By Vincent Ujumadu
THE All Progressives Congress, AAPC, and All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in Anambra State are trading words over the weekend’s gruesome murder of the deposed traditional ruler of Mkpunado in Anambra East local government area, Igwe Alex Edozieuno and his driver, Chukwuemeka.
Both were killed by unknown gunmen while driving home and the incident has been generating so much controversy in the state. The late Edozieuno was dethroned by his community last year and another traditional ruler installed in the area following his suspension by the state government. He recently joined APC and was said to have been attending meetings of the party before his death.
Addressing reporters in Awka following the murder of the party chieftain, the director general of APC campaign council in the state, Chief Paul Chukwuma and the party’s state chairman, Chief Basil Ejidike described the murder as one too many.
Chukwuma said: “A very sad event took place in our dear state last weekend. We woke up weekend with the devastating news of the assassination of the former traditional ruler of Mkpunando, Igwe Alex Edozieuno. He was the traditional ruler of the community before he was dethroned by the state government some time last year..
“Why his death is a major concern to us is because we consider it a politically motivated killing and we wonder why any citizen of the state could indulge in such act. Recall that few weeks ago, the late traditional ruler joined in a public function organized by our party, the APC, and his reception into our party took place in his home town and it was attended by many people.
“We therefore wonder why there should be this murder, especially against the backdrop of the incessant threats the members of the APC are receiving from the ruling APGA government. We have been receiving death threats from highly placed individuals in the state.
“As usual in Anambra State, political contest has never got to the point where people’s lives will be in issue. With this death, we felt we should speak out. We are calling on the law enforcement agencies – the police, the DSS to quickly move into action and conduct a proper investigation since the threats have now started translating to deaths.
“Our resolve to salvage Anambra State as stakeholders in the state remains unshaken. Recently, six members of APGA in the state House of Assembly joined our party and each of them has been receiving threats.
“We could have swept it under the carpet but with the way and manner Chief Edozieuno was killed a few kilometers away from his home, we wonder why we should be in this situation in Anambra State.
“The story out there is that APC is not on ground and that APC wants to take Anambra from the top. That is why this time around, our party decided to do something different in Anambra.
“We have decided to engage in Ndi Anambra, realizing that we cannot take the mandate of the people by force; we decided to reach out to the grassroots to explain to them our predicaments in the hands of these people that have held the state hostage”.
Reacting on the allegation, the state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C Don Adinuba said it was unfortunate that APC was politicizing the death of the former traditional ruler.
Adinuba said: “It is important to remind some politicians that it is callous to attempt to politicize the death of any person. To allege that the murders were preceded by threats and text messages without proof is preposterous.
“Rather than politicize the ex-monarch’s death, the APC should provide whatever it has about the crime to the Nigeria Police Force. After all, the APC is the Federal Government party which controls not just the police force, but also the Department of State security.
“The people and Government of Anambra State are satisfied with the action of the new Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Tony Olofu, who personally went to the crime scene immediately he heard of Chief Ezediuno’s unfortunate death and set in motion the machinery to arrest the persons responsible for the murder and their motive.
Anambra people are proud that their state has in the last seven years become the most peaceful in the whole country. The level of social harmony we enjoy is unprecedented since the state was created 30 years ago.
“The last two major elections in the state were the most peaceful in the country, with practically no incidents. Every Anambra person has a moral responsibility to make the November 6 gubernatorial election in the state equally peaceful.
“Despite the machination of some politicians who are allergic to peace, order and enlightened values, the people of Anambra State are committed to a culture of harmonious living”.