Twenty four hours after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced November 6, as the date for the conduct of governorship election in Anambra State, suspected thugs have unleashed mayhem on perceived political enemies, destroying and defacing billboards of aspirants.
Consequent upon this development, the trio of the All Progressives Congress (APC), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been trading words of accusations, blaming the incidents on each other.
At Ihiala, Ekwusigo, Orumba North and South Local Government Areas, a total of eight billboards were so far destroyed by suspected hoodlums, a situation that had heralded the return of thuggery in the state. One of the victims, a gubernatorial aspirant of the PDP and son of the first female governor in Nigeria, Mr. Emeka Etiaba (SAN), had decried the situation, describing the incident as criminal.
He said the development had shown the strength of his capacity over and above his fellow aspirants. He said: “I feel good that my candidacy is giving the boy aspirants who are sponsoring the attacks concern. “Generally, I view the destruction of my billboards in Ihiala as an acknowledgement of the strength of my brand.
“At the location of my billboard at Ihiala, other aspirants’ billboards were also mounted but it was only mine that was vandalised. Similarly, supporters of a former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Prof. Charles Soludo, had raised the alarm over the defacing of his billboards and attacks on vehicles bearing his posters.
Also affected were the billboards of the APC aspirant, Chief Johnbosco Onunkwo, which Saturday Telegraph gathered had set the respective political party’s chairmen on war path. Reacting, the PDP Chairman in Anambra State, Chief Ndubuisi Nwobu, described the incidents as a clear manifestation that the two political parties-APGA and APC fewere afraid of losing the November 6 election.
Though he admitted that it cannot be easily proven, he however, argued that it was only those against the strength of the party that can do that. His APC counterpart, Chief Basil Ejidike, said it was too early in the day for such things to be happening, stressing that the party already knew those involved in destruction of billboards as well as the alleged threat to life and property of aspirants and their supporters in the state.
On his part, Chief Norbert Obi, who is the chairman of APGA, dismissed the allegation that the thugs destroying billboards were from APGA. He said that the allegation was an orchestrated plot to discredit his party ahead of the governorship election. Meanwhile, the Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mohammed Haruna, has warmed that the command would not take kindly to acts of violence and thuggery, adding that the command was prepared to check electoral violence in the state