By Anayo Okoli & Clifford Ndujihe
THE umbrella body of Igbo socio-cultural organisations, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has condemned what it described as “unprovoked attack and disruption” of a Labour Party, LP, meeting, weekend, in Nomeh, Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State.
The recent attack happened less than one month after an attack in Awgu, Enugu West Senatorial District of the state on the same party.
Similar to the Awgu attack, party members, who gathered for a meeting were harassed and their chairs and canopies destroyed.
The latest attack has raised concern from the people of the state, who are wondering why the LP had been the target in a state, where other political parties have been meeting freely.
The leadership of the party in the state has confirmed the attack, saying they were not surprised.
Ohanaeze in its reaction said: “It is inconceivable that at a time eminent persons and groups from all over the world are embracing the Labour Party as the quintessence of equity, justice, hope, economic emancipation, social risorgimento and inter-ethnic unity in Nigeria, some disgruntled scoundrels are busy disrupting their meetings at the grassroots in the South East,” Ohanaeze said in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Dr Chiedozie Ogbonnia.
It said that the attack “sends a very wrong signal about the very core essence for which the Igbo are known” and warned that “this should be the last time such incidents will be recorded in any part of Igboland.”
Noting that the character of social structure in Igbo land imposes huge responsibilities on the traditional rulers, presidents-general of town unions, the community vigilantes and ultimately the chairmen of the local governments as the chief security officers, Ohanaeze urged “all the security officers at each unit of Igbo administration to ensure that there will never be a repeat of such irresponsible unwarranted and shameful embarrassment to the Igbo.”
Ohanaeze added that political parties of all persuasions are free to market their manifestoes and canvass for votes in all parts of the country; warning that “nothing in the wildest imagination should compel the so called gunmen or the vile partisans masquerading as political leaders to employ the use of thugs to disrupt or attack political meetings in Igbo land.
“The uninitiated may not realize the consequences that await the renegades that have made themselves the willing tools to antagonize the Igbo spirit. On the other hand, if one must work for his party or a candidate of his choice, such narrow interests must never go the extra mile to jeopardize the general Igbo interest,” it cautioned.
Also reacting, the state Chairman of the party, Casmir Agbo who confirmed it however assured that they would overcome it.
“We know where it is coming from, they said they are peaceful people but with what is happening, where is their peace mantra? Any person that attacks you, does he mean well to you?
“They are threatened, they said we have no structures, now they are seeing structures and are threatened. We are going to take care of it.
“Because there has never been opposition, now there is an opposition, they are exposed. No problem, we are going to overcome”, the party chairman said.
It will be recalled that on the 4th of September, 2022, the party meeting in Awgu Ward 1 was attacked by gunmen who shot severally and disrupted the meeting.
In the latest attack which happened last Saturday, like in the previous attack, in a trending video on social media platforms, the hoodlums were heard shouting and warning that political parties are not wanted in the South East.
Political watchers in the state have expressed worry over the culture of violent attacks on political party meetings, saying that it would not sit well for the state ahead of political campaigns that will commence in a few days.