmarked vehicle broke into the Deputy Governor’s convoy, causing the convoy to stop for a while, adding that the team later informed that instructions have been passed on to the delegates not to receive the Deputy Governor’s campaign team in any of the local government areas , even as he alleged that money was disbursed for the purpose.
He stated that delegates from Etsako East with exception of the Party Chairman and a few others defied the instruction and pledged their support for the Deputy Governor at meeting in Agenebode.
“The case was different in Etsako Central LGA, Fugar, where an executive director to the Governor, dispersed the delegates from the House of the party Chairman, from waiting for the Deputy Governor’s team, but some later regrouped at the secretariat to meet with the Deputy Governor and his campaign team.
“Surprisingly, at Auchi, the Deputy Governor and his team met with passionate and patriotic huge number of delegates but no sooner had the meeting began, when gunmen opened fire outside the secretariat on both security men and members of the Deputy Governor’s entourage and delegates. It was such a shocking and gory sight to behold. The Deputy Governor had to be shielded inside the hall to eschew direct bullet contact”, Osagie said.
He said the gunmen who were armed to the teeth, shot sporadically and injured eight persons, including Patrick Amakri, an SSS official attached to the Deputy Governor; Inspector Agge Felix, Escort Police Commander attached to the Deputy Governor; Zibiri Yakubu, a driver and Ogbeso Nice (Miss), a delegate.
Others are Inu Umoru, a delegate from Auchi, Osabuohien Igiebor, Matthew Ajayi, a musician and another person who identity was not immediately known.
“As we speak, six of them are currently at UBTH receiving treatment while the other two are still convalescing at a hospital in Auchi. We thank God that our Deputy Governor was not hit by bullets as it is obvious that the attack was orchestrated directly at his person and geared towards disrupting the aims of the campaign.
”For us in the Odubu Campaign Organisation, we believe that this act of cowardice being perpetrated by those who dread a free, fair and credible democratic contest is another attempt to intimidate, harass and put pressure on the Deputy Governor to quit the Governorship race or be eliminated. We need to be emphatic that as an ardent and firm believer in the tenets of democracy, Dr. Pius Odubu will continue to market himself to the delegates of the APC with a view to getting them to nominate him as the flag-bearer of the party,” Osagie said.
According to him, the assassination attempt was only a high point of events targeted at no one but the Deputy Governor and his governorship ambition, disclosing that there had been a spate of illegal suspension of party officers supportive of his ambition and almost daily removal of political appointees from office who dare to associate with his ambition.
“This to us is the height of naked display of cruelty, animosity, acrimony, intolerance, gross irresponsibility and man’s inhumanity to man. Let us remind us that in a democracy it is only the people that have right to choose their leaders. And for those who seek to spill blood, on account of a mere party nomination exercise the God of justice shall bring judgment upon them,” he further said.
According to Osagie, three principal suspects who masterminded the attack have been identified and urged the security agencies to arrest them and their-masters and prosecute them for the felonious act.
Meanwhile, Edo State Publicity Secretary of APC, Comrade Godwin Erhahon, has on behalf of the party sympathised with those injured at the Auchi attack.
“What happened yesterday was absolute madness. Let us pray for those who carrie out the attack, we are all appealing to everybody to help us pray for these people who have gone mad, they need our prayers. I am appealing to all supporters of APC to be calm,” he said.
Erhahon stated that there was no need for aspirants to attack themselves, as anyone who wins the party primaries would require the support of others to win the governorship election.
Also reacting to the incident, Edo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Ezike, vowed that the perpetrators must be fished out.
Ezike told journalists in Benin on Sunday that he has given the marching order that the attackers of the State Deputy Governor, Odubu, must be fished out.
“2016 is a peaceful year and it is all our prayers that it should bring peace to the people of Edo State and that is without prejudice to the incident of yesterday.
“I heard that the incident of yesterday was clearly avoidable and it should not have happened. It has no business happening. And for the perpetrators I have given the marching order that they must be fished out. Very luckily a few names have been mentioned and they are not ghosts. So the command is after them.
“It happened during the day and I am sure people were seen and we are reconstructing. After an incident is like you break down, you begin to reconstruct to put it together. Let me say we are going to get to the bottom of it”, he said.
The Edo police boss stated that the State Police Command was working had to mop illegal arms in hands to criminals to reduce crime rate in the state.
“Let me also say that power belongs to God and for all those who are aspiring to power they should do that having in mind the best practices in the world. Make your campaigns, there is freedom both in speech, in movement and in all and let us please have a recourse to the law at all time.
“For now I don’t know which direction is right in the alleged pointing of fingers but I have said that names have been mentioned and I have given a marching orders that those persons should be arrested,” Ezike said