.Sen Ubah

By Vincent Ujumadu

AT a time the people of Anambra State were heaving a sigh of relief that normalcy was returning after over one year of living in fear as a result of the activities of the unknown gunmen that killed and maimed dozens of people, and tragedy struck again. Last Sunday, the victims were Senator Ifeanyi Ubah representing Anambra South senatorial zone in the country’s upper legislative chambers and his aides who were returning to the senator’s home town, Nnewi after attending a function.

The spot where the shooting took place has at least four escape routes. One of the roads connects Enugwu Ukwu with the Enugu-Onitsha expressway, another leads to Nibo, while the main road leads to Awka and Onitsha respectively. So, it was easy for the attackers to escape through any of the connecting roads after committing the havoc.

As the senator’s convoy approached the Nkwo Enugwu Ukwu market along the Awka – Onitsha old road,  the gunmen fired from different directions, leaving at least six people dead. The casualties included policemen, operatives of the Department of State Service, DSS, and some civilians. What saved the senator was that his SUV car, which was also riddled with bullets, is bulletproof and his driver was, therefore, able to drive to safety.

One of the murdered aides of Senator Ubah, Goodnews Mathias, was his personal assistant. Goodnews, who attended the University of Calabar. “He obtained BSc in Fisheries and Aquaculture and he is from Ika Local government area in Akwa Ibom State. His nickname is T.Boy, He is married and his wife and two kids are now left to suffer.

“He turned 40 years old in May; a lively person, easy going and always smiling. He has worked for Ifeanyi Ubah for about 15 years. Last year, the Senator gave him a car gift.

Also, one of the people that died at the scene was a businessman from Nri in Anaocha’s local government area of the state. The businessman, Saturday Vanguard gathered, was based in Lagos but relocated to his hometown, following alleged attempts on his life after a business deal that went awry. One version of the story had it that the attackers were after the businessman, only for the senator’s convoy to arrive at the scene at the time the gunmen had ambushed their target.

A source said: “It was likely that Senator Ubah was not the main target and only happened to be at the scene at the same time. The attack on his convoy might have been a result of mistaken identity, especially as many people, including ordinary traders, use long convoys in Anambra State. Anambra people do not kill for politics and if this incident has a political undertone, it must be the first in many years.

Another version of the story however said it was actually an assassination attempt on Senator Ubah. According to the information, the attack on Ifeanyi Ubah had a link with the sacked chairman of Nnewi North local government area whose wife died under questionable circumstances. It was gathered that the man used to be Ifeanyi Ubah’s boy, adding that the senator actually brought him to the political limelight. Another businessman, it was further gathered, who is allegedly having issues with Ubah, was said to have influenced the man’s current political ordeal. These stories are still in the realm of speculations. But the question is, why should anyone want to assassinate Ubah?

Senator Ubah, a billionaire and politician, cannot be said to be among the controversial politicians in Anambra State. In fact, it was due to the love the people have for him that made it possible for him to win the election using the virtually unknown Young Progressives Party, YPP,. He is also a well-known philanthropist who is loved by his people.

In all these, the police have not been forthcoming with information as to whether arrests have been made, or the motive behind the attack. The state Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga in a statement said the investigation is ongoing.

“The Commissioner of Police Anambra State Command CP Echeng Echeng has led operatives to the scene where sporadical shootings took place in Enugwu ukwu. Though the details of the incident is still sketchy, operatives are on ground there as operations is going on and the situation is being monitored. Further details shall be communicated please “, he said.

 However, President Muhammadu Buhari, who condemned the attack described it as barbaric. His Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said the president is closely monitoring the situation by security operatives. The president said: We are deeply concerned about the activities of armed groups in the region and other parts of the country. We are closely monitoring the situation and waiting for further details on the response to the worrisome situation by the police, the military and other security agencies.

“The nation has lost four brave policemen and other aides of the senator. On behalf of the government and the people, I pay tribute to these security men and the aides who were brutally murdered.”

People of different callings have  also been reacting on the attack. The state governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo described the attackers as cowards whose end would soon come. He said his government was fully determined to wipe out criminality in the state and described the attackers as a sinking boat

Prof. Lilian Orogbu, a former dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, who is the candidate of the Labour Party for Awka North and South Federal Constituency in the 2023 election condemned the gruesome attack on the senator.

Prof Orogbu urged the state government and security operatives to fish out the perpetrators of the attack and ensure they face the wrath of law. While consoling the families of the victims of the attack, she hoped that such incident would not repeat itself. Other andidates of some political parties for the 2023 election, including Senator Uche Ekwunife, also condemned the attack. Senator Andy Uba, who represented Anambra South senatorial zone before Ifeanyi Ubah took over, also condemned the attack and urged Governor Chukwuma Soludo to fish out the culprits and punish them accordingly.

Although Biafra agitators were fingered at the attack, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, exonerated them.

In fact, MASSOB described the attack on Senator Ubah as an assassination attempt and politically motivated. Its leader, Comrade Uchenna Madu said: “This attack is insensitive,  barbaric and unwarranted. The political cabals stifling the economy and wealth of Nigeria are not comfortable that a positive change that will abolish their illicit and corrupt means of embezzling the wealth of Nigeria is coming, hence they are sponsoring political assassination of eloquent and outspoken political leaders who are not  in their evil and corrupt wagon. The Enugwu Ukwu assassination attack is not only about Senator Ifeanyi Uba, but against people -oriented political leaders across the country.”

Madu recalled his earlier statement which warned about the likely resurgence of political assassination attempts with the approach of the 2023 general elections.

He went further to advise the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Mr. Peter Obi and the governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, among other politicians and religious leaders to beef up their securities in view of the likely increase in the rate of such attacks between now and February next year.

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