PDP, ACN clash in Akwa Ibom ...Five feared dead
At least five persons were feared dead in Ikot Ekpene early Tuesday as supporters of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) clashed with those of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). The campaign train of the ACN, led by its gubernatorial candidate, Senator John Udoedehe, was in Ikot Ekpene but was allegedly attacked by the PDP supporters. The ACN supporters were said to have fought back.
In the ensuing fracas, two persons were killed on the spot while three others, who were carried away from the scene died before they got to Uyo.
The ACN candidate is from Uyo Federal Constituency while his PDP counterpart and the sitting Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, is from Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District.
Apart from the lives lost, at least one filling station, and a house along Uyo-Ikot Road, was burnt. More than 20 vehicles were damaged while hundreds of supporters of both parties sustained various degrees of injury.
Some ACN supporters, who managed to escape from Ikot Ekpene, allegedly vented their spleen on government and private property in Uyo, damaging vehicles and shops suspected to be owned by PDP supporters. They burnt President Goodluck Jonathan's campaign office along Aba Road secretariat and set ablaze over 500 new vehicles.
Sources in Ikot Ekpene said that trouble started when the ACN was denied access to the venue of their rally.
“The real theatre of the crisis was the Iko Ekpene - Umuahia Road junction. From there they moved to Anwa Udoaka where the filling station was burnt.”
He blamed the crisis on ACN members, who tried to force their way through the town even after they had seen that it was not safe for them to hold the rally there.
But the ACN supporters said they were attacked even when they never provoked violence while on the campaign.
Speaking through his Commissioner for Information Aniekan Umanah, Akpabio said he had no hand in the fracas. He said he was busy with his campaigns in two local government areas when the Ikot Ekpene incident happened. He said his rallies were peacful.
He said: “We don't know those involved. We had our own rallies in two local government areas, Abak and Mkpatenin. There was no clash with anybody. We were surprised when we returned to Uyo to see houses and vehicles being burnt.
Clearly, some people have taken laws into their hands. It is unfortunate if people decide to shed blood for politics and burn down public buildings. Some people are taking government's tolerance for weakness.”
A source blamed the incident on the ACN which tried to force its way through the town despite the fact that it had been warned to take its campaigns elsewhere. “They had been warned that no other party, except PDP, should come for campaign in Annang land. So, why did they come?” over till it is over,” he said.