From George Onyejiuwa,Owerri
The Peoples Democratic party ( PDP) in Imo state has allegedly accused governor Hope Uzodimma of being the sponsor of terror against his perceived political enemies in the state ahead of the 2023 general polls.
The party said that its candidates and stakeholders are being threatened and warned by unidentified persons to stop all forms of political activities or face unpleasant consequences.
This is just as the party has called on president Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency in the state if the current heightened state of killings in the state persist.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, in Owerri, Capital of Imo state , the State Chairman of the party ,Engr Charles Ugwu lamented that the security situation in the state under the three years APC administration of Governor Hope Uzodimma has degenerated and characterized by daily killings of innocent citizens of the state .
The statement read , “We draw your attention to the worsening insecurity in Imo State, and to the growing threat it represents to our Party’s preparations for and voters’ participation in the impending general elections.
“Over the past three years, there has been a steady degeneration of the security situation in the State characterized by kidnapping, arson, attacks and gruesome killing of innocent citizens. Imo people have been traumatized by this unending reign of terror, which has created widespread fear and anxiety in the State, threatening to paralyze social and economic activities.
“In response to the people’s concern for safety, and to complement the efforts of the regular Security Agencies, the Ebubeagu Vigilante Initiative was evolved. Unfortunately, rather than deploy the Outfit to address the security challenges in the State, it is being abused as an instrument of suppression and vengeance against perceived enemies of the State Government .”
Continuing ,”Unfortunately, it is in this environment of terror and public anxiety that INEC recently lifted the embargo on electioneering campaigns. Since the flag-off of our campaigns in December, 2022 our efforts to reach out to the electorate through open Rallies have suffered severe setbacks on account of the atmosphere of fear and anxiety that has enveloped the entire State.
Adding, “Our candidates for the elections, leaders and stakeholders of our Party are being warned and threatened by unidentified persons to stop all forms of political activities or face unpleasant consequences. This being a consequence of the Governor’s continued worry why members of the opposition are not being targeted by unknown gunmen. In furtherance of these threats, our campaign Rally in Ahiazu Mbaise on 14th January, 2023 was belatedly visited by gunmen, and would have ended in horrific tragedy, but for Providential intervention.
“While still in shock over the missed attack, news of the brutal and fatal attack on the country home of our House of Representatives Candidate for Ideato South/Ideato North Federal Constituency in Akokwa on 14th January 2023 by over 50 gunmen hit the airwaves. Ugochinyere Ikenga and indeed all PDP Candidates and Leaders be provided with police security in view of evidences of threats to their life.”
“The combined effect of all of these threats and attacks, is that the fear for personal safety they have created may disable political Parties from openly canvassing for votes, and also discourage voters from coming out to vote on election day which appears to be the aim of the purveyors of insecurity and their sponsors in the State.”
” Again, the tragic irony in all of this is that the State Government under Senator Hope Uzodinma, which has a primary responsibility to protect lives and property, is not only incapable of securing the State, but also appears complicit in the escalation of insecurity. Indeed, the APC Government of Imo State is widely perceived as a sponsor of terror against political opposition and perceived enemies.”
Our deep concern therefore, is that under the current state of terror and public anxiety for personal safety, it will be foolhardy to further undertake any form of voter mobilization and vote canvassing in Imo State.”
“We call on the National Security Adviser, the Inspector General of Police and the Director–General of the Department of State Security to review the entire security architecture and security personnel deployed to Imo State with a view to tackling the fostering insecurity in the state”.
The party has called for the immediate disbandment of Ebube Agu in Imo State, and the arrest of Mr Chinasa Nwaneri ,Aide to governor Hope Uzodimma following evidence of his threat tk Ugochineyere before the attack.