From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Association of Ebonyi Indigenes Socio-Cultural in the Diaspora (AEISCID), has given a 48-hour ultimatum to the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru, to apologise and withdraw his alleged threats against the people of Ezza clan in the state.
The Ebonyi indigenes said it viewed, heard and read with utmost discontentment the utterances credited to Nwifuru where he threatened the Ezza people to either vote for him or live to regret it, at the weekend’s flag-off of the APC’s Local Government Area rallies at the Onueke Township stadium, Ezza South LGA of the state.
The APC governorship candidate was reported to have said: “Ezza people, you will regret it if you don’t vote for me. For the people of Ezza nation, listen; why I said that you will regret it if you don’t vote for me is because as a son of the soil, I believe in justice and equity.
“This time around is the time for us to show capacity and how we can show capacity is to vote for APC; if you do not vote for APC, no other government will hand over power to Ezza nation. It’s only my government, that is if you vote massively for me, and I get 100 over 100 percent votes, I will then speak in your favour in the committee of the stakeholders of our great state.”
Responding to the alleged threat through a statement signed on Monday in Abuja by the AEISCID President General, Pascal Oluchchukwu, demanded an apology within 48 hours from the APC governorship candidate to the people of Ezza Ezekuna worldwide over what is considered an “insensitive and incendiary comments in their ancestral soil.”
According to Oluchukwu, the people are shocked, but not surprise that what ought to have been a veritable platform and an opportunity to formally woo voters became for the APC candidate and his party a time to intimidate, threaten and bully innocent Ebonyi electorates.
“We have carefully but regrettably observed that since the party took off it’s Local Government rallies on January 14th at Iboko, Izzi- the Governorship candidate’s home LGA, it has been a tale of threats and sorrows as not less than 10 persons have reportedly lost their lives in various accidents and other tragic occurrences.
“We can from the arrogant and boastful remarks of the APC stakeholders beginning from the Governor to his lieutenants deduce and even possibly conclude that the Party have concluded plans to rig, coerce and cause violence of monumental proportions such that it already feels they have secured victory, hence the boastful and disgusting utterances in their public rallies.
“For us in AEISCID, the clamour for equity and justice by Nwifuru and his APC team of “EmiLokan” apologists in Ebonyi- sort of a local brand of the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu who believes not in capacity, credibility or even competence but “It’s my turn”, his argument falls very flat on ground going by the statistics and realities available to reasonable Ebonyians who have endured hardship under him as Speaker and Umahi as Governor.
“The realities on ground is actually the major reason this body has insistent that only competent, capable and credible candidates can save the impoverished State in the 2023 general elections.
“Another reality we are aware of and which we would like to buttress here for the purposes of those who may feign ignorant is that the Izzi clan where Nwifuru hails from has even enjoyed more political privileges and opportunities in terms of appointments and elective positions than the people of Ezza Ezekuna.
“That’s why we believe strongly that he failed woefully in his argument and touting of “equity and justice” during his rather threatening speech at Onueke Township stadium.
“To this end therefore and as a body seriously concerned and mindful of the peaceful and peaceable co-existence of Ebonyians of all clans, tribes, race or colour, AEISCID totally condemns the reckless and disheartening remarks from a supposed youthful but very egocentric leader in the category of Speaker Nwifuru targeted at setting up the people of Ezza Ezekuna worldwide and pitching them against themselves and rest of the people of the State.
“This public threat in the sacred ancestral home of Ndu Ezza has further vindicated our earlier cries to Nigerians and the rest of the world that Ebonyi under Umahi and his co-travellers has been under a heavy spell.”
While urging the Ezza people to remain calm, the group threatened to sue the APC governorship candidate if he fails to apologise within 48-hours.
“Consequently, this group demands an apology within 48 hours from the APC Governorship candidate to the great people of Ezza Ezekuna worldwide over his insensitive and incendiary comments in their ancestral soil. Failure to do so, AEISCID will prepare lawyers to sue him for threats to lives and defamation of the character of the good people of Ezza nation.
“This group calls on the IGP and other security agencies in Nigeria to hold Umahi and his candidate, Nwifuru responsible and accountable for any unfortunate incident that may befall the great and peace-loving people of Ezza Ezekuna before, during and after the 2023 general elections.
“We make this assertion because the Speaker and APC candidate sounded clearly that there appeared to be a plot to destabilize the peace of the land of Ezza and he ought to be thoroughly investigated and the threat not just merely wished away especially since he has no immunity whatsoever!
“In the meantime, we urge the people of Ezza Ezekuna worldwide and indeed, all Ebonyians who may have been assaulted, harassed, intimidated or threatened by the APC-led government, it’s candidates or army of dangerous occupations in Ebonyi to please remain calm, peaceful, law abiding and above all hopeful that if they do they right things by voting in the right candidates and rejecting the evil Party called APC in all the polls come February 25th and March 11th elections, they would have liberated themselves only with their PVCs against the forces of threats and intimidations.
“For those yet to collect their PVCs, they should seize the new window offered by the electoral body- INEC to go and get their PVCs and vote for only credible candidates who’s manifesto and messages speaks to issues and not candidates who speak, act or behave like highway political touts.”