One person was feared dead and seven others, including a Policeman, sustained severe injuries in a crisis which erupted on Thursday during the All Progressives Congress primary election for the Senate and House of Representatives in Ebonyi State.
The crisis, which ensued in Onueke, headquarters of Ezza South Local Government Area and venue of the Ebonyi Central Senatorial District and Ezza South/Ikwo Federal Constituency primaries, resulted in shootings between supporters of two different factions of the party.
The deceased, whose identity could not be ascertained at the time of filling this report, was said to have died due to bullet wounds.
According to an eyewitnesses who declined releasing his identity, the crisis started when a faction loyal to a House of Representatives aspirant from Ikwo clashed with supporters of the recently failed governorship aspirant of the same party, who hails from Ezza North, over who controls the authentic delegates.
The witness said: “There were sporadic shootings and people scampered for safety.
“One of the supporters of one of the politicians was shot dead and about seven other persons sustained various degrees of bullet wounds.
“One of those wounded, I think, is a Police officer.”
Meanwhile, Governor David Umahi has expressed great shock and disappointment over the ugly incident and warned the party against instigating crisis in the peaceful state.
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, Umahi ordered security agencies to investigate the killing and bring the perpetrators and their sponsors to book, adding that nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of any Ebonyi citizen.
The Governor, who, according to the release, received the news of the incident in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where he traveled for the presidential primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party, warned all political actors in the opposition party to play the game by the rules and eschew politics of destruction and bitterness.
The statement reads: “Governor Umahi recieved with great shock and disbelief the unfortunate and devilish shootings in Onueke, the headquarters of Ezza South council area, one of the venues for the APC factional senatorial primaries and has ordered full investigation into the incident and warned that his administration will no longer condone unnecessary and wanton killings of innocent citizens under whatever guise by the APC”
“He therefore warns that any politician who is being driven by inordinate ambition must play by the rules as his administration is poised on ensuring that all those whose hands were in the killings and destruction of both private and government property are severely dealt with in accordance with the law.
“Governor Umahi has always believed that nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of any Ebonyi citizen and for that, saw the killing and destruction of vehicles by suspected APC militias in the state as provocative and warned that all political actors must play by the rules.
“The Peoples Democratic Party in the state has been conducting their primaries without any form of violence but to think that APC can not conduct themselves in a peaceful manner in their ambition is not only unfortunate but has further exposed their penchant for violence and destruction.”
The injured Policeman and six others were taken to an undisclosed hospital where they were said to be receiving treatment.
As at the time of filing this report, the Police in Ebonyi State were yet to confirm the incident.
Recall that there had been reported disenchantment by a faction of the party over what it described as the manipulation of the recent governorship primaries of the party in the State.
This has continued to create disaffection and mutual acrimony between some notable personalities and their supporters within the party.
The present occurrence did not come as a surprise to many people who have been following developments within the party in Ebonyi State.