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Ebonyi Lg Election: 1 Dead As Pdp, Ppa Clash In Ebonyi

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It was a bloody clash in Afikpo South local government area of Ebonyi state as the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP supporters clashed in a war that led to the death of one of the supporters of PDP while many houses were burnt and property worth millions of naira destroyed.

National Daily reports that during the clash that ensued between the two political parties in the local government area claimed one life while houses were burnt and property worth millions of naira were lost.

It was also gathered that the deceased who was working for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party who had earlier that day engaged another man from Progressive Peoples Alliance in a public fight over where poster should be pasted went back in the night to the same perceived opposition to fight him where he was hit with bottle that led to his death.

A source said that when the supporters of PDP found out that their colleague was stabbed to death right inside the compound of their opponent who is from PPA, they went on reprisal attack by burning the houses that belong to PPA people.

About five houses were allegedly burnt down while property worth millions of naira were destroyed during the clash which prompted the leadership of PPA and All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP to brief the press.

This definitely is coming on the heels of a similar call by a group of PDP members known as Concerned Eminent Stakeholders of PDP in Ebonyi State that the Saturday July 10 election to be cancelled.

In a separate press conference addressed by officials of the ANPP and PPA in Abakaliki last week, they expressed lack of confidence in the Ebonyi State Independent Electoral Commission (EBSIEC) which they said was yet to be reorganized to ensure her independence and guarantee her capacity to conduct free and fair election.

The two parties also cited intimidation and threat to life and property of their members by agents suspected to be PDP and the state government, even as they showed journalists copies of petitions they have sent to the police command and SSS.

The State Secretary of ANPP, Prince Ifeanyichukwu Onu called on members of the party not to participate in the election describing it as charade intended to deceive the people.

Citing further reasons for boycotting the lection, Prince Onu stated that members of EBSIEC are partisan, noting that in the previous council election in the state in 2004 conducted by EBSIEC, some candidates of other parties other than PDP won elections in their constituencies but had their results altered.

He stressed that it is the same people who constituted the sate electoral body in the previous elections that are still there now, adding, “In the same vein the party went to court to contest the 2004 local government illegal election and till now the party was denied a copy of the judgment by the state High Court”.

Prince Onu stated that the voters register was long overdue for review but EBSIEC bluntly refused to hearken to the yearning of the teaming voters who are now above 18 years and a lot of dead voters contained in the register.

“In view of the above, the ANPP, Ebonyi State chapter ask all her members not to participate in any election conducted by EBSIEC as presently constituted…we want to assure members that the party will participate fully in all future state and federal elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). This is because the INEC is currently being re-organized, whereby members who are obviously partisan were removed to ensure her independence and guarantee free and fair elections,” he said.

On his part the PPA chairman, Mr. Cyril Obazi stated, “We shall be doing disservice to God and humanity, if we fail to inform you that all is not well with Ebonyi State Government and the much talked about democracy. Our candidates are intimidated and attacked to step down for unpopular PDP candidates in various wards and LGAs… Our lives and security of our members are threatened. Ebonyi State Government PDP and their agents are involved in this intimidation, there are verifiable factors,” he said.

While stating the determination of the party to go ahead and contest the lection despite the fact that the state government through the State House of Assembly had shifted the goal post twice by amending the law to change the voting system from open/secret to open ballot as well as making incumbent chairmen to remain on seat instead of resigning 30 days to the election, the PPA chairman appealed to law enforcement agencies to investigate to alleged assaults on PPA candidates and supporters and prevent further recurrence.

The Sate Commissioner of Police, Mr. Diipo Ayeni when contacted denied receiving any petition from any political party, saying that if they had written a petition it was yet to get to his office.

The PDP Chairman Chief Dave Umahi dismissed the allegations saying that they are mere distractions as there is no opposition party in the state.

He said that those who do not have structures to contest elections should not look for excuses but to face the reality of the fact that Ebonyi was a PDP state.

It will be recalled that the Concerned Eminent Stakeholders of PDP few days ago petitioned the National Chairman of the party, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo and the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to draw their attention to what they called constitutional breaches by the state chapter of the party, the state government and the State Independent Electoral Commission (EBSIEC).

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