By Tony Edike
ENUGU – SOME gunmen suspected to be political thugs, Monday, disrupted the rally organised by Labour Party, LP at Oji River Local Government area of Enugu state.
Supporters of the party who had gathered near late Senator B.C. Okwu’s home for the rally as early as 8 am, were waiting for the arrival of the party’s governorship candidate, Chief Okechukwu Ezea and his entourage, when the incident occurred.
An eyewitness said around 10.am, some gun wielding youths drove into the arena in unmarked vehicles and fired several shots into the air, creating pandemonium in the entire vicinity.
On hearing the gunfire, most of the party supporters, mainly women, fled in different directions, for safety as the gunmen who chanted war songs, continued shooting sporadically.
The gunmen said to be numbering over twenty, took control of the area, and set up bonfires with used tyres to make sure that nobody remained in the arena and later retreated without any resistance from any quarters, including a nearby police station.
The eyewitness said that by the time Ezea and his entourage arrived the place at about 12 noon there was nobody at the rally venue, which was littered by smoking burnt tyres.
One of the party chieftains, who narrowly escaped from the venue, accused a female senatorial aspirant in the party of masterminding the mayhem in favour of another leading party in the state.
“This woman claims that she is a senatorial candidate of Labour Party but we know that she is working for our opponents in PDP to destabilize us. INEC released the list of candidates and pasted it everywhere including its website and the woman’s name is not there.
“She does not attend our campaigns and yet she claims to be our senatorial candidate. We are aware that PDP is sponsoring her to destabilize us. How can a member of our party send thugs after members of her party? We have confirmed our fears about her today” the party chieftain said.
However, some stalwarts of the party from Oji River, including the senatorial candidate for Enugu West, Prof. Nick Ezeh, managed to mobilize some of their supporters to the venue before the rally could take off around 2.pm.