By Tony Edike
For the vigilance of men of the Anti-Bomb Squad of Enugu State Police Command, Governor Sullivan Chime’s campaign flag off in Enugu yesterday would have turned bloody as a bomb planted at the venue by unknown persons was recovered few hours before commencement of the event.
The State Police Commissioner, Mr. Job Danazumi Doma, told reporters after the event held at Okpara Square, Enugu, that the“locally-made bomb” which was planted under the VIP pavilion where the governor and other dignitaries normally sit was targeted at causing havoc during the occasion.
He stated that upon discovery of the bomb by men of the Anti-Bomb Squad, it was immediately neutralized and evacuated to the Police Headquarters while the entire venue was properly swept necessary gadgets before the event began.
“I can confirm to you that a bomb was recovered at the venue of the PDP rally today. You know, before such occasion takes place I normally send my bomb squad to come to the venue and screen the area of any dangerous objects like explosives. It was in the process of that screening that we discovered the bomb buried at Okpara Square today.
“It was a locally-made bomb buried under the VIP pavilion meant for the Governor and other dignitaries. It was buried directly in the middle meant for the Governor and his entourage. But thank God our vigilant men observed it before it could cause any harm,” the Police Commissioner said, adding that no arrest had been made.
The campaign rally organized by Governor Sullivan Chime and other candidates of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the state, however, went on smoothly after the bomb was quietly evacuated but security was beefed up within the VIP pavilion throughout the event.
Addressing the crowd of supporters, Governor Chime called on members and supporters of the party in the state to remain steadfast in the ongoing political crisis in the state as, according to him, their political opponents would stop at nothing in their bid to cause mischief.
The governor declared that he would not allow anybody or group to take charge of the state to the detriment of the people, promising that he would continue to work hard to ensure that the interest of the people was duly protected during the next phase of his administration.
Chime whose second term bid was re-endorsed by 33 political parties under the state chapter of Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, CNPP, assured that the PDP candidates would emerge victorious in the April elections as the candidates of other political parties were not credible.
He said: “I want to urge you to be steadfast; the battle is never over until it is over. The people we are dealing with are very desperate. They will stop at nothing to cause mischief. They know they cannot win any election. The much they can do is to cause mischief.
“So we urge you on election day, just like you came out en masse to register, you come out en masse not just to vote but also to protect your vote. I assure you that nothing whatsoever will make them succeed.
“Thuggery is no longer in vogue in Enugu State; it is a thing of the past. Nothing will ever take us back to those dark ages. So for anybody planning to use thuggery and violence let him learn from the lesson of Egypt and Tunisia.
“It is not what you want to do but what God wants to happen, so they should not bother. 2015 they can try their luck but I can assure you that from the way they are going, in 2015 there will be no chance for them. Our people will continue to be in-charge; the people of Enugu will continue to be in-charge. No group can mortgage us; no group can ever take charge against the wishes of the people.
Whatever we do we have shown we do to the benefit of our people.” The governor, who stated that the past years of his administration had been full of challenges, stated that he was grateful to God that he had withered them to the ultimate benefit of the people of the state.
According to him, his confidence to be part of the process in April this year arose from the tremendous support and encouragement the people have shown to his administration, stressing that the party remains the one to beat in the election because the choice of its candidates were that of the people.
Chime who went memory lane to recall his campaign in 2007, said that he refused to laugh in his campaign posters then because of his belief that governance was a serious business and the fact that “we needed to convince our people from where we were coming from that we were in for serious business”.
Chime said the difference between candidates being thrown up by other parties in the April elections and those of the PDP in the state was that while other candidates were handpicked to satisfy the whims and caprices of their godfather, those of the PDP were chosen by the people, a development he attributed to the good governance demonstrated by the party.
He told the people that his administration was already aware of the problems facing every community in the state, stressing that should he fail to address them in his second term, they would be passed to succeeding administration of the state.
The rally was also addressed by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Senator Ayogu Eze, the State Chairman of PDP, Chief Vita Abba and other members of the National Assembly who received the party’s flag to contest the April polls.
The National Assembly candidates of the party include Senator Ike Ekweremadu (Enugu West), Senator Ayogu Eze (Enugu North) and Hon. Gil Nnaji for Enugu East. Also eight House of Representative candidates – Offor Chukwuegbo, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Pat Asadu, Princess Peace Nnaji, Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi Kingsley Ebenyi, Tobias Okechukwu and Princess Stella Ngwu received the party’s flags.
Governor Chime said at the rally that the PDP would triumph in elections because “our candidates were chosen by our people.” According to him “thuggery is no longer in vogue in Enugu State, and nothing will ever take us back to those dark days. The next thing they (opposition) will try to do is to cause mischief because they know they cannot win election here. We won’t yield any ground to them.”