Ike Nnachi, Abakaliki
Unknown assailants in the early hours of Friday attacked the home of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for Izizi/Abakaliki Federal Constituency, Barnabas Ofoke, destroying cars and other property.
Spokesperson of the PDP in Ebonyi State, Chika Nwoba, in a statement on Friday accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State for being responsible for the attack.
The House is located in Izzi Local Government Area.
Both Mr Ofoke and the APC governorship candidate and Speaker of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Francis Nwifuru, are from the local government.
Ikengaonline could not independently verify his claim of APC involvement in the attack.
Mr Nwoba said the compound of Mr Ofoke within which the attacked house was located was designated as the venue for the PDP Governorship rally in the local government today.
Mr Nwoba said: “Today is the PDP governorship campaign rally in Izzi LGA of Ebonyi State. Yesterday by 2 o’clock in the night, thugs working for the APC governorship candidate, Francis Nwifuru invaded the compound of the PDP candidate for Izzi/Abakaliki Federal Constituency, Hon. Barnabas Ofoke, and shattered the house, vehicles and sent occupants away.
“This was the compound the campaign was meant to hold since the APC governorship candidate and Gov. Umahi declared no open space for PDP in the LGA.”
“This is the LGA of the APC governorship candidate. The father of the PDP House of Representatives candidate whose house was destroyed as shown here was the political godfather of Francis Nwifuru and still alive,” Mr Nwoba said.
Meanwhile, the governorship candidate of APC, Francis Nwifuru, however, denied having a hand in the attack.
A member of the party’s media team and an Aide to Governor David Umahi, Brutus Orogwu said the incident was self inflicted by the PDP.
He said the PDP staged the said attack in an attempt to tarnish the image of the APC and its governorship candidate , Francis Nwifuru, who hails from the area.
He said: PDP secretly sent their boys to destroy those things just to use it to tarnish the APC image in Izzi. Well, all I know is that they have failed already,” he said.
The Director of New Media of the APC Campaign Council and State Spokesperson of APC, Simbad Ogbuatu, also debunked the accusation.
He said Mr Nwifuru and the APC had no hand in the said attack and accused the PDP of staging the incident.
He said: This is a mere propaganda by the PDP. Nwifuru is a peaceful person, a man who has respect for human life and rule of law and as such can never send anybody for such a despicable act.
“PDP are not on ground, they stage managed the attack. Ofoke is not a threat, he has never won his Polling unit”
“The media and Ebonyi voters should disregard this propaganda by PDP, it is because they know they don’t have the capacity to defeat APC at the polls that is why they are coming up with these gimmicks to tarnish the image of PDP”
“Nwifuru did not attack anybody and didn’t send anybody to carry out any attack. APC does not have thugs and does not believe in or engage in thuggery,” he said.
Increasing political violence
Ebonyi State in general has become notorious for political violence of late with attacks on opposition candidates on the rise across the state.
Late last year, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship candidate, Bernard Odoh, and his convoy was attacked in the local government.
Though no life was lost in that attack, one of the cars in his convoy was a damaged by gunshot fired by the attackers.
Mr Odoh, last month escaped a deadly attack in which two police officers attached to him died.
The attacks came just five days after all the political parties in the state and their governorship candidates signed a peace accord promising to eschew violence and play by the rules.