Udora Orizu writes that the recent attacks on Spokesman of Coalition of United Political Parties, and PDP House of Representatives candidate for Ideato North, South federal constituency of Imo state, Ikenga Ugochinyere, is becoming worrisome and needs to be properly investigated
It was a sad day on January 14, 2023 in Akokwa, Imo State, as gunmen invaded the residence of the Spokesman of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, burnt his house, cars and killed his uncle and three others.
Ugochinyere who’s also the House of Representative candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Ideato North and Ideato South Federal Constituency, had raised the alarm about the attack by the gunmen at his residence, via an SOS message on WhatsApp, calling for help.
In the message he posted around 3:15pm, he wrote, “We need help to Akokwa. We are under attack. My house in Akokwa. They have surrounded it and opened fire. We are under attack. Help help.”
In another message, he called for help once again, notifying the public that his uncle has been killed.
His words: “This is to notify the general public that this may be my last act as a human as my house in Umukegwu Akokwa is under heavy attack currently. As I pen this, all the cars in my house have been sent ablaze and there is heavy shooting for the past 25mins. Painfully, as I speak to you, I saw them kill my father’s younger brother, Uncle Dan. I pray and call for urgent help from anybody who can help. The attackers are shooting at everyone in the house and this is an urgent cry for help.”
The gory pictures and videos which emanated from the scene were dreadful, painful and unpalatable to watch. It’s really worrisome why anyone would want the lawyer, political activist and politician dead.
This is not the first time Ugochinyere has been attacked. The 40 year old politician has become a force to reckon with, as he’s known for his confidence, fearless stance whenever he speaks the truth to power. Ikenga has never shied away to speak on what he deemed ills and shortcomings of government both at state and federal level. Any national issue that concerns the well being of the youths, he’s on the front burner calling out the government.
He began brushes with the law right from 2015 when his outspoken voice as President of National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) was noted and considered too strong to be ignored by the federal authorities. Despite his travails in the hands of security agencies, Ugochinyere as the people’s spokesman never abandoned his cause and becomes more courageous after each release.
He’s also known for his many intelligent discoveries of plans by unscrupulous politicians to rig elections. His most recent discovery was made public on September 14, 2022 when at a press conference he raised alarm over alleged plot to compromise the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) voters register.
Speaking on behalf of the opposition political parties, Ikenga said the plots had been perfected in 21 states by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in favour of the party for the forthcoming elections.
He said a court case has been initiated to force INEC to stop the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in the coming general elections.
To back his claims, Ugochinyere, presented a copy of the suit filed at the Owerri Federal High Court on 24 August and copies of voters register with questionable names. He questioned the usage of passport photographs of long dead persons, names, gender and age of thousands of registered voters on copies of the register shown to camera.
Prior to this deadly attack, on December 23, 2022, there was an attack on his convoy by a chieftain of a rival political party.
About 24 hours earlier, Ikenga had reiterated to Nigerians the threats by some powerful politicians to attack and eliminate him if he dares come into Imo State.
He said some gunmen almost made good their threat by leading no fewer than 15 heavily armed and hooded operatives who attacked his convoy.
Ugochinyere, said youths in his community saved him from suspected assailants that night till the early hours of the next day.
He explained that various youths from Akokwa and across Ideato nation converged on his country home and kept vigil throughout the night when information about alleged plans to assassinate him went viral in the state.
He said: “They came in three Sienna vehicles, two tinted Hilux trucks, an Armoured Personnel Carrier and another vehicle with the sticker of a political party in the state. They forcibly stopped the convoy with the Armoured Personnel Carrier around the lonely Obiohia stretch of road, while the team of hooded operatives and thugs rushed at the vehicles in the convoy and ordered all the occupants to disembark.
“The convoy had been going to drop off some supporters of mine who had attended my reception and campaign at Akokwa when they were forced out of the road by the gunmen. They searched all the vehicles for me, threatening thunder and brimstone, but I was not in the vehicle. They made preparations to commandeer my SUV away, but decided against that after going back and forth to consult with another occupant in the tinted Hilux truck.
“In their frustration, they vandalized, burgled the vehicles and made away with all the valuable and campaign materials in the vehicle. One of them, a well known politician in the state, was spotted among them, recording on video with his phone the shamefully pathetic drama of desperation. Later on the youths started trooping into my home around 8:30pm following the attack and their numbers have continued to swell. While chanting solidarity songs for Ikenga and Ideato nation, the collective anger has been palpable.” With these series of threats to Ugochinyere’s life, the question troubling the minds of many Nigerians and his loved ones, is who wants this activist and people’s spokesman dead. Is it politically motivated or personal? This terrible incident shouldn’t be swept under the carpet asbit’s becoming quite worrisome. Security agencies should ensure the culprits are arrested and prosecuted.