March 2, 2023

Family of slain Labour Senatorial candidate speaks, fingers members of Ebeano political group

LP campaign

•Disappointed Enugu State govt yet to condemn killing

By Anayo Okoli & Chinedu Adonu

ENUGU — THE fami

ly of Oyibo Chukwu, the Labour Party Senatorial candidate for Enugu East District who was killed Wednesday night alongside his personal assistant, Mr Sunday Igwesi, is pointing accusing fingers at the Ebeano PDP Political group.  

Ebeano PDP Political structure founded and headed by former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani birthed in Enugu in 1999 and had produced all the governors of the state since then, and other elected office holders.

Chukwu family alleged that their brother confided in some people that he was being trailed by members of Ebeano and was planning to petition security agencies before he was killed.

The family expressed pain and disappointment that days after the killing, Enugu state Government did not deem it necessary to issue a statement to condemn the act or visit the family to sympathize with them.

A statement by the family and signed by Prof. Arthur Chukwu said:

“With tears in our eyes, we, members of the Chief Chukwu Family of Amurri Town in Nkanu West Local Government Area of Enugu State, address you today on the assassination on Wednesday, February 22, 2023, of our illustrious son, Chief Oyibo Victor Chukwu, at Amechi, Uwani, in Enugu South Local Government Area, while returning from a meeting with family members on the forthcoming senatorial election in the Enugu East zone in which he was contesting as the candidate of the Labour Party.

“Our harmless son was not only assassinated, his remains were burnt, together with his vehicle. His well-trusted Personal Assistant, Mr. Sunday Igwesi, who was with him in the same vehicle,   was also killed and incinerated in the same manner.

“Never in the political history of Enugu State has sacrilege of this magnitude occurred. The level of hate and intolerance that could lead a person to plan and execute this kind of action against innocent persons whose only offence was that they chose to exercise their God-given right of participation in the nation’s electoral process is unimaginable.

“Based on credible intelligence, our worthy son confided in a couple of persons that he was being trailed by members of the Ebeano political group. In fact, in the morning of Wednesday, February 22, 2022, the very day he was killed in the most cowardly manner, he told some persons that he was going to write a petition to the security and intelligence agencies in Enugu State on the plans to eliminate him, so that the agencies could investigate the persons involved and nip their evil plans in the bud.

“According to our brother, the threat to his life spiked when he directed his lawyer, Mr Chukwudi Igwe, to file a suit in the Federal High Court in Abuja challenging the legal status of the participation of a former Enugu State governor, Dr Chimaraoke Nnamani, as the PDP candidate in the Enugu East Senatorial Zone since he has been expelled from his party. The Nigerian Constitution provides that only candidates sponsored by political parties can contest in an election.

“Chief Oyibo Chukwu became the assassination target because of the stupendous popularity of the Labour Party in Enugu State in particular and the rest of the country in general, as well as his stellar credentials. He was coasting home to victory by the time assassins stopped him.

“It was not just Chief Chukwu they stopped, but the entire Enugu East Senatorial Zone whose people have for several years been yearning for effective representation in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and, by extension, good governance.

“We find it curious that a whole two days after Chief Chukwu, the Owelle of Amuri, a member of the Constituent Assembly in Abuja, the National Auditor of the Social Democratic Party in the Third Republic which was in the early 1990s and a former Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party in Enugu State was murdered in the most brutal way, the Enugu State Government has not deemed it important to condemn the killing and the killing of his PA; nor has any of its officials visited the Chukwu family even here in Enugu City. 

“Yet, His Excellency, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State claims that his greatest legacy since his assumption of office almost eight years ago is an atmosphere of peace. We are unable to see how the killing of a foremost lawyer and high-profile politician as well as his PA, which has attracted national and international headlines, is of no importance to the PDP government of The Right Honourable Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.

“We are convinced that the founding fathers of Enugu State never imagined for once that politics in our dear state would someday be taken to a level where the lives of the citizens could no longer be considered sacred. Enugu people had presumed that the politics of violence ended 16 years ago. We rejoiced too early.

“Our assurance to the people of the Enugu East Senatorial Zone and the rest of the State is that our great son would not die in vain. We urge the Nigeria Police Force and the Department of State Security to fish out those who planned the assassinations and those who carried them out, as well as their collaborators. They must account for their actions both in this life and in the life to come.

“We commend Nigerians at home and abroad for their condolences, solidarity and prayers. They are too numerous to mention. But we would like to acknowledge here the peculiar roles of the Labour Party presidential candidate, His Excellency, Mr Peter Gregory Obi; the National Chairman of our reform-minded party, Barrister Julius Abure; the officers and members of the Enugu State branch of our party; the leadership of the Nigeria Police Command in Enugu State and other security and intelligence agencies; different non-governmental organisations and, of course, the press for being alive to their responsibilities in these times. These are times that try men’s souls”.