BY JUDE ODO
Violence enveloped the just concluded local council elections in Enugu State with an All Progressives Congress(APC) chieftain and former gubernatorial candidate in the state, Barr. Okey Ezea, beating up two electoral officers at different times during the election, following ensued altercations. Subsequently, he was beaten blue and black by some angry youths with his pairs of teeth missing from his mouth. The violence was orchestrated by some opposition parties in the state to stop the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from sweeping all the chairmanship and counsellorship positions in the state.
While PDP made a sweeping victory in the polls, the APC has kicked against the result of the local government elections describing it as a monumental fraud, and flagrant violation of electoral laws.
The Chairman of Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC), Mike Ajogwu who announced the result explained that despite the early hitches encountered during the elections, the exercise was successful.
He pointed out that the Commission had initial problem in the movement of electoral materials to some polling units in the state as a result of security personal not turning up on time to accompany the materials, some of which were highly sensitive.
MMS plus gathered that almost all the local governments in Enugu State witnessed one kind of violence or another.
In Igbo-Etiti Local Government Area, as early as 8.30am some members of All Progressive Congress (APC), had gathered at Igbo-Etiti Police Station.
Immediate, the local government Electoral Officer (EO) arrived the police station, the APC members led by Hon. Eugene Odo demanded to see result sheets.
The Electoral Officer in charge of Igbo-Etiti told them that they were still waiting for some sensitive materials from ENSIEC headquarters, Enugu.
That led to some arguments, and APC told everybody present that the vehicle which brought some of the material would not leave the Police Station. Immediately, members of the APC went on rampage and ensued between the police and APC members. The police started shooting into the air, and tear gas was used to disperse the rampaging APC members.
In Enugu North Local Government Area, MMS plus investigation showed that there was bomb explosion at Coal Camp area of Enugu in the morning at Ogbete ward 6 polling unit as many people were trooping out to cast their votes during the election.
Although the number of casualties have not been ascertained before going to press, it was disclosed to MMS plus that one of the coal camp bomb explosion victims is currently receiving treatment at ESUT Parklane Hospital, Enugu.
As if the Ogbete ward 6 explosion was not enough for the local government election, another bomb explosion occurred at Enugu South Local Government Area. The incident which took place at Obeagu is believed to be a petrol bomb.
It was gathered that three people were reported to have sustained some degrees of injuries as a result of Obeagu bomb explosion. It occurred at about 7.30am.
Unconfirmed report had it that all these were the hand work of the opposition party in Enugu State.
In Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area, all roads leading to police station (Enugu Ezike) were barricaded by members of APC. All electoral materials for the local government election were held hostage by members of APC.
The issue of result sheet also played out. They were demanding that they must see the result sheet before any other thing.
MMS plus checks revealed that electoral materials in Igbo-Eze North could not be distributed until 4.30pm when the Enugu State Commissioner of Police and his crack team arrived Enugu Ezike, the Igbo-Eze North Local Headquarters.
“Immediately they arrived, they started shooting into the air and the APC members were dispersed”, said a source who did not want his name in print.
The same scenario played out in Igbo-Eze South Local Government Area.
It was gathered that the former governorship candidate of APC, Barr. Okey Ezea was beaten to coma and stripped naked.
MMS plus learnt that, Barr. Ezea went to Ichi ward I and met a presiding officer, and demanded a result sheet.
When the presiding officer (a woman) told him that she was not given result sheet by the local government Electoral Officer, Barr. Ezea started beating her.
As that was not enough, Barr. Ezea, it was alleged, went to Ichi ward 2 and repeated what he did in ward one.
Our source disclosed that, some youths who were unhappy with what Barr. Ezea was doing organized themselves and went for reprisal attack.
“Barr. Ezea was beaten sky and blue. He was stripped naked and some of his teeth damaged”, said a source who did not want his name in print.
Furthermore in Oji River, it was gathered that Gbazuagu Nweke Gbazuagu, a chieftain of APC, went to his ward at Akpugoeze and demanded result sheet from the presiding officer. When the presiding officer could not provide the result sheet, Gbazuagu started beating all ENSIEC adhoc staff.
It was further learnt that even the agents of PDP were not spared from Gbazuagu’s beating.
It was also revealed to MMS plus that mercenaries from Aguleri were invited by the chieftain of APC in Oji River to cause trouble during the election.
Our source also disclosed that the issue at Oji River attracted the presence of the Governor of Enugu State when it become obvious that some hired thugs in the area could not allow materials to be distributed.
“It was when His Excellency went to Oji River Local Government that the materials for the election were distributed”, he said
“The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Inter-governmental and Electoral Matters, Barr. Vincent Obeta described the election as free and fair.
He explained that the Governor of Enugu State has done so well that PDP would continue to win election in Enugu State, all the time.
He stated that the Governor of Enugu State and his party did campaign in all nooks and crannies of the state that should warrant this land slide victory of his party in the local government election.
A chieftain of PDP in Enugu State, Engr. Tony Ezugwu had cautioned the youths in Enugu State not to be used as thugs during the election.
He said that what Governor Ugwuanyi has done very well in terms of infrastructural and other development projects worth vindicating PDP in any election.
Another chieftain of PDP, Ugochukwu Eze described the violence that happened during the local government election in Enugu as a script written and played by the members of APC.
“If you critically appraise what happened in all the local governments, you will understand that it is a script written by APC. What becomes the main issue is the result sheet”, he said.
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