‘By Jonathan Ugbal and Efa Sunday
Following attacks on some stalwarts of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Obudu, Boki and Etung local government areas, the Guber candidate of the party, Senator Ben Ayade and a factional candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator John Owan-Enoh have disagreed over who is the cause of the problem.
Ayade had on Monday morning while visiting victims of the most recent violence in Etung alleged that Mr. Owan-Enoh was behind the attacks and called on the federal government and relevant authorities to intervene.
Describing the attack as “barbaric and inhuman,” while calling on the law enforcement agency to bring to book all the perpetrators of the act, Ayade, who was in the company of the Director General of his campaign council, Mr. Efiok Cobham, among others said this was unheard of in Cross River’s political history.
“Cross River State is a State that is known for peace, it is a State that is known for good ambience, clean, green and warm people. Never in the history of Cross River State have we witnessed the orgy of violence that has befallen the state the way it has in the last one week.
“Few months ago, the factional Governorship candidate of the APC, Senator John Owan Enoh went on a campaign in Obudu, there was lots of life. He moved to Boki recently, yet again one of our strong political stalwart in Boki; a team went there at night to attack him, they met with his absence and the father-in-law living there with him was kicked, hurt, matcheted and was killed. The body is still in the mortuary.
“Just few days ago in Etomi, Etung Local Government Area, the ward Secretary of PDP was again matcheted in a very unholy and ugly manner. His cranium was completely cracked and broken by the supporters of John Owan-Enoh,” he said.
Mr. Ayade who averred that violence is the identity of Mr. Owan-Enoh, also called on the President Muhammadu Buhari led adminstration to intervene in the insecurity issues being faced by the State, adding that: “We have a vampire, we have somebody who is bloodthirsty, and have a very violent character as a factional candidate.”
But, Mr. Owan-Enoh denied these allegations and claimed the Governor was only narrating the things he (Ayade) was involved in.
In a statement to CrossRiverWatch, he said that: “Those are rather the things he’s involved in.That is not the way I play,” adding that he, “will make a more formal response” when he returns to Calabar.
Earlier, the Director General of his campaign council, Mr. Maurice Effiwatt had told CrossRiverWatch in a telephone interview that Mr. Ayade should just do more than allege.
“In law, there is the maxim that he who asserts must prove,” Effiwatt said, adding that, “those things are security issues and he has said what he has said.”
However, Ayade had disclosed that the State is seeking redress in court.
Meanwhile, two of the victims in the recent crisis called on the State to intervene.
“The issue of security in Etung is bad. The man Owan who is also from Etung, I happened to be his co-ordinator in his last election. But, Owan is best described as a vampire because if you take him lightly, he will suck the blood of the whole Etung people, his supporters and himself are tied to violence. Of course he knows that he cannot win this election so he is doing everything through violence” said Amba Amuchi who said he is the secretary of the PDP in Etomi ward of Etung.
Mr. Joseph Ikpe, a native of Obudu resident in Etung while narrating his experience said that: “It was on Friday, when I went to buy somethings for my family, so when I got to Etomi, in between the Catholic Church and the branch leading to their secondary school, some group of persons with new matchets and they were chanting APC. So they asked me and the cyclist to respond, and I told them I am not a politician. Initially I thought they were PDP supporters who just wanted to know what I would say, so I told them that I just came back from the endorsement that they did in Calabar, it was at that point they started matcheting me like this.”
Some political watchers have blamed the violence on both parties, especially Mr. Ayade for failing to tackle issues of communal violence.
“So many have died due to communal violence and Ayade never visited but he is visiting his supporters? That sends a wrong message to many and his failure to arrest some of these things is what has led whoever that is causing this to exploit the option of violence,” said a security expert who pleaded anonymity.
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