By Johnny Okafor, Awka
The Atiku-Okowa Presidential Campaign Committee in Anambra State has again condemned violent attacks on its supporters and loyalists of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Anaocha Local Government Area of the state by persons alleged to be thugs loyal to the Labour Party (LP).
Members of the PDP and supporters of Atiku-Okowa in Anaocha LGA have been subjected to a litany of attacks and molestations by political thugs suspected to be working for the Labour Party with the aim to intimidate voters and deny them the opportunity of exercising their civic duties on during the presidential election on February 25.
In a statement made available to journalists Thursday, the Atiku-Okowa Campaign Committee said “The most recent attack occurred on February 12, 2023, at the Agulu country home of PDP Local Government Chairman for Anaocha, Chief Ambrose Afoekelu. There, a group of armed thugs believed to be former members of the deadly terror group “Mpiawa Azu”, who controlled the state alongside devoted thugs who worked for Mr. Peter Obi while he was Governor of Anambra State from 2006 to 2014 broke into the private home and the location of the PDP Agulu Ward meeting at Odida Ama village, Agulu and immediately descended on, and inflicted bodily harm on the Chairman, Chief Afoekelu. Other party faithful present were also dispossessed of their phones and other personal effects.”
According to the statement signed by Uloka Chukwubuike, Deputy Director of Media and Publicity in the Atiku-Okowa Campaign Committee in Anambra State, “the attacks are a direct affront on PDP’s commitment to peace, as well as violate the Peace Accord that all presidential candidates signed.”
The Atiku-Okowa campaign committee said “it is regrettable that the Labour Party in Anambra State and their candidates have targeted our members and supporters with a variety of politically driven attacks over the past few weeks, mainly in the Agulu and Anaocha Areas, where Peter Obi is from.
“The mindless and ill-motivated attacks are clear indications of the LP presidential candidate’s frustration over his impending defeat in his supposed stronghold and hometown to the PDP in the upcoming elections. We, therefore, call on security operatives to note that LP thugs often disguise their attacks on our party supporters by blaming them on unknown gunmen and IPOB.
“Reliable intelligence available to us indicates that the LP in Anambra State has recruited all former “Mpiawa Azu” gang members and are also recruiting vulnerable young people to cause unrest and tension in the state as well as attack PDP candidates and their supporters in Anaocha Areas and across Anambra State so they cannot freely campaign.
“We want to caution against taking PDP and its candidate’s political maturity for granted or seeing it as a sign of weakness. However, we are committed to adherence to the Peace Accord and would like to invite the LP leadership to commit to the same.
“The Labour Party must maintain its commitment to peace and abide by the 1999 constitution and other extant laws of the land that prohibit electoral violence, intimidation, and denial of the right to vote.
“In light of the fact that Peter Obi and his Labour Party have continued to campaign in areas and states controlled by the PDP without harassment or intimidation, it is, therefore, inappropriate for LP thugs to continue to harass and abuse free citizens in Anaocha Areas and throughout Anambra State.
“We call on security agents to act appropriately and apprehend all involved to prevent a possible degeneration of the situation and a total breakdown in law and order in the state. We place a high priority on the safety and security of our supporters and candidates, and we will not stand by and watch as they suffer at the hands of potential losers.”