Chidiebube Okeoma and Clement Nnachi
Many people were injured on Monday when the supporters of the Imo State Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere, and that of Governor Rochas Okorocha’s son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, clashed during a political meeting.
The clash happened at the council hall of the Mbaitoli Local Government Area, Nworubi, where the supporters of Okorocha’s son-in-law had gone to endorse him for the 2019 governorship election.
The deputy governor hails from the local government.
Both Madumere and Nwosu are jostling to succeed Okorocha.
However, Okorocha had last week publicly announced that he would support his son-in-law who is currently his chief of staff should he declare interest in the governorship seat.
Sources at the meeting told one of our correspondents that a political group, known as “I Believe Movement,” which is pro-Nwosu and the supporters of the deputy governor attacked each one with dangerous weapons immediately the mission of the visitors was announced.
According to an indigene of the LGA who was at the meeting, the pro-Nwosu supporters had sent them a short message service inviting the members of the community to the meeting without stating its agenda.
The indigenes, according to the source, became enraged when the visitors announced that the essence of the political gathering was to endorse Okorocha’s son-in-law for governor.
“The members of I Believe Movement took us for granted. They came to our Local Government Area to endorse the governor’s son-in-law against our son, Madumere who is the deputy governor of the state.
“They want to use us to score a cheap political point against the deputy governor who is our son. The annoying aspect is that they didn’t inform us why they invited us.
“Immediately we realised what their plan was, we told them categorically that we are supporting our son,who is the incumbent deputy governor for the governorship election.
“They started shouting ‘I Believe Movement in support of Uche Nwosu’ and we started shouting Madumere. They picked offence and started fighting us,” the source explained.
According to the source, the indigenes had to call for reinforcement which led to a bloody clash.
“Our people regrouped and came to the hall to save us .they started using stones, bottles and other weapons on us.”
One of our correspondents learnt that many people sustained varying degrees of injury during the free-for-all.
Some members of the I Believe Movement, our correspondent gathered, ran home half naked when the indigenes overpowered them.
Many lives would have been lost but for the prompt intervention of security men who were hurriedly drafted to the area by the police.
But when contacted, the state Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezike, said he had yet to be briefed.
The Public Relations Officer to Nwosu, Vivian Onwuka, when contacted referred one of our correspondents to the coordinator of the I Believe Movement.
When contacted, the Coordinator of I Believe Movement, Lawrence Achinihu, confirmed the clash, saying it happened when some indigenes of the town tried to disrupt the political gathering.
He said, “They came to disrupt the meeting by shouting ‘Madumere, Madumere’ as they knew that we were in the area to seek support for Nwosu. And this led to a disagreement and hot argument.”
But the Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor, Uche Onwuchekwa, could not be reached for comments as of the time of filing this report .
Meanwhile, the Ebonyi State Police Command has confirmed the killing of a 38-year-old Elias Nwankwegu on Saturday during a ward meeting organised by the Peoples Democratic Party at the Nwofe Primary School, Agbaja in Izzi Local Government Area of the state.
The Command Public Relations Officer, Lovet Odah, made the confirmation at the command Headquarters in Abakaliki, the state capital, on Monday while briefing newsmen.
The PPRO said that investigations into the killing had commenced, disclosing that one suspect, Emmanuel Nwofe, had been arrested in connection with the incident.
It was gathered that Nwankwegu popularly known as “Okarika” was shot dead by suspected thugs during the political gathering.
Investigations revealed that the deceased was an uncle to the immediate Commissioner for Justice in the state, Mr. Augustine Nwankwuegu, who also served as the Speaker of the state House of Assembly between 2007 and 2011.