Blood has started flowing in Ebonyi State ahead of 2023 general elections as Governor David Umahi is locked in a seeming desperate self-declared to deliver the Eastern Nigeria state to his new party, All Progressives Congress (APC).
Governor Umahi is said to be nursing a 2023 presidential ambition as his geo-political bloc is insisting that it is their turn to take charge of the number office in Nigeria. But, the political heavy weights who have been making things to happen in the state are yet to join him in APC. They are staying put in Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Apparently unsettled, the governor has been busy shaking some tables and in the process, rupturing the peace of the state. In the latest development in the state, no fewer than 40 people have been killed following moves to distort some electoral constituencies in the troubled state.
Sources say attempts to allegedly annex some electoral wards belonging to Ezza-Effium people of Ezza extraction to those of Effium indigenes of Korri extraction in the ongoing Enumeration Area Demarcation exercise by the National Population Commission (NPC) triggered the bloodletting.
Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora (AESID) is already praying security agencies to investigate Governor Umahi and the Chairman of Ohaukwu Local Government Area, Clement Odah, on communal clashes in Ezza that have allegedly claimed over 40 people.
President of the association, Paschal Oluchkwu, while condemning the mayhem, alleges that it was politically motivated. “NPC officials were ostensibly misguided by agents of Ohaukwu Council Chairman, Clement Odah, and other stakeholders of Effium indigenes of Korri extraction.
“Documented evidence made available to AESID showed that the peculiarities of Effium community where Effium people of Ezza Ezekuna extraction or Ezza-Effium people constituted about 80% of the entire population of the community warranted the demarcation of the five electoral wards in the community with family/kindred labels or names instead of the normal physical or geographical boundaries by the Government of old Anambra State through her Edict No. 4 of 1990”, theAESID chief said.
The group also says it is aware of the complaints raised by Ezza stakeholders in its petition to the NPC against the actions of EAD officials who were allegedly being misguided by the local government boss, said to be Governor Umahi’s loyalist.
Ezza stakeholders allegedly cautioned that acts of unlawfully annexing parts of the wards of Effium indigenes of Ezza-Ezekuna extraction including the homes of some notable politicians, renowned academics and other prominentnatives of Ezza-Effium to Effium people of Korri extraction was an open invitation to chaos.
“Yet, to the best of our knowledge, the said Odah and his agents including the government hadn’t acted fast to correct these unconscionable and inflammable annexations.
“Even the solemn prayers by the said Ezza stakeholders for a prompt and proper reversal of all parts of the wards of Effium indigenes of Ezza-Ezekuna extraction otherwise known as Ezza-Effium people unlawfully annexed to Effium indigenous people’s wards were paid deaf ears to bythe powers that be.
“We condemn this politically-motivated action meant not only to stir needless dusts but also to decimate the strengths of the most populous and peace-loving Ezza clan who has lived in peace with all its neighbours in the State be there in Ishiagu, Ukawu and Abaomege in Ebonyi South; Ezzaegu, Ogboji or Ezzillo communities in Ishielu LGA in the Central or in Effium in the north not until the last and present political dispensations.
“Whereas, we commend the new and ebullient State’s Commissioner of Police, Aliyu Garba for the prompt action of arresting all those who are suspected to have had a hand in the Effium carnage.
“We wish to request that the police should get to the root of this crisis by thoroughly investigating the Council Chairman, Barr. Odah and his co-travellers in lieu of the current facts that are already inpublic domain particularly to the effect that his people (Effium indigenes of korri extraction) had even planned and secured weapons for the attacks with his knowledge and consent.
“Such act is worrisomely unbecoming of a public office holder who holds the sway as the Chief Security Officer of the Local Government Area. To this extent therefore, we also heap the blames on the door-steps of Governor Umahi who has continued to encourage and support the said Barr. Odah to slap, maim, attack and humiliate stakeholders and anyone who does not agree with his views.
“None of the sad incidences of mayhems reported against the said Clement Odah and his marauding band of cult-boys have ever been investigated and sanctioned by the State government since his appointment as a Council boss in 2015 and subsequently his election and re-election into the sameoffice.
“Rather, the Umahi government does any and everything possible to always shield him from the arms of the law at each point in time.
“Also, the claims in certain quarters that the refusal of many Effium indigenes of Ezza-Ezekuna extraction to follow the said Barr. Odah and his principal, Engr. Umahi to their new new APC voyage may have also contributed to the devious plot to forcefully coerce people in opposition to politically belong to the fold by virtue of the misguided delineation should not be swept under the carpet.
“The security agencies should investigate this as a matter of urgency and bring all those responsible for this mayhem to book. Of course, this platform is aware of Umahi’s use of majority of the Local Government Chairmen in the State to stir crisis among stakeholders and community leaders with some of them acting almost above the laws of the land.
“We know he gives them backings to perpetrate mayhems and cause unrests in their communities and LGAs so they could be emboldened to attack his political foes or opponents particularly in periods of elections and electioneering campaigns.
“This particular incident, we suspect, is obviously part of Umahi’s 2023 political game-plan!
“Unlike in the pasts, we wish to state that the reported arrest of some of the stakeholders should not be the usual smokescreen that would often yield no result or bring any permanent solution”, AESID said.