By Nwabueze Okonkwo
The Police in Anambra State has launched a manhunt for members of two rival cult groups allegedly responsible for the untimely death of two suspected cult members at Obosi, Idemili North Local Government Area, Anambra State and the country home of the former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku. The killings happened during last Saturday’s State House of Assembly election and the re-run for Idemili North/South Federal Constituency.
The re-run for the House of Representatives had taken place between a candidate of People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Hon. Obinna Chidoka, younger brother to Chief Osita Chidoka, former Corps Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, and the candidate of All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Ifeanyichukwu Ibezi.
The re-run exercise took place at Obosi simultaneously with the State Assembly election, during which two persons lost their lives, while scores sustained various degrees of bullet wounds, machete and dagger injuries, as a result of a bloody clash between two rival cult groups.
The State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr Haruna Mohammed who confirmed the killing of two persons, said their death was not perpetrated by political thugs but cult groups who had a bloody cult clash between two rival factions, the Black Axe and Vikings Confraternity.
He insisted that the police have launched manhunt for the cult members, adding that those caught would be prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others.
It would be recalled that the conduct of the elections was going on smoothly in some polling units at Obosi amidst water-tight security until about 5 p.m when some unidentified armed political thugs who were later identified by the police as cult members numbering about 20 and led by a fierce-looking girl, alighted from a bus and unleashed mayhem on the people.
According to an eye-witness, the group had shortly on alighting from the bus, made straight to the polling centre and in a bid to forcefully snatch the result sheets, ballot boxes and other electoral materials from INEC officials, started shooting indiscriminately and at the same time, wielding other weapons of death but were resisted by the INEC officials, security agents and political party agents.
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The source stated that on the process, two persons were gunned down and the thugs who had come for the electoral materials immediately fled the scene,
abandoning the deceased persons in their own pool of blood which littered the ground.
Although the identities of the deceased were not yet ascertained even as at press time yesterday, impeccable sources hinted that one was an indigene of Obosi while the other came from Okpoko, a neighbouring community.
As people within the vicinity scampered for safety during the shootout, there was cries and wailings and on a tip-off the State Commissioner of Police, (CP) Rabiu Ladodo, stormed the scene ostensibly to douse tension but before his arrival, angry youths in Obosi had taken the corpses to the palace of the traditional ruler of Obosi, HRM, Igwe Chudubem Iweka, accusing him of having soft spot for APGA when he is supposed to be non partisan.
But in a telephone chat, Igwe Iweka declined to comment on the killings and dumping of the corpses at his palace, adding that at the appropriate time, he would address the press on the matter.
However, in a reaction, an anonymous source from the Igwe’s Palace hinted to newsmen yesterday that the dumping of the corpses in the palace was an abomination which warranted members of the Igwe’s cabinet to storm the palace on Sunday morning and made an atonement to appease the gods because dumping the corpse in the palace was an abomination, more so when the Monarch does not see corpse or corpses with his eyes.
Meantime, INEC has eventually declared Hon. Ifeanyichukwu Ibezi, the candidate of APGA winner of last Saturday’s re-run of the Idemili North/South Federal Constituency.
The returning officer, Associate Professor Ike who announced the result on Sunday at Idemili North Local Government headquarters in Ogidi after the collation of results from the polling booths at Obosi and Abatete where the re-run exercise took place, said Ibezi scored 29,566 votes to defeat his PDP rival, Hon. Obinna Chidoka who scored 26,026 votes
It will be recalled that INEC had cancelled the result of Federal House of Representatives election in 26 polling units at Obosi and 5 polling units at Abate during the National Assembly polls held two weeks ago and ordered for a re-run in those units.
At the end of the re-run, Ibezi emerged winner sparking wide jubilation among people in the camp of APGA and Abatete respectively. The effort to get Ibezi to speak proved abortive as he took time shaking and hugging his supporters before disappearing with a waiting vehicle.