From GEORGE ONYEJIUWA,Owerri.
The controversy trailing Thursday’s clash between the security aides of Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and those of Senator Chris Anyanwu along the Owerri-Umuahia highway continued yesterday with exchange of harsh words between the warring parties. While the governor in a statement insisted that Anyanwu’s convoy broke into his with a view to kill him, the Senator who incidentally is representing the state in the National Assembly and elected on the same political platform,
All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA as the governor accused Okorocha of telling lies by feeding the public with a false account of what happened. She narrated how the governor sat in his car watching his security aides drag out her drivers and security aides from her three car convoy to beat them and break their heads in a naked show of state power.
The governor however in a press statement signed by his media adviser, Ebere Uzoukwa said that contrary to claims by Senator Anyanwu that Governor Okorocha ordered his security details to attack her convoy, the governor narrowly escaped death after the Senator ordered her Naval security aides to open fire on the vehicle conveying the Governor, adding that, “he was quickly shielded by his security men, who whisked him away to safety”. In her own account of the incident, Anyanwu described the governor’s narration as a blatant lie.
According to her: “The governor lied. This is one case governor Rochas cannot cover up. And no amount of propaganda can turn the truth on its head. What happened was a simple case of shameful show of power….a governor visiting the governed with brutality for absolutely no reason. “My three cars were ahead of the governor. There was no indication the governor was approaching. No flags, no advance outriders. There was a hyundai bus with tinted glasses , a number of small cars and open hilux with many uniformed men. Being ahead of them on the busy Owerri- Umuahia road, it was difficult to know who was coming until the hilux passed us.
We then immediately cleared the road and stopped for them to pass. But instead of passing, five vehicles completely surrounded our three cars. Over thirty men from all sides descended on us. “First they tried to force open my car. My driver locked it. Then they went to my advance car and back up cars. Pulled out the drivers, plummeted one and pushed him into the gutter. The other one they dragged into the bush. Ten men descended on him., gashed his head and continued to pound him until I ran out of my car barefooted pleading “ don’t kill him. He is my driver. I am Senator Anyanwu. One non-uniformed man turned on me, cocked his gun at me and said he would blow me away if I didn’t back off.” She further accused the governor of ordering his security aides to disarm her own security aide. “Governor Rochas had ordered his men to disarm my police security.
They tore his uniform, ripped off his belt used it to flog his body and snatched his gun. In the struggle that ensued from that order, my men were able to snatch back their gun. “It is clear that if I had not run out to beg and shout against their ferocious brutality, they would have killed someone and come out lying to cover up their acts. But by coming out to identify myself, it was obvious that they had been caught in their act. They scampered off and immediately called a press conference to do damage control. Here are the questions to ask….
If we were ahead of the governor’s motorcade, how then was it possible to run into his motorcade, block him off, do all the things that read like children’s fiction. Ask the governor how did my driver end up in the bush with his ahead gashed. What did he do and what did he say. He was watching it all. We saw him. A statement released by the governor’s spokesman yesterday however countered Anyanwu saying danger was averted because the governor who was visibly shocked by the Senator’s show of ‘recklessness’, remained calm, while she continued to rain abuses on Okorocha after slapping his Aide Camp and Chief security Detail with her shoe.
Uzoukwa maintained that the conduct of the Senator during the encounter that attracted a siezable crowd on the highway showed that, “it was a planned action to get at the Governor and if possible eliminate him in the process”, adding “that the entire story that the Senator had fed to the media, were all lies concocted to save her face after her plans were aborted”.
He added that “the Governor is yet to fully recover from the shock of the experience and investigations are on to unravel other culprits who were also involved in the obvious plot to eliminate the Governor, who since assumption of office has remained a symbol of peace and mutual coexistence among all political and religious groups in the state”.