5th November, 2013
The All Progressive Congress, APC, says its governorship candidate in this month’s election in Amabra State, Dr. Chris Ngige, cannot be arrested as being championed by the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA.
National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh, had called for the arrest of Ngige in the aftermath of the stampede at the Holy Ghost Adoration Ministry in Uke, Anambra State, eastern Nigeria, that left about 30 worshippers dead and several others injured.
At a news conference in Lagos, southwest Nigeria, on Monday, Interim Publicity Secretary, Lagos APC, Mr. Joe Igbokwe said there was no way Ngige could be arrested when he was not at the scene of the tragedy and that Governor Peter Obi and his people should be held responsible for the stampede for turning a vigil to a political rally.
“It is with heavy hearts that we condole the families in Anambra State who lost their loved ones in a stampede at the Holy Ghost Adoration Ministry in Uke during a vigil organised by a Catholic priest Rev Fr Emmanuel Obimma.
“At the end of the vigil, about 30 people had their lives cut short as a result of stampede which we are yet to know the cause. We learnt, according to Governor Obi himself that he was invited to the vigil of the Holy Ghost Ministry and he has the fundamental rights to attend to seek the face of God.
“He attended the vigil with the National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh, and the APGA Guber aspirant, Mr. Willie Obiano and other party faithful like Okey Udeh, Ifeanyi Ibezi, Joe Martins Uzodike and others; including the government’s security details. They were in full APGA regalia showing the world that their mission went beyond seeking the face of God. They went in search of votes for the forthcoming guber election on Saturday November 16, 2013,” he said.
Igbokwe said Obi spoke and canvassed for votes for his candidate during the vigil and even donated N5 million to the ministry, saying that “we were told that when the vigil turned to a political rally, the congregation began to murmur. We figured that this behaviour infuriated the governor’s security details. One thing led to the other, and consequently there was stampede and about 30 innocent people died.”
He said while Obi had declared three days mourning, Umeh in his own statement called for arrest of Senator Chris Ngige for inciting people of Anambra State against the governor, saying this was uncalled for.
“Now the critical questions are: was Ngige in Uke? Was Ngige in campaign uniform there? What happened in Uke on Friday night? What caused the stampede? Did Rev Father Emmanuel invite Gov Obi and others to come and campaign in a purely religious event? Judging from the number of people there, are we suggesting Ngige has no supporters amongst them given that Uke shares a common border with Alor, where Ngige comes from?
“Who does not know that Ngige is a Senator who represents that Senatorial zone in the Senate? Why is Chief Victor Umeh asking for Ngige to be arrested because APGA got their fingers burnt by playing dangerous politics in a church programme? Who will believe or trust Gov Obi’s panel of enquiry when it is obvious that he is the principal actor in the whole drama? He cannot be a judge in a matter that he is involved in. Can Rev Father Emmanuel Obimma speak the truth of what happened against the backdrop that liars have seized the centre stage again to deceive the public? Will His Excellency Gov Peter Obi have the courage, politics or no politics, to speak the truth now that blood has been shed? Can we get the video coverage of what happened?”
According to Igbokwe, “we want to put the whole world on notice that APGA is getting desperate in this Anambra elections. The other day, they went to Onitsha to force the traders to close their shops for campaigns. The people resisted and waved the brooms to them. As if that was not enough, they went to town with a a story that Senator Chris Ngige slapped a Catholic priest. It took a Press Conference by the Priest in question to debunk their blatant and pathological lies.
“Both Senator Ngige and Gov Obi are Catholics. Ngige has become a thorn in the flesh and every contestant in Anambra knows this. The fear of Ngige is now the beginning of wisdom in Anambra State. They know that they cannot match Ngige in anything, so their plan is to use propaganda to bring the man to their miserable level.”
Igbokwe said there was no doubt that Ngige would win the coming election in Anambra State as he had the pedigree to pilot the state to greater heights.