The last has not been heard of the events that took place in Mbaise during the re-run election for the Ahiazu/Ezinihitte Federal Constituency seat. Exactly two weeks ago, four major PDP stallworths in the state, Dr.Alex Obi, Prince Charles Amadi (Shavon), Barr.Kingsley Ononuju and Prof. Jude Njoku (Former V.C, Futo) were reported to have narrowly escaped the claws of death in Mbaise . Their bus was attacked and riddled with bullets as they conducted their election monitoring exercise.
IMO STATE BLOG spoke with Barr.Kingsley Ononuju. A staunch member of the People’s Democratic Party, he also serves as the Secretary for the Owerri Zone Political Leaders Forum (OZOPOLF).
In this interview , he recounts the incident that took place on that dreadful Saturday.
IMO STATE BLOG: What do you recall from that incident in Mbaise?
Barr.Ononuju: We went on an election monitoring exercise for the re-run election in Mbaise. We didn’t have escorts because we trusted the police. The Operation Rescue vehicles were all over the place. Sirens blazing. We were going from booth to booth monitoring the election. At some point the T.C Chairman identified us . The APGA party members became uncomfortable with our presence so they started chasing us. We were in our bus. Then they started shooting. I engaged the name of the Lord till we got to the junction of Ezinihitte and saw the presence of the joint military patrol team who were battle ready. That was where the hoodlums stopped chasing us. We stopped and reported the incident to them and we escaped through Okada.
IMO STATE BLOG: Wasn’t that a dangerous move considering the situation?
Barr.Ononuju:Well were still afraid that even with the presence of the security, we could still be attacked. Anyone who sees our vehicle will not believe we escaped unharmed. We ran on wheels for over 4 kilometers.
IMO STATE BLOG: What time of the day was this?
Barr.Ononuju: It was about 3.30 in the afternoon so it was not a night event.
IMO STATE BLOG: Do you suspect foul play?
Barr.Ononuju: Yes. Those where APGA assasins. It was clear that they were acting on orders.
IMO STATE BLOG: At some point, Dr. Alex Obi left PDP and became the Chieftain of the ACN campaign organization in the 2011 Gubernatorial elections. Presently, there are speculations that he has returned to PDP. Can you confirm this?
Barr. Ononuju: Yes. Alex Obi has returned to PDP.
IMO STATE BLOG: As a member of the Owerri Zone Political Forum (OZOPOLF), what is your view on the proposed relocation of IMSU to Ogboko in Ideato Local Government.
Barr.Ononuju: Wrong move. We already have a plan. All Military governors respected it. Udenwa , Ohakim both came and preserved it. The land they assigned for the University in Mbaise is still there. Nothing has happened on it . They are loosing dividends because they are keeping it for the University. Now , you want to move it to your private home. He needs to go back to the plan.
IMO STATE BLOG: How will you access the performance of the Administration ?
Barr.Ononuju: The Governor has no regard for protocol and due process and He has said it so many times that he doesn’t believe in due process. If he had respect for good governance there should be borders for due process. You bid and if you come out tops, you sign the necessary papers. It appears we are running an alacart government. Governance is for the people where the people should have a say. You are Governor of the State. He does things in a brazing dictorship manner with all impunity. We get goose pimples when we hear some of the things he does.
I am aware that he got N242 billion where he can spend without any form of appropriation. He got approval in advance. These are monies gotten from the local government. 14 billion naira each. Now, he has gone ahead to create Community speakers. What are the Local Governments for? The Local Government’s business is to oversee the communities. At the end of the day, where are the funds coming from? You go to the State Assembly and get a blank check. How do we get it back? All you want to do in 4 years, you want to do in I year. This is a soldier in Civilian clothing. In running democracy, you cannot rule like Idi Amin. The people must have a say.
IMO STATE BLOG: What will you applaud the Administration for?
Barr.Ononuju: Well…there is construction going on every where no doubt. The roads are being worked on but we hope that they will be finished before the rainy season .
IMO STATE BLOG: PDP recently lost out at the Supreme Court in their bid to reclaim the governorship in Imo. What’s next for OZOPOLF against 2015?
Barr.Ononuju: OZOPOLF is trying to bring back the confidence of our people especially as we won the Ahiazu/Ezinihitte re-run election in the face of the intimidation of the ruling party.
Owerri Zone has played a vital role in establishing the polity of the state. Imo people should reciprocate the gesture we have accorded other zones. Come 2015, it is the turn of an Owerri Son or Daughter to be Governor. That is the only way to be fair. It is all about the principles of rotation. That is why we have started early. We have a lot of eminent sons and daughters who are qualified to take over. There is no going back.