The people of Isuokom in Ebonyi State have penned an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari seeking his intervention over the alleged threat to the life of their son, Ifeanyi Odii by agents of the State Government.
Odii is the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate for the 2023 governorship election in Ebonyi State.
His Isuokom kinsmen are alleging that his life was under serious threat by agents of the Ebonyi State Government.
They made the allegations in the petition signed by Mr. John Nnanna Njoku, President-General of Isuokoma, Mr. Sunday Igne, the Youth President of Isuokoma, Chief Tony Anoke, Diaspora Leader of Isuokoma, Chief Augustine Chigbo Okoro, Coordinator of Isuokoma West Africa and Barr. Obasi Livinus Onu, Abakaliki Branch Chairman of Isu Okoma.
They called on President Buhari, the Inspector-General of Police, the Department of State Services, DSS, Ebonyi State Commissioner of Police, Ebonyi State Director of DSS and other security agencies to speedily come to their rescue “in order to save High Chief Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii and the entire people of Isuokoma from the destructive tendencies of Governor David Nweze Umahi.”
The people of Isuokoma said they viewed with much concern, trepidation and agony “the worrisome persistent unveiled verbal attacks and threats to the life of our son, High Chief Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii, by the Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Nweze Umahi.”
They alleged that Governor Umahi had in various forms and forums, glaringly demonstrated crass hatred and animosity against Odii following his aspiration and subsequent nomination as the PDP gubernatorial standard bearer in the 2023 governorship election in Ebonyi State.
“We had ignored and taken with a pinch of salt the unprovoked dehumanising jibes aimed at Dr. Odii by Engr. Umahi. We continually dismissed Governor Umahi’s aspersions on the personality of Chief Odii as the ranting and whining of an uncomfortable player in a tough contest.
“There is no doubt that the recent outburst of Governor Umahi against security chiefs and agencies in Ebonyi State, in which he threatened to block and attack the convoys of opposition candidates in the State, was clearly targeted at our son, High Chief Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii.
“We are aware that Engr. Umahi has, in his characteristic uncivil manner, commanded the security agencies in the State to withdraw the security personnel attached to opposition candidates.
“We see this as the Governor’s desperate attempt to clear his way to have an easy ride to kill our son, High Chief Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii. This latest show of acrimony jolted us to consciousness to give the Governor’s machination and treachery the deserved serious attention, consideration and publicity.
“It is no longer news that Governor Dave Umahi formed the Ebubeagu militia which he has utilised as a political tool to cow opposition to submission in order to perpetuate his unpopular political influence in Ebonyi State,” they claimed.
Odii’s kinsmen rued the number of lives that have been lost since Umahi became the governor of the State, noting that it was a matter of great concern.
According to them, “from the build up to Governor Umahi’s first tenure in office as Governor till now, murder is a recurring decimal in Ebonyi State.
“Many people were gruesomely murdered in 2022 in Isuokoma, including the Palace Secretary, Chief Odii Nwachima; the President-General of Isuokoma Town Union, Dr. Ifeanyi Anthony Orji; Alhaji Iyioji, an Islamic cleric from Isuokoma; Chief Augustine Nwadibia, the owner of Galaxy Hotel at Nkwoagu Isu market; among others.
“Mr. Henry Ezeani, one of the security aides to High Chief Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii, was also murdered in the bloody attack at Galaxy Hotel Nkwoagu Isu. The king of Isu community, HRH Ambrose Ogbu and Mrs. Juliana Uzor were also kidnapped in 2022 and they are still missing many months after their abduction.”
They alleged that: “these murders and cases of kidnapping happened in Isuokoma when it became clear that our son, High Chief Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii was waxing strong enough to clinch the governorship ticket of the PDP.
“It is also worrisome that the Engr. Umahi-led government of Ebonyi State has not made any effort to investigate the murders and cases of Kidnapping in Isuokoma in 2022, especially the murder of Dr. Ifeanyi Anthony Orji, who was the President-General of Isuokoma Town Union, and HRH Ambrose Ogbu, the king of Isu Community. This is disturbing.
“We are aware that when three persons were recently murdered at Ekoli Edda, Governor Umahi quickly instituted a commission of inquiry to investigate the murders.
“The Governor also mobilised the security agencies that arrested the alleged masterminds of the Ekoli Edda murders, including the Ebonyi State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and a House of Representatives candidate of the Governor’s party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). Why is the case of Isuokoma different?”
While noting that Odii was undeserving of the treatment he was getting from the governor having supported him (Umahi) both in 2015 and 2019 elections, they maintained that “the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) gives every eligible citizen of Nigeria the opportunity for political participation.”
“The political space in Nigeria is wide and large enough for anybody to roll, without inflicting pains on other persons.
“It will be primitive and gross crudity for Governor Umahi to see the governorship ambition of Chief Odii as a reason to subject Isuokoma to untold hardship.
“Governor Umahi’s anti Isu posturing is seriously threatening the good neighbourliness between Isu and Uburu. We, therefore, call on the Uburu community to urgently call their son, Engr. Dave Umahi, to order.
“Governor Dave Umahi’s attacks on High Chief Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii smacks of political desperation, hypocrisy and jealousy.
“We have never negotiated and do not intend to negotiate with Governor Umahi to support Chief Odii’s governorship ambition. Engr. Umahi is free to constitutionally pursue his political ambition and support any candidate of his choice within the ambit of the law.
“He should, therefore, allow Dr. Odii to legitimately pursue his political ambition. Enough of this hatred! We can no longer condone it. We cannot keep quiet to allow Governor Umahi to destroy our illustrious son, Chief Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii, who is the leading candidate in the 2023 governorship race in Ebonyi State.
“This is a desperate attempt to consign Isuokoma to the political waste bin,” they declared.
When contacted, Mr. Francis Nwaze, the Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Governor Umahi dismissed the allegations as coming from political jobbers.
He said the Governor had been open minded in dealing with members of the opposition parties in the State, stressing that he allowed them access to campaign venues in the State.
While stating that he was yet to see the petition, Nwaze said: “I don’t know where that thing is coming from; I don’t know who signed the said petition; people can just come together, sign any document. I wonder where the Governor is playing a role in such a matter.
“What I can always assure you is that this is political time; people are just looking for a brand they will dent and possibly use it to grow themselves.
“The Governor has been very open minded irrespective of the fact that he has developed the State; he has been playing politics of inclusiveness; a couple of days ago, the two major opposition parties in the State and at the national level, all of them were given the State’s stadium to come and do their rally, even the security of the people, the governor minuted to the commissioner of police to ensure that the people are secured.
“If the governor is against them, he may not have approved the State stadium, even in other States, the government may not release such a facility, but in Ebonyi State, the governor will just make it available.”
He equally described as unfounded claims that the Ebubeagu security operatives were being used to oppress members of the opposition political parties in the State.
“They are doing wonderfully well in the State and their target is criminals and nothing more. Those things are mere fabrications just to make news,” the Governor’s aide said on Ebubeagu.
Save our son from Gov Umahi – Ebonyi PDP guber candidate, Odii’s kinsmen cry out to Buhari