BY TONY NYONG, UYO
Palpable fear now rules Uyo metropolis of Akwa Ibom State, after the political violence that erupted Tuesday, claiming no fewer than 50 lives. Consequently, there was virtually no work in all the offices in the Idongesit Nkanga State Secretariat of Akwa Ibom State as workers stayed away from work for fear of falling victim to a resurgence of violence. All the offices are presently under lock and key.
The workers who were worried of the possibility of another attack at the State Secretariat, after rioting members of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, invaded the place and burnt more than 800 brand new Peugeot cars, and 500 tricycles parked within the Secretariat premises. They were reportedly protesting the attack and the killing of their members.
The sad development caught many by surprise as Akwa Ibom State has long been known to be a shining light in ethnic harmony. Unfortunately, there is strong fear that it may soon witness ethnic war following the unprecedented political violence that spread like wild fire around the major streets of Uyo, after angry supporters of the ACN took to streets to protest the alleged killing of 20 of their party members by those of the Peoples Democratic Party. The incident which happened while they were on their way to attend a rally in Ikot Ekpene also seriously injured 50 other members of the party.
So, it was a vengeful crowd that later returned to Uyo to unleash terror on their perceived opponents, attacking and destroying every government personnel and vehicle, as well as setting ablaze the State Secretariat of the Goodluck/ Sambo campaign office in the state. It also went ahead to burn a private school belonging to Senator Alloysius Etok, a PDP chieftain from Ikot Ekpene district.
The Chairman of ACN in the state, Mr. Aniekan Akpan, while addressing newsmen said the mayhem that took place in the home base of Governor Godswill Akpabio was sponsored by him, using surrogates such as Mr. Don Etim, Commissioner for Works; Pastor Sunny Ibuot, Chairman, Ikot Ekpene Local Government Council, and Chief Sunny Ibanga, PDP Chapter Chairman of the party in the area.
Akpan said the mayhem speaks volume of the level of insecurity in the state and that the state governor should be held responsible for the loss of lives and wanton destruction of property.
Akpan accused the Governor of forcing the people to return him to power as well as earlier organising a similar assault and disrupting the visit of Mrs. Justina Udoedehe, wife of their gubernatorial candidate to her family to inform them of the intention of the husband to run for the exulted office.
The ACN boss further said Governor Akpabio who has boasted publicly of paying N500 million to the police headquarters to secure the transfer of former Police Commissioner, Sani Magaji, said while the police in the state have refused them security protection, the Governor has ordered the arrest and detention of 61 chieftains of their party in order to keep them out of circulation until the elections were over.
But Governor Godswill Akpabio was quick to counter these accusation. In less than five minutes address, he told the Press that it was the ACN that was trying to foment problem in the state so as to accuse the state government of causing the political upheaval.
He said the perpetrators of the violence should be worried because he has gotten the Federal Government’s approval for ‘Shoot-At-Sight’ and that no politician would be spared if found culpable.
Akpabio decried the fact that many members of the PDP were killed, adding that those whose private parts were cut off are in the Federal Medical Centre, receiving treatment.